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Case Study – The Limited Facelift Concept

 

Background: One of the most recognized anti-aging facial procedures is that of the facelift. While commonly recognized it is not commonly understood by the public. Many misconceptions exist about this operation from how it is performed, its immediate and long-term facial effects and to who may even be a good candidate for it.

The facelift procedure has been around for over 100 years and its medical name, rhytidectiomy or the removal of facial wrinkles, speaks to its age. In its original use it was designed to remove wrinkles from the face by cutting out skin in front of the ear or temple area. The operation has certainly evolved since its inception, due to improved anesthesia and surgical techniques, and it has become as much about repositioning of lax facialk tissues as it is about cutting them out.

Despite the evolution of the modern day facelift and its myriad of technical maneuvers within the operation, there are still some basic components to it. The extent of skin flap elevation in the face, how the SMAS layer is managed and how much central neck work is done allows for the facial procedure to be divided into three types or levels whose application depends on the extent of the patient’s aging facial tissues.

The limited or mini-facelift, aka level 1 procedure, has become popularized under a variety of marketing names. Because it is a more limited operation it has become promoted for its quicker recovery, shorter operative times and execution under more limited anesthesia methods. By definition such intra- and postoperative sequelae occur because the operation is less invasive. Less surgery is done, thus making everything about this type of facelift ‘less’ even including cost.

Case Study: This 45 year-old female wanted to reverse some adverse changes that had occurred in her neck and jawline. She had developed some jowls as well as some neck skin laxity occur with some platysmal banding.

Under general anesthesia, she had a limited facelift performed with short skin flaps raised in front of the ear and down into the neck but did not extend to the central neck. A short SMAS flap was raised with suture suspension. A submental incision was made to release and tighten the platysmas bands. Her six week results show a smoothing of the jawline and an improved neck angle.

Any ‘limited facelift’ technique is, by definition, a limited version of its more complete form. What makes it easier in every aspect is that it is less surgery. While that may seem obvious it it important for patients to understand that, while everything about the operation is appealing, it will not create the same result as its much larger form. It works best when the operation is matched to the anatomic problem. For patients with greater neck sag, jowls and overall tissue descent, this operation will not meet one’s expectations. In short a limited facelift is not a full facelift.

Highlights:

  1. A facelift is a variable operation whose extent is based in the aging anatomy that it needs to treat.
  2. A limited or mini-facelift is usually defined as a procedure that does not include the full neck dissection and/or has limited skin flap elevations.
  3. Most more limited facelifts are best done ion younger patients who have earlier rather than advanced signs of facial aging.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana


Dr. Barry EppleyDr. Barry Eppley

Dr. Barry Eppley is an extensively trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon with more than 20 years of surgical experience. He is both a licensed physician and dentist as well as double board-certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This training allows him to perform the most complex surgical procedures from cosmetic changes to the face and body to craniofacial surgery. Dr. Eppley has made extensive contributions to plastic surgery starting with the development of several advanced surgical techniques. He is a revered author, lecturer and educator in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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