This is our most popular facelift procedure. We have a number of patients in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s that have come to us with mild to moderate sagging in their faces and necks that are looking for a less invasive alternative to the traditional facelift, one that uses shorter scars, takes less time to do, has a shorter recovery time, and still gives a great result. We started doing our shorter scar facelift several years ago, calling it by various awkward names around the office including the limited incision facelift, short scar facelift, “Cheri Special” (one of our early patients!), minilift, and others. When a post op patient commented on how she didn’t look artificial or “weird” after her facelift, just refreshed looking, the name stuck. We’ve been calling it the “Refresh Lift” ever since!
The Refresh Lift- Bridging the Gap
For many years we were frustrated that there didn’t seem to be a good procedure for those patients who had mild to moderate age related changes in their face. These patients, typically in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s didn’t feel they were quite ready for a traditional facelift, but weren’t able to achieve adequate correction with non-invasive or minimally invasive techniques. They had been disappointed in the results they had seen with these techniques, including Thermage, thread lifts, laser procedures, “liquid face lifts” and other procedures. While most had seen some improvement, these procedures didn’t adequately tighten and reposition the skin as they (and their doctor) had hoped. As we sought for a solution to offer these patients we began investigating the various short scar facelift techniques. We were most impressed by those that essentially pulled the face “up” instead of “back”. This made sense to us, as the face really doesn’t fall forward as we age, it is pulled down by gravity. It only makes sense to reverse this by repositioning the facial tissues upward, not pulling them toward the back of your head. In fact, this overly aggressive backward pull may tighten the skin but can give the face an unnatural or operated look you may have seen on some high profile celebrities.
We have adopted many of the techniques of others, added our own details, and have nicknamed our short scar lift the “Refresh Lift”. It is a true facelift that gives real and long lasting results but leaves you with a natural appearance. You still look like yourself, just better!
Patients that see the most benefit from the Refresh Lift are typically patients in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s with mild to moderate sagging in their face, jowls, and neck. Patients with significant sagging or skin excess, particularly in the neck, are better candidates for a full facelift.
We have also found this makes a good facelift for those who have undergone a facelift in the past, have lost some of their correction and are ready for a “re-do”. In fact, one our early patients with this new technique was an energetic woman in her eighties who wanted her 25 year old facelift “tightened up”. Along with the patient, we were very pleased with the result we were able to achieve.
At your initial consultation we will evaluate your face, review your photographs, and discuss ways we can achieve the look you want. In addition to a Refresh Lift, we may discuss other procedures such as upper and lower lid blepharoplasty, injectable fillers, fat transfer, Botox, skin procedures, etc. that could improve the overall result you see with your facelift. We will review the procedure, showing photographs and diagrams on how it is performed, and come up with an operative plan that suits your needs. Of course, we will ask you about your overall health history and medications to make sure we can do the operation safely. If you have certain medical conditions we may need to contact your primary physician prior to surgery for medical clearance.
The procedure is performed in the operating room at the Lawrence Surgery Center under either a general anesthetic or local anesthesia with sedation. It typically takes around three hours, but may take longer if other procedures are added (blepharoplasty, etc.). After the procedure, you are placed in a head wrap type dressing that will remain in place until the following day when we exchange it for a lighter dressing. Patients usually stay at the surgery center for 1-2 hours after surgery then are discharged home. Pain afterward is mild to moderate and is controlled by oral pain medication.
Pain is generally mild to moderate after the operation, requiring patients to take pain pills for 1-2 days. Some have required no medication at all, others required longer periods. Nearly all patients experience swelling or bruising after the surgery, which may take a few weeks to resolve. Skin sutures are removed after 7-10 days. Makeup may be worn shortly after surgery to cover any bruising. Most patients wait 7-14 days before returning to work and vigorous exercise.
Around 1 in 3 facelifts performed nationwide in 2017 was classified as a “mini” or “limited” facelift. This is a relatively new procedure, and was not counted in the nationwide statistics until recently.
Why we like this procedure!
- Less surgery and downtime than a traditional facelift
- Better results than noninvasive techniques
- Fewer complications than a traditional facelift
- Less expensive than a traditional facelift
- Natural result, not a “pulled” and artificial look