Q: Dr. Eppley, I’ve heard of facelifts being done under just local anesthesia. How safe and comfortable is that approach for this kind of surgery? It is appealing to me but it makes me nervous being awake.
A: There is little question that limited or mini-facelifts are very popular today and are widely advertised. Many surgeons and companies have even named their own versions of these mini-facelifts. Their premise is based on being performed under local anesthesia for a quick recovery and usually a lower cost. While there is merit to this approach, the key is whether a more limited facelift result will meet a patient’s expectations based on their degree of neck and jowl sagging beforehand. While eliminating the risks, cost and recovery from anesthesia is appealing, that can be a poor trade-off if the ‘problem is bigger than the solution’. Such mini-facelifts are best used in younger patients who have early signs of facial aging or in older patients, while really needing a fuller facelift, simply doesn’t have the time, resources or desire to completely address the extent of their aging issues.
Local anesthetic facelifts can be made fairly comfortable through the use of oral or IV sedation drugs. The wonders of modern pharmacology allow one to reach a pleasant and relaxed state of mind so local anesthesia can be adequately injected for the facelift procedure.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, are the various mini- or limited types of facelifts effective and how long will it last?
A: The numerous type of franchised forms of quick recovery facial tuck-ups are well known versions of limited facelifts or a jowl tuck-up procedures. There is nothing magical or unique about this operation or approach. It is a scaled down version of a more complete facelift or a neck-jowl lift. It can be very effective if done well and will get years of sustained improvement which will vary by a patient’s skin type and genetics. It could be anywhere from 5 to 10 years depending upon where one starts and how well one ages. The more relevant question, however, is whether this type of facelift approach is right for you. The vast majority of unhappiness with these franchised named ‘mini-facelift’ is that the patient wasn’t a good candidate. Their facial aging issues were more advanced and they should have had a fuller facelift to get the kind of result that they were expecting. Patients understandably are tempted to choose a facelift operation based on how it would be done (local or IV sedation), a short recovery and/or a low cost rather than choosing a facelift operation that better fits their actual needs. This is the real issue you should be thinking about.
Dr. Barry Eppley