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Facelift Myth # 5 – Non-Invasive Facelifts Give Same Results As Surgery

Facial rejuvenation is extremely popular, as we continue to live longer and maintain active lifestyle and work longer. Facelifts are always viewed with anxiety due to our common fear of surgery and prolonged healing that people worry will occur. Hence, the surge in popularity of non invasive or minimally invasive facelifts. We all want to look younger, but not necessarily undergo the scary prospect of having our face cut open. While facelifts are very safe and recovery surprisingly not difficult, many people still prefer to explore less invasive options. Today, we are exposed to various marketing efforts touting the liquid facelift, or nonsurgical facelifts. Sometimes, these ads will give you the impression they can achieve the same results as surgery. While there are many minimally invasive options to lift the face, they don’t necessarily give the same results as surgery.

Restoring Facial Volume

As age, we lose volume in our face. Elasticity of our tissue worsens and things start to descend. Along with volume loss and descent, there are also underlying skeletal bony changes. Our jawbone starts to lose height. The midface skeleton starts to recede a bit. Non invasive facelifts utilize Botox and fillers to rejuvenate the face. Results can also be enhanced with skin resurfacing (either CO2 laser, Erbium-YAG laser, chemical peels, or dermabrasion). Botox relaxes the muscles that create certain facial wrinkles, but don’t refill the face. Fillers are injected to replace volume. While some fillers (like Juvederm Voluma) can achieve some degree of lifting, fillers just can’t lift your sagging tissue to where you need. For minor, or early aging signs, fillers are great to fill lost volume and achieve a slight degree of tissue lifting. But the problem is the more advanced aging you have—that is, the more volume loss and descent of tissue—then filler have less and less desired effect. If you have advanced volume loss, more volume of fillers is needed to replace the volume. But as you use more fillers, you start to look more unnatural. Similarly, the adhesive quality of certain fillers just isn’t enough to effectively lift your sagging tissue.

Non-Surgical Facelift Options and Results

There are also various energy based devices to lift your neck or face. These utilize various technologies. For example, some of the more popular devices utilize radiofrequency energy either delivered to the skin or underneath. Some devices utilize laser energy, or heat. Regardless of the technology, the underlying principle is still the same. Their goal is to cause controlled injury to the skin and underlying tissue to cause natural contraction. This contraction will hopefully achieve the desired correction wanted. The attraction of these devices is the avoidance of surgery. I think these devices have a role in a practice, but mainly to offer patients a minimally invasive procedure to rejuvenate the face and neck. The crucial thing is to honestly communicate what the device can and can’t achieve. All these devices can lift, but their effect won’t achieve the same degree of correction as a surgical facelift. As long as you understand the expected outcome with these energy based devices and know it won’t be as dramatic as surgery, and still want to try because you’re not interested in surgery, then these are reasonable options to try. But also be aware these treatments can also be expensive.

Fillers and energy-based devices (like CO2 lasers, radiofrequency) are very popular since they offer the potential to nicely rejuvenate your face and help you look more refreshed. Today’s public are less inclined to undergo a major surgery like facelift. Surgery is naturally scary. In addition, the several days and weeks of recovery needed before you can go out in public can be a turn off. As long as you understand what these nonsurgical treatments can and can’t achieve and accept that, then “non-surgical facelifts” are good options. But if you want noticeable and long-lasting results, sometimes a traditional facelift is the best option. Just make sure you see a board certified facial plastic or body plastic surgeon for a comprehensive evaluation.

For more information about facelifts and how to ensure a smooth recovery from facelift surgery, contact Dr. Kenneth Yu, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, and his qualified team of experts serving the San Antonio, Texas area. To schedule a consultation, please contact our Concierge Patient Coordinator at 210-876-6868.