Q: Dr. Eppley, I would like to send some photos so you could tell me the most appropriate surgery to have. I would like a wider face, a less pointy chin, a chin lift and jaw implants. I wore braces to correct an underbite and I had a mandibular osteotomy and genioplasty – the result is a long face. What can I do to bettr improve my overall appearance. I am 39 years old and terribly unhappy with my profile and double chins etc.
A: You have many of the sequeale of orthognathic surgery of the lower jaw which occur from both the surgery and aging. While a sagittal split mandibular advancement osteotomy and genioplasty have undoubtably done wonders for your bite and improved your facial profile, there are some skeletal deficiences from that surgery that have either been created or unmasked with aging that have affected your lower face. Your face has become narrower with that surgery as the jaw angles are usually lost from the ramus osteotomy and the chin becomes more narrower as its u-shape comes further forward. There also appears top be some asymmetry of the lower jaw with the left angular area being more deificient than the right. There is also the effects of aging as the neck has become fuller and dropped down due to soft tissue sagging. Collectively, all of these give you a narrow and longer appearing face with a double chin and obtuse neck angle.
This could be improved by a single procedure combining a chin-prejowl implant, mandibular angle implants, neck liposuction and a limited or short scar facelift. I have done some computer imaging from the front and sides to illustrate what changes may be possible through this approach.
Dr. Barry Eppley
As people age, two of the most noteworthy and bothersome facial changes is what occurs along the jaw line and neck. These two changes are usually progressive, first comes the jowls then goes the neck. Like wax melting off of a candle, cheek skin and fat begins to slide off of the face creating those fleshy droopy folds at the jaw line known as the jowls. Recent research also indicates that it is more than just gravity that causes jowls, it is the shrinking of facial fat as well.
The appearance of jowls will eventually occur in everyone with enough time. Jowling creates an undesireable change in facial shape, making it wider and more rectangular in the lower face which is characteristic of an older person. It also causes a distinct disruption of a smooth jaw line from the chin on back, which is characteristic of a more youthful appearance.
Jowl correction is generally part of a facelift procedure. This is done during a facelift by either trimming the jowl fat, suturing the jowl fat back up to a higher level, or some combination of both of these manuevers. Facelifting is a relatively common procedure as evidenced by the 95,000 performed in the U.S. in 2009 according to the American Society of Plastic Surgery.
When only jowls are present and the neck has minimal loose skin, a different variation of a facelift can be done. Scaling back the ‘size’ of the facelift procedure can very effectively eliminate those troublesome jowls. Known by a wide variety of different names, the limited or downsized facelift tucks up the hanging loose jowls with very minimal recovery. Unlike a traditional facelift where incisions are made in front of and on the back of the ears, the jowl facelift only uses a fine incision in the front. The lack of any significant recovery is noted by the different names that are used to describe it, such as Lifestyle Lift, Swiftlift and EZ Lift. Expect one week for the significant recovery period of some mild swelling and bruising.
One of the great advantages of a jowl lift or ‘short scar facelift’ is that it also addresses a common facelift fear, that of looking unnatural. Few patients that I have ever met want to look like they have had a facelift. These procedures have no risk of that ever happening as they deliver a more subtle and less dramatic result. One will never look have that windwept or overdone look as, by definition, the procedure is more limited.
Due to the marketing and appeal of a facial rejuvenation procedure called the Lifestyle Lift, many people have at least heard of it. A scaled-down version of a facelift, the Lifestyle Lift is not unique or new but is actually a common procedure performed by many plastic surgeons. Todays trend toward less invasive plastic surgery and beginning facial rejuvenation earlier has led to the marketing of an otherwise routinue facial procedure.
Unknown to most, the Lifestyle Lift is a branded name and is a blended marketing and service approach to delivering minimally invasive facelift surgery. In essence, it is a franchise approach to selling surgery with office locations in 22 states. (the closest office to Indy is in Cincinnati)
While there is nothing wrong with that concept, the Lifestyle Lift company was recently fined $500,000 in New York where its corporate headquarters is located.. The attorney general there has settled complaints against the company as it has admitted that it used its employees to pose as satisfied customers in online ads. Apparently the company ordered employees to write positive reviews of the Lifestyle Lift on message boards and other internet forums to appear as unsolicited testimonials and endorsements, thus violating consumer protection laws. (proving once again that www. really means the wild wild west…believe at your own risk!)
While the company and the way it operates may have some deceptive marketing practices, the actual operation however is still a sound one. The limited facelift or short scar facelift (a.k.a Lifestyle Lift) is very popular and highly successful. It is a scaled down version of a more extended facelift into which many other smaller facial procedures can be added as well.
Younger patients today want to treat jowl and neck sagging early rather than wait until it looks worse. Therefore, their facial concerns are less severe and they do not need a full facelift operation. The limited facelift is often combined with other smaller procedures (e.g., Botox, injectable fillers, laser resurfacing, neck liposuction, eyelid tucks) to create an even better overall result without extending one’s recovery. Older patients (who really do need a bigger operation but do not want it) can still get a simpler and less invasive operation that will provide some real improvement. (although less than that from a full facelift) This usually fits their financial situation and allows them to have surgery that they can afford with a recovery that fits into their work or leisure schedule.
Dr. Barry Eppley