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The Risks of Facelifts

        Health | Cosmetic Treatments

The Risks of Facelifts (<i>cont'd</i>)

Following are the fees that surgeons charge in some of the biggest cosmetic surgery markets in the country. The quoted prices don't include other fees such as operating room charges or anesthesiologists' fees, which plastic surgeon Mark Richards says can add some $5,000 to $7,000 to the total cost of a facelift.

  • New York — $6,633
  • Florida — $4,463
  • California — $5,540
  • Texas — $5,304

Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons (1998 survey).

Experts Evaluate the Alternatives to Facelifts

Experts agree the best way to retain the bloom of youth is to stem sunbathing, and to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day. Tans and sunburns are signs of skin damage.

What's the number two anti-aging strategy? There's a consensus on that, too: Quit smoking. By the time smokers reach their 40s, they have developed more wrinkles than their nonsmoking peers.

Some other techniques touted as quick-fix alternatives to help people stay young-looking are more controversial. So, is there any truth to the claims that you can obtain a a bottle?

While face creams can't substitute for a facelift—they don't reach down to the deep tissue—creams containing alpha hydroxy acids can help a person's skin look "significantly better," says dermatologist and plastic surgeon David H. McDaniel, M.D. Prescription-strength creams are stronger, as a rule, than over-the-counter versions, and generally work better, too, to smooth skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

On the other hand, people selling "weekend facelifts" are selling a mere gimmick, says plastic surgeon Mark Richards, M.D. "Nobody gets a true facelift and goes back to work in two days."

What about laser surgery? Unlike facelifts, laser surgery helps to improve the quality of the skin by eliminating fine lines and other cosmetic distractions. It doesn't combat the effects of sagging tissues, though. A person could need one or the other operation, and some people choose to have both of these procedures done.