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Mini Facelift Controversy Continues

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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

A steady stream of alleged patient complaints and negative reports about one version of the “mini facelift” seems only matched by the continued growth of the company that offers the controversial procedure.

Indeed, it’s the combination of these two factors that prompted reporter Tom Wilemon to cover the Lifestyle Lift in the online version of The Tennessean this month. In “Bargain face lifts ignite debate,” Wilemon noted that that Lifestyle Lift “is poised to become the McDonald’s of the cosmetic surgery business.”

How can this be happening? First and foremost, Lifestyle Lift (the company) is capitalizing on the demand for what amounts to a “holy grail” of cosmetic surgery: a way to rejuvenate the face without the downtime, cost and anesthesia of a traditional facelift. Judging by the number of Botox treatments in 2009—more than 2.5 million, and popular injectables like Restylane—more than 1.3 million, the market for less-invasive facial procedures is huge. In its decade of operation, Lifestyle Lift itself reports more than 100,000 clients.

Second, there’s a remarkable lack of regulation in the cosmetic surgery industry. There’s nothing to prevent anyone with a medical degree from performing cosmetic procedures. This means that the backgrounds of doctors who work in the dozens of Lifestyle Lift centers across the country vary widely. Some are fully trained and credentialed in the field of plastic surgery as recommended by the American Board of Medical Specialties; others are ear, nose and throat physicians who have undergone Lifestyle Lift training. And, although the centers also offer what they term “neck firming” and “eye firming” procedures, if what you really need is something else altogether, you may not be advised accordingly.

What are the problems reported by patients? Some complaints start even before surgery. Patients report being aggressively “sold” on the Lifestyle Lift by employees who are not medically trained. Many patients say they were dismayed by the procedure itself, citing multiple painful shots, distressing sounds and smells and difficulty in bearing the tugging and snipping of skin.

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Excellent commentary. Shows the arrogance (and ignorance) of this Gordon Quick in that he is talking about company expansion in an article about bad scarring. That is like a fast-food restaurant announcing plans to expand during an E. Coli breakout... He also refers to Lifestyle Lift becoming the McDonald's of facelifts. To me that means low quality. If McDonald's did facelifts, would you go there?

January 5, 2011 - 11:42am
EmpowHER Guest

Any legal experts out there? What should unhappy patients and others "in the know" do to get the word out to prospective patients and get powers-that-be interested in looking into this outfit?

December 31, 2010 - 3:57pm
EmpowHER Guest

Unfortunately the company,LIFESTYLE LIFT gets no retractions from all the stuff they put on the internet,all the additions that their astro-turfing made have not been removed, they continue to add new and more volume to their sites so that they essentially drown out the critics.
They essentially hire inexperienced surgeons to do the work, they get about 15% of the total charges or about $1500 a case,Dr Kent and company
get 85% .They are very good at marketing the surgery because the people are sales persons who know little or none about the surgery.
All patients are numbed up with local anesthesia just like the dentist uses, but may be 15-25 separate injections, they do hurt, but the patients get valium which reduces their will to leave,or get up.
Most of the surgeons are trainees with little or no experience but after 1000 cases most do better, its just the first 1000 that may not get
a good lift. And the procedure does have its limits depending on how much undermining is done, some surgeons again do a better job than others,
The real problem for the patients is that the followup care is done by
surgery techs who have little or no training.they are made to make surgeon decisions with out the surgeon supervision, since the operating room is and payment to the doctor is done on pure volume, he does not have time for this care, some of which violates the code of surgeons of doing no harm and letting no one do the post -op care.
They consider most of the patients as trailer trash who have no friends
who may have had this surgery, so they do not know what they may expect,and since most states as far as this surgery are buyer beware
states the company can easily act as a heavy weight against all who
are antagonistic to by going to court, after all what plastic surgeon
has a lawyer in his office?, and the Centers are all separated so you do no0t sue the company you can only sue the Center and that doctor
could just go somewhere else.
So there you are and the one Class action Case in Ohio was discharged
so who but the news or internet can fight them?

December 31, 2010 - 3:17pm
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