The development of a droopy neck and saggy jowls is loved by few…and is the bane of many women and some older men. Much can be found that promises to improve it from creams, exercises, laser and light therapies, and even the occasional clothespin approach. But we all know deep down inside that such hope only benefits the manufacturers and sellers of these products…and the only lifting that gets done is usually from your wallet.
While surgery is the only effective option for that loose neck and jowl skin, everyone would like to have as little surgery as possible and avoid hearing that dreaded word…facelift. While the fears surrounding a facelift are largely unfounded, people would certainly like to avoid that consideration if possible. This facelift phobia has led to the emergence of the concept of the branded selling of facelift surgery.
The most well-known current example is that of the Lifestyle Lift. Through their national magazine and television ads, this is a franchise approach to getting a facelift…or some version of it. Promising to turn the clock back at least ten years and look recovered in just a few days, its snazzy name seeks to assure patients that it will fit into their ‘lifestyle’. Interestingly, nowhere in their advertising does the company suggest it is actual surgery. Somehow the concepts of surgery and lifestyle are incongruous. I have seen numerous patients who have visited their facilities and were surprised to learn that it was actually an operation that requires some recovery and a temporary change in their lifestyle.
In reality, the Lifestyle Lift is an operation that is decades old and is practiced by most plastic surgeons. This ‘mini-facelift’ operation has now cloned many spinoffs including the Swiftlift and Weekend Lift to name just a few. Often touted as being innovative and original by the advertising surgeon, the names suggest that getting a fresh, younger look is really easy…or at least is quick for the surgeon to do.
Like many things that are heavily marketed, the Lifestyle Lift has its share of proponents and critics. An internet search will quickly bare that out. As an operation, however, limited types of facelifts do have a valuable role in facial rejuvenation. Not every patient needs or wants a fuller or more complete type of facelift.
Facelifting is not, nor should be, an operation that is performed the same on everyone. ‘Mini-facelifts’ are best reserved for patients with earlier signs of aging, not advanced problems such as turkey necks. A catchy name does not necessarily make the procedure novel or unique. Many plastic surgeons offer similar type facelift procedures that just don’t have a branded name, but that doesn’t make them any less effective or useful.
Dr. Barry Eppley