What Are The Differences Between The Types Of Facelifts?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am confused about all the different types of facelifts. I reading on the internet I have come up with over a dozen types and names of facelifts, some of which seem similar and others very different. Can you help me figure out what is what is facelift surgery?

A: Admittedly, the marketing and promotion of facelift surgery can be very confusing. While there are many naunces/details within a facelift that does differ by plastic surgeon, there are some fundamental concepts that they have in the basic execution of a facelift and in what each individual patient needs. In my practice, I look at three basic types of facelifts and this is how I both allocate time and the charges to do them. It is important to also understand what a facelift is…which is a lower facial procedure that focuses on the neck and jawline.

Level 1 Facelift = Jowl Tuck-up, a true short scar facelift, no neckwork is done (liposuction or otherwise) This is for jowl problems only and would usually be done in someone under 50 years of age.  SMAS imbrication by suture is done. Drains are never used.  This is the facelift procedure that if one was truly motivated really could be done under local or IV sedation. It would be very similar to the well known Lifestyle Lift . May be called JOWl TUCKUP. It usually takes about 1.5 hrs to perform.

Level 2 Facelift = Semi-full facelift that includes postauricular incisions that usually do not go into the occipital scalp. Neck liposuction is usually done. SMSAS imbrication or flap elevation is done. Drains may or may not be used but are usually not. This is the type of facelift for jowlings and minor neck sagging issues. May be called FACELIFT.  It usually takes about 2 hrs to perform.

Level 3 Facelift = Full facelift, extended postauricular and occipital scalp incisions are used with open neck work. There is a full connection of skin flaps between neck and face. Full SMAS flap elevation is always done. Drains are always needed. This is for those who have a major neck problem or concerns. Anyone over 60 or 65 years of age will always need this type of facelift. May be called FULL OR EXTENDED FACELIFT.  It usually takes 3 hours to perform.

I hope these basic facelift concepts are helpful.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana