5 Common Facelift Myths Debunked
Short downtime? No downtime? Lunchtime lift? Wading through the marketing that exists around facelift surgeries can be challenging, especially when you’re trying to decipher fact from fiction. Facial plastic surgeon and facelift expert Dr. Buonassisi explains some of the most common facelift myths.
Myth #1: Having a facelift is like getting hit by a truck. You’ll be bruised and swollen after your facelift but the procedure itself is nothing like the impact of a moving vehicle. A facelift is a slow, carefully performed surgery during which incisions are made to access the deep structural layer of the face – the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS) – and pull it to a higher, tighter position. The length of the incisions determines the length of recovery (between one and three weeks) and, despite feeling tight, puffy and uncomfortable, it’s nothing like the broken bones and trauma that can result from a bad car accident.
Myth #2: Lunchtime/liquid facelifts let you get back to work the same day. So-called lunchtime or liquid facelifts aren’t facelifts at all; there’s no comparison between these and actual facelifts in terms of results. A surgical facelift results in a tightened neck and jaw line and smoothed jowls, while a lunchtime or liquid lift simply uses Botox and/or fillers to smooth wrinkles and add volume to the face. Far from zero downtime, lunchtime facelifts can result in bruising and/or swelling (particularly when several syringes of materials are used) that can last up to 10 days.
Myth #3: A mini lift is a like having a “facelift lite.” Also called an s-lift, you may hear that a mini facelift uses special techniques or medications to give you the results of a full lift with little to no recovery time. However, there are no “miraculous scientific breakthroughs” when it comes to facelift surgery; in fact, surgical breakthroughs in facial rejuvenation can be dangerous – take Thread Lifts as an example. They didn’t always work and many patients have had to have them surgically removed after they starting poking through the skin. That’s not what they had in mind when they signed up for this “minimally invasive” lift. So, while research into a recovery free facelift is ongoing, surgeons prefer the true and trusted techniques that have worked on thousands of patients. Further, any facelift claiming to have little to no downtime is likely not a facelift at all – or uses a very small incision.
A small incision means a small result, since there is a direct correlation between incision length and the “size” of a facelift (i.e., how big the change will be). Mini lifts, then, mean mini results, with a minimized recovery time due to mini incisions (i.e., less bleeding and swelling, but these tiny cuts won’t allow the surgeon enough access to the deep structures of the face to make much of a change to your physical appearance). Many patients opt for a mini facelift because they think they’ll have a short recovery – but end up being disappointed with the result.
Myth #4: Facelift results look unnatural. Facelifts that were done 30 years ago addressed only the skin, tightening and trimming it and contributing to an unnatural look. Today, facelift specialists access the deep SMAS layer of the face to reposition features to where they used to be, making the “wind tunnel” look a thing of the past. Patients who clearly look like they’ve had work done have likely had too much: too much filler, too much Botox, too much surgery. Trust your facelift expert to give you sound advice regarding how far you can go without appearing overdone.
Myth #5: You can/should only have a facelift later in life. In fact, facelift results look best earlier in life thanks to the way the face changes as a whole. A 70-year-old patient, for example, will see dramatic changes/tightening to all parts of the face that may look at odds beside other aging features the lift didn’t address, like droopy eyes. In other words, your surgeon can get the best result by removing a modest amount of still relatively elastic skin in your 50s, rather than a large amount of inelastic skin in your 70s.
When it comes to facelifts, the bottom line is this: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Rather, do your research wisely and consult with a specialist like Dr. Buonassisi, who can properly inform you of the realities of a facelift and help you choose the best course of action for you.