Facelifts: What You Need to Know

Other Types of Facelifts

In addition to the traditional facelift, there are a number of other techniques plastic surgeons use to give their patients a more youthful appearance. We'll discuss a few of them here.

The mini-lift is term is used to describe less-invasive procedures that use a smaller incision and work on a smaller area of the face than a traditional facelift. A type of mini-lift called the "weekend facelift" gets its name because many patients have the procedure on a Friday and return to work on a Monday. It is designed to improve the appearance of jowls and loose skin in the neck, but with less dramatic results than a true facelift. First, the doctor numbs the lower part of the patient's face with anesthesia. Then, during a one-to-two hour procedure, the doctor makes an S-shaped incision from the patient's sideburn, around the ear, toward the bottom of the hairline. The surgeon tightens the connective tissue under the skin, removes excess skin, and closes the incision with small sutures.

The S-lift works on just the lower third of the face, smoothing out the neck and jowls. After the doctor injects a local anesthetic into an area near the ear, the surgeon makes an S-shaped incision and separates the skin from the tissue underneath. When the skin is lifted, the underlying muscles and tissues are tightened. Because of the smaller area being worked on (and therefore the smaller incision), this technique takes less time than a traditional facelift, and the recovery time is shorter.

To perform the mid-facelift, the surgeon makes tiny incisions in the hairline above the patient's ear, as well as inside the mouth. During the procedure, the surgeon pulls the fat pads in the cheeks up and over the cheekbones to tighten sagging skin in the cheekbone area. Doctors often perform this procedure using an endoscope -- a tiny camera that allows the doctor to visualize the surgical area.

The tissue-glue facelift is not a different kind of facelift, but rather a different technique for closing the incision. Instead of sutures or stitches, the doctor may apply surgical glue (usually Fibrin Sealant) along the incision line. The glue acts as a vasoconstrictor, closing blood vessels to stop bleeding and seal the wound. This technique reportedly improves recovery time and reduces bruising. The body eventually rids itself of the sealant.

There are also facelift techniques that deal with a specific area of the face. An eyelift removes excess fat and loose skin to reduce the droopiness in the eyelids, while a browlift removes muscles and releases tissues in the forehead to raise the eyebrows and reduce frown lines.

In the next section we'll discuss some of the risks associated with facelift surgery.