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Non-Surgical Facelift – Does it Actually Exist?

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    "I wanted to respond to some questions that, in fact a number of questions that have been coming up about newer therapies that relate to facelift and again facelifting, we've spoken a lot about it, is a term that's overly used now with people using that term to describe anything from something in a jar to a minimally invasive laser procedure, all the way to a surgical procedure which we typically think of as being a facelift and so I think it's really important at least for our patients and followers to understand what the terms means so that they can have realistic expectation for outcome.

    First of all, everybody should be aware that there's no magic cream that does a facelift because facelifts by definition, by our surgical and medical definitions, are actually improving the contour of the lower face and or the neck and that's really, by definition, what facelifts do.

    I've commented before in definitions of facelift and I've described it to our viewers and readers as a mini-lift when it lifts this portion of the face, a mini neck lift when it lifts this portion of the head neck or face and if it lifts both the lower face and the neck that is by definition a facelift or as I like the more accurately describe it a lower facelift.

    A lot of my patients will come in and say "Oh I've had a full facelift you know 5 years ago, 7 years ago and its sagging again." Unfortunately too many people are saying that and what they're really referring to is having had a brow lift, eyelid surgery, upper and lower blepharoplasty, chemical or laser resurfacing around the eyes, in the mouth or full face and the lower facelift. That, in their mind is a full facelift and again that's a little confusion in terms.

    So let's keep in mind, the creams are nice for your skin surface depending on which ones you've chosen. I've said it many times before you need a retinoid, you need a vitamin c, you need sun protection and then you need gentle exfoliation. If you're doing those four things you're doing 90% of what we know works. So those are important but none of them do a facelift. Facelifts, by definition, should be improving contouring. Well, then we get into some of these procedures or technologies where people are claiming facelifts and I'm not sure that that's really what you're getting.

    The first of them were really lasers. When lasers skin resurfacing first came out, a lot of people were claiming that it lifted the face. Well, in fact, what resurfacing does is tighten the skin a little bit. It makes the surface texture smoother, it makes wrinkles much less perceptible, in fact, in many cases it can make them go away, but it is not physically or substantially changing the contour to the skin.

    Then there have been a number of non-ablative devices that come out and I will say this is a gray area because some of these devices show some promise. We're not sure quite how much lifting they're doing, but there is a promise that there is some general tightening to this that goes beyond the skin, which in fact could translate into some contour improvement, and again contour means sharpening of the jaw line, loss of laxity of the neck or repositioning of the cheek tissues.

    So if we talk about those things, the cheek and lower facial tissues, cheek and lower facial tissue repositioning, jawline definition and a better cervicomental angle, the definition of the neck itself.

    We'll talk about some of the non-ablative technologies. Those that came out early include Thermage, there are treatments like Velashape, eMatrix, there's a whole series of them that came out and they were skin tightening devices by FDA clearance, not lifting devices.

    Then, more recently, the first device that's ever been approved for a non-surgical intervention that actually does lifting. It actually got the term lifting in its FDA clearance, it's the Food and Drug Administration's seal of approval, is a treatment called Ulthera. I'll talk a little bit in my next segment about Ulthera how it works and I do take it adds a new dimension to what we're offering our patients.

    But lastly then comes the term facelift and I wanted to make sure everybody was clear on it because there are so many now, trade names out there. There's the S-lift, the Q-lift, the P-lift. You put a name to it, the Click Lift, the Wonder Lift, the Vundabar Lift, the Bloomer Lift, the Liquid Lift, etc.

    There is all of these different terms out there, and even now people are now saying stem cell facelift. I would encourage you to go to our Facebook page its, and I've done an interview with a health and beauty reporter very extensively on this whole topic of the term facelift and I encourage you to take a look at that. It's linked at our Facebook page and I'll repost it or I'll tag it to top. So I think that will help a lot in definitions.

    But just again to clarify the most important thing about facelift is that we're changing the contour to the lower face and neck and a traditional approach involve an incision that starts somewhere in or around the hairline, above the ear, it goes somewhere around the ear, and again in my practice, for men and women, I'm hiding it behind this piece of cartilage called the tragus, so there's no scar in front and then high on the back of the ear, and again into the hairline, some people will be in or in front of the postierior hairline, the back behind the ear hairline. I'm not favorable to the hairline type incisions in most patients, although I'm not ruling it out, because of the visible scar.

    The key to good lifting is getting good contour and having minimal scaring and naturally where it's all about. When we're done with a true facelift, better described again as a lower facelift, we've got the neck nice and tight with a good angle, we've got the jawline nice and tight, and then we've got a nice contour to the lower portions of the face.

    So relative to this, I'll put some posts up what I think are good before and after result with facelifts. In our next segment I'm going to talk a little bit about Ulthera and the technology, and we'll do a little bit of series on Ulthera because I do think it's the best and most promising technology that's coming out for actual lifting, that's non-surgical.

    Dr. Corey Maas, as always we welcome your questions, videos, and photos on our website at Please don't hesitate to write and call, get a live person on the phone. As always, Dr. Maas here to make sure that you're Looking Your Best."