Facelift - photo of woman with jowls

A Facelift is not really a Facelift

A Facelift lifts the jowls (red arrow) and neck skin.  A brow lift lifts the eye brows.  The cheeks and middle part of the face is lifted by a mid-face lift. There are many variations of how a Facelift is done.  The earliest lifts were skin-only lifts of the jowl and neck.  Later innovations (e.g. deep plane facelift) were aimed at improving the effect on the mid-face.  The deeper and more extensive the lift, the better the effect but the higher the incidence of complications.  

Facelift - photo showing jowls

Variations of the Facelift

Some variations shorten the scar so that the procedure is simpler, recovery is faster and general anaesthesia is not required.  But, this means a smaller area can be worked on.  Internally, there are variations in depth of the lift, methods used to lift the deep tissue and how it is anchored.  Mini-lifts are popular because the scar is shorter, there is minimal deep dissection, it is a much simpler procedure but expectations have to be realistic

Non-surgical Facelifts

Botox lifts the eyebrows.  The effect on the mid-face jowls and neck are not as good as for the eyebrows.  Thread lifts are very popular but the effect is not good when the skin is thick and heavy.   There are possible complications to consider as well.  Fillers are a camouflage.  The “lift” is an optical illusion.  The effect of these methods are temporary.


Then there are the deep heating methods, where heat is applied through the skin to “stimulate collagen growth”.  The heat is applied using lasers, ultrasound and radio frequency.  They cause heat injury to the deeper tissues, which results in some scar formation (aka stimulated collagen growth) which, in turn, tightens the skin.  Repeated treatments are usually required, making them costly.  There is a danger of burning the skin and none of them can reproduce the effect of a surgical lift. 


These methods have been around for some time.  People who have had these deep heating methods have, later, had facelifts.  Surgeons who operated on them noticed injury to the SMAS.  SMAS is the layer of connective tissue that surgeons use to lift and anchor the skin during a facelift.  


The consumer (notice: not “patient”) seeking beauty and youth is spoilt for choice.  Different methods for different needs but there is no such method that is scarless, incisionless, no down time, no surgery but produces the effect of the full surgical facelift.