Non-Surgical Facelift vs. Traditional Facelift

Growing older is typically met with displeasure, as it usually means unsightly changes in your appearance. Aging can bring about many physical transformations, but the most noticeable are those to the face and neck, which start to look droopy with the softening of facial angles and sagging of the skin. For instance, the area around the chin and jaw can start taking on a "cloverleaf" appearance as fat bulges form on either side of the chin. Your face says a lot about your emotions, mood, and personality, so it can create serious self-confidence issues when you're unhappy with how it looks.

It is important to note that facelifts traditionally address the lower third to half of the face – additional surgical correction beyond that would involve an eye or brow lift for what we would term a "full facelift." For many patients, the thought of undergoing multiple surgeries, even in one sitting, might be too extreme. The Maas Clinic™ is happy to offer men and women of different ages the chance to correct their facial aging concerns through multiple methods, both surgical and non-surgical. Whether you're looking for dramatic, long-term results or subtle, temporary improvements, it's essential to understand all of your options.

doctor showing patient her facial results on a handheld mirror

The Non-Surgical Solutions

A non-surgical facelift isn't an actual single procedure. Instead, we use this term to refer to the few non-surgical treatment options available, which can be customized according to your needs. For many people, the idea of having surgery can be intimidating, but they still want to reverse the signs of aging without the risks or downtime that surgery might entail. At The Maas Clinic™, we offer numerous minimally-invasive alternatives for total facial rejuvenation, addressing the three main underlying symptoms of facial aging: volume loss from a decrease in bone and fat in the face, wrinkles forming from facial movement over time, as well as skin textural issues like thinning and pigmentation. While there is no substitute for significantly improving the contours of your face and neck in one go through surgery, our non-surgical treatments are still a great way to reduce facial lines and wrinkles, restore lost volume, and even improve the look of the skin, the last of which surgery on its own cannot accomplish. Men and women come to our San Francisco facial plastic surgery clinic seeking non-surgical solutions, including dermal fillers, laser treatment, chemical peels, and Ultherapy.

Injectables: Fillers, BOTOX®, and Kybella

For those with static wrinkles, sunken cheeks, marionette lines, or even jowl formation along the chin, a combination of different injectables can smooth, contour, and reshape the face to help turn back the clock. We have many different injectable options, but the right one for you will depend on your unique concerns and aesthetic goals.

Kybella is a fat-dissolving solution made of naturally occurring deoxycholic acid, which has been specially designed to reduce the look of a double chin permanently, creating a more youthful contour to the chin and jawline.

Dermal fillers like Juvederm, Restylane, and Voluma can help add volume and restore a youthful appearance to your face. When applied by an expert injector like Dr. Maas, it can subtly lift the face by mitigating the effects of bone and fat loss from areas like the temples, the mid-face and cheeks, and even the jawline. It can also plump up sunken areas and smooth out the transition between different muscle groups, reducing the look of under-eye bags through tear trough treatments, enhancing thinning lips, and reducing the harsh look of deep nasolabial folds.

On the other hand, BOTOX, Dysport, Jeuveau, and Xeomin are perfect for relaxing the overworked facial muscles that cause forehead lines, brow creases, and crow's feet. As the refined Botulinum Toxin in these formulas prevents nerve signals from reaching these muscles, the lack of movement helps to prevent new creases from forming in thinning skin, softening their look.

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Laser Treatments

Laser treatments are a popular facial resurfacing option that tightens the skin, improves tone and texture, eliminates wrinkles and creases, and softens facial acne scars. They use targeted light energy to break up unwanted melasma and age spots, stimulate skin healing, and encourage new collagen and elastin formation. Some lasers can also slough off old skin cells, unveiling healthier new skin beneath. ActiveFX and DeepFX are popular laser treatments at our clinic, but each has unique benefits. The ActiveFX laser uses its high-energy beam to peel away at the upper layer of skin and regenerate a newer, healthier layer in its place.

It is best used for skin tightening and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The DeepFX uses CO2 laser microbeams to target the deeper dermal layers. This treatment significantly improves skin tone and texture and reduces wrinkles, scars, and facial folds. Patients looking for consistent, no-downtime laser treatments can consider non-ablative treatments, including Lumenis, which stimulates cell production in deeper dermal layers without damaging the skin's surface. We also provide Clear + Brilliant, which addresses skin texture concerns, including large pore size, dullness, and uneven skin tone.

Chemical Peels

A chemical peel works by exfoliating and rejuvenating your overall complexion. At The Maas Clinic™, we offer a wide range of fully customizable peels from light to deep, depending on your specific needs. Lighter peels comprise formulations that include ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acid and typically do not require much or any downtime. A deep peel, on the other hand, uses ingredients like trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to get into the deeper dermal layers of the skin. Because a deeper peel is often more abrasive, many clients require a week or two of downtime with moderate flaking and peeling of the skin. The specific peel that is right for you will depend on the level of health your skin requires. During a consultation, we can determine the treatment that will work best for your specific skin type.


Ultherapy is another non-invasive treatment that uses focused ultrasound to tighten and lift saggy, loose skin. As you age, the collagen in your skin begins to lose its strength, and the production of new collagen slows—gradually causing the skin to pull downward as its structural integrity fades. A focused ultrasound treatment will help jumpstart your skin's repair process by producing new collagen and strengthening existing collagen. A single treatment session generally takes less than an hour and requires no downtime. Beloved by celebrities including Christie Brinkley, Ultherapy can treat not just the lower face but also the brow, forehead, temple area, mid-face, neck, and even the decollete. It is also recommended for patients who have had facelifts before but desire a "refresh" of their results.

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Silhouette Instalift Thread Lift

Thread lifts are the perfect in-between procedure for patients who need more of a soft tissue lift but still want something non-surgical. Thread lifting provides results through collagen-stimulating combinations of polyglycolic and L Poly-Lactic dissolvable medical-grade sutures.

The art of a suture lift involves knowing the best lifting vectors for each patient's face. Dr. Maas's experience as a board-certified facial plastic surgeon lets him immediately visualize the best angles and amount of lifting to provide his patients with naturally beautiful results. His careful technique also means patients can leave the office after an hour, looking immediately refreshed with little to no downtime.

As the sutures dissolve, the body's collagen production processes are stimulated, and results will continue to improve in the weeks after the procedure, with optimal results seen about three months later. The longevity of this treatment is around 18 months.

Advanced SMASplasty Facelift at The Maas Clinic™

Surgery, whether for cosmetic reasons or not, can be an intimidating thought if you don't know what to expect. As you seek surgical options for your facial rejuvenation needs, you'll find that a facelift is the best way to address loose, sagging skin and lost volume. There are a plethora of different "lifts" out there now, though, so it can be a tad confusing when trying to figure out which is right for you.

The traditional facelift is also commonly referred to as a lower facelift in the plastic surgery realm. This procedure addresses the facial aging concerns between the cheekbones and neck. A traditional facelift is an obvious choice if you are self-conscious about the sagging muscles that create unsightly neck bands or the drooping excess skin on your cheek, jawline, and neck regions. Dr. Maas' techniques involve shifting the SMAS layer, also known as the deep fibrous layer of the facial muscles, for excellent, long-lasting results. While this might be risky if performed by an inexperienced surgeon, Dr. Maas is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon with the experience and know-how to work with this nerve-rich area for safe surgery.

Depending on your needs, for a chin-to-forehead refresh, Dr. Maas provides full facelift options that help patients achieve a natural yet significantly refreshed look without looking unduly "pulled" or windswept. This procedure could also include fat transfer to address volume loss in the under-eye area.

While initial swelling and bruising are common as you recover, the improved contours you will achieve from a facelift will be well worth it. If you're considering a facelift or want to learn more about our non-surgical facial rejuvenation options, contact us now. We'd be more than happy to schedule your consultation with Dr. Maas and help you achieve a natural but noticeably younger look.

Corey S. Maas, MD, reviewed the information about rhinoplasty. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us using our contact form below.

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