What about the “Miracle” facelifts you see on TV and in magazines?

LSsmallIt is very common to see magazine ads and TV commercials that advertise “revolutionary” new facelifts with small recovery and “amazing” results. It is very trendy at this point in time to “invent your own facelift” and give it a fancy name. Remember, facelifts have been around for a century and although many improvements have been made, beware of any technique that claims to be radically different from the rest. Facelifts that “have no downtime”, “no bandages”, “no swelling or bruising”, “no scars”, etc. can be very deceiving.

Most of these lifts are merely conservative facelift techniques that are being marketed as some miraculous advancement. It is not that they don’t do anything, as they are usually OK for patients with minor aging. Performing a very small or conservative facelift (regardless of the name) on a patient who needs a bigger lift is a big mistake. If a patient has moderate or significant aging changes and they undergo minimal technique facelift the extent of the aging will frequently not be addressed. Conservative facelifts certainly have a place in cosmetic surgery, but only for younger patients with minor aging. Performing a small facelift on a patient who needs a bigger facelift will cause disappointment. The lift won’t be as tight or last nearly as long. We see this happen frequently where a patient with moderate or advance aging changes falls prey to a “miracle” minimally invasive facelift at another office and now presents to our office unhappy with their result and requesting a fix. The problem is usually that the patient had too small of a procedure for the amount of aging they had. These heavily marketed techniques sound great, but in reality they are just the same type of conservative facelifts that have been around for years. They are fine for minor aging but can’t compete with more comprehensive techniques.

If someone ever does develop a non-invasive technique that is more effective than facelift surgery, it will be front page news and every doctor will perform the technique, not just the ones that name their own facelift techniques. Surgeons that perform many facelifts realize that facelift surgery is a very precise and demanding procedure. If there were an easier way to do it, no one would still be doing it the old way. On your way to work tomorrow you won’t see a horse on the expressway. The invention of the combustion engine was so superior that virtually no one ever again rode a horse for transportation. The same principle exists for facelift surgery. If a miracle technique is discovered, everyone will do it.

Many of these lifts are marketed by companies that franchise doctors and we have seen way too many unhappy patients that needed a real facelift and were not only very disappointed, but we had to redo the facelift, so the patient ended up spending twice as much!  Also, when these patients go back to express their dissatisfaction and get a refund, their case has to go before a “company review board” and inevitably they are turned down due to the fine print they signed in their miracle paperwork.  Look before you leap!  Buyer beware.  Do your homework.  What may sound like a great deal can quickly turn out to be a nightmare.  If you are thinking about having a “corporate” facelift, Google the name of the company or the lift, and you will probably be shocked with the negative experiences of many other patients.  Make sure your surgeon knows how to do all types of facelifts and will back up his or her work.

You get what you pay for, but not just in terms of money as most of these lifts are more expensive than Dr. Niamtu’s comprehensive facelift.  You get what you pay for in terms of recovery.  If  you really want to reverse years of aging, you need the type of lift that will take 10 days to 2 weeks to recover.  Unless you have very minor aging (38-42 years of age) these “revolutionary” lifts don’t address the problem for a natural and long lasting result. The biggest reason that unhappy patients give for falling for a “miracle type of facelift” was the lure of a quick recovery.  Short recovery is greatly overplayed by these companies.  Remember, two weeks out of the rest of your your life to reverse a half century of aging is not a bad deal.  A “real” facelift takes 10-14 days to heal.

It is so trendy for surgeons to advertise micro lifts, nano lifts and other terminology that makes the old fashion small lift sound new and effective.  If you are over 40, don’t waste you time and money on gimmicks.  These small lifts are done without an incision in the hairline behind the ear.  It is easier for the surgeon and the patient, but this hairline incision is one of the most important parts of facelift surgery.  It is also completely hidden the hair, so it makes no sense to omit this important step.  You simply cannot effectively tighten the neck without this incision.  Another integral part of a “real” facelift is platysmaplasty.  This is done through a small incision under the chin.  This allows the surgeon to contour or sculpt the fat deposits in that area and more importantly, address the platysma muscle which causes neck bands, a true sign of aging.  Dr. Niamtu performs platysmaplasty on all facelifts at no extra charge because it is an important part of the procedure, controls the neck bands, allows a firmer and more defined neck and lengthens the result of the facelift.  The small or “micro” facelifts usually omit the posterior hairline incision and platysmaplasty.  Yes, it sounds easier and the patient will recover a few days sooner, but it is impossible to properly address aging without these important steps.  Sometimes “less is more”, but not with facelift procedures.  I have scores of patients that fell for the “small lift” hype and I have redone their lift properly.  They learned an expensive lesson.  You get what you pay for!  Not only in money, but also in technique and longevity.

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These three patients all had small facelifts that sounded like great bargains and new technology.  All three presented to my office to consult for correction of this residual aging.  What they need is a “real” facelift and could have had this in the first place.

For more information on why “miracle” facelifts are not a good choice see

Dr. Niamtu’s Blog

Don’t fall victim to a “bargain” or “short cut facelift”