New plastic surgery findings are not something you see everyday, but today is the day. Cosmetic surgeons from New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital, performing probably the first and only study of its kind in the world, have shown that the full-incision facelift surgery technique provides more lasting results than the popular short-scar or “mini” lift. Dr. Darrick Antell, the Lenox Hill cosmetic surgeon who led the study, explained
Although people like the idea of a short incision, if it doesn’t yield equivalent results, they need to consider doing the longer one.”
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, about 128,000 facelifts are done in the United States annually. Most people, men and women, get a facelift to get rid of aging neck skin, known as a “turkey wattle.” Various techniques and incision types have evolved in facelift procedures over the years. The short scar or mini-lift method became popular in the early 2000s and has many aliases, some unsuccessful. This minimalist approach eliminated the need for an incision into the hairline behind the ear and boasted shorter recovery times. It is an important tool in the cosmetic surgeon’s medical bag, but it is not suitable for everyone. Proper patient selection involves age, overall skin condition, and neck skin laxity.
The lower price and faster recovery of the mini-lift is appealing to consumers, but some patients feel the procedure is too good to be true. Many doctors agree and cautiously counsel patients towards the best decision. Now, this novel research comparing the two most popular facelift techniques on identical twins and triplets puts to bed the question of which of the two techniques yields better long term results.
In Antell’s innovative study, no difference was seen in the one-year follow up, but at five years significant changes manifested. The traditional facelift, in spite of increased cost, increased surgical risk, and increased recovery times is the hands down winner, showing sustained improvements. Facelifts do not stop the aging clock, but the traditional facelift turns the clock back a little better according to Dr. Antell, who said
The full incision gives the surgeon flexibility to better reposition the tissues with facelift results that last eight to 10 years, on average.”
Dr. Antell’s research will be published in the June 2016 issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.