The well known procedures of anti-aging facial plastic surgery continue to be debated as to which techniques are best. (e.g., facelift) And those debates will undoubtably continue for decades to come as the differences in them are often subtle and no matter how it is done it is still a surgical procedure. In contrast, the number of options of non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures continues with growing numbers of injectable fillers, neuromodulators and skin tightening devices.
One of the most well known but least understood injectable facial rejuvenation procedure is that of the Liquid Facelift. This office-based procedure is an amalgamation of neurotoxins (like Botox, Dysport and Xeomin) combined with a variety of different injectable fillers. (e.g., Juvederm, Voluma) These are often combined with some skin resurfacing tightening procedure like a chemical peel, fractional laser resurfacing or pulsed light therapies. Because it is non-surgical, a Liquid Facelift has next to no downtime, requires no anesthesia and its full effects are evident within days to a week after it is done.
It is touted as a procedure that can take years off the face and can maintain or restore a youthful glow without surgery. While all three techniques (wrinkle weakening, adding facial volume and skin tightening/resurfacing) work synergetically, the back bone of the procedure as the name implies is the injectable filler part. Fillers add volume and with today’s number of injectable filler options exceeding a dozen, the choices are numerous most of which are hyaluronic-acid based. But almost no matter which FDA-approved injectable filler is used, they are all temporary with the exception of one. (Bellacol which contains small plastic non-resorbable beads) It is only question of how long they will last.
The volume effect of the injectable fillers is designed for the midface to add fullness and help create more of a V effect. Whether it really does much lifting can be debated but what it can do is increase cheek and midfacial contours. This can counteract the geometric effect when facial tissues fall (inverted V) and can correct cheek hollows from fat loss. The intent of creating this midfacial effect has led to the Liquid Facelift also being called the Liquid V-Lift.
While the Liquid Facelift has its place in facial rejuvenation, it should not be confused with what a surgical facelift can accomplish. These differences make it critical for patient selection and expectations. While age along is not the only factor, a Liquid Facelift is really for younger patients with early signs of facial aging that do not have a lot of loose skin. Significant jowls and turkey waddles are not going to get improved by an amount of volume addition or superficial skin tightening.
Dr. Barry Eppley