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Ask The Surgeon, Cleveland Magazine, 4/1/2008

Start Date: Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Last Modified: Monday, March 26, 2018
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Question: Recently I've been seeing a ton of commercials on TV for facelifts with different names. Are they truly facelifts or different kinds of procedures? Are any of these something to be leery of?

Answer:  A lot of the surgeries being advertised (I'm not able to list their real titles) have names like the rapid lift, weekend lift, mini lift, lifetime lift. These are surgeries designed to reduce recuperation time and money spent. There are a number of reasons you should be guarded about these ads; they can be very misleading. The most significant reason is the patients shown in the commercials have results that couldn't possibly be achieved by only the lift that is being advertised.

The surgeries that some doctors claim are “rapid” or “faster” are usually just abbreviated surgeries. If important steps are omitted in a surgery, making it faster, the results may not last as long as the full procedure. This makes the savings irrelevant.

Another concern, the surgeon you visit for the advertised lift may not be the doctor responsible for the pictures used in the commercial. Many of these advertisements are run by surgical groups, and you aren't guaranteed the physician that actually did the work you saw.

Facial cosmetic surgery has improved over the years, and patients tend to base their perception of facelift surgery on old results and outdated recovery.  Americans are eager to look better with little down time, minimal pain, while keeping it as inexpensive as possible. Traditional training in facial cosmetic surgery was to pull the facial tissues up and back, as tight as tolerable. This resulted in significant bruising, pain and an unnatural appearance. Today's methods are much more refined, as are the outcomes, and this makes the surgery much more marketable than in the past. This explains why there has been such an increase in advertising for the procedure.

Since it is your face that you're thinking about altering, an area that obviously can't be hidden, doesn't it make sense not to cut corners doing an expedited and cheaper procedure?

When a full facelift procedure is performed correctly, by an experienced and qualified surgeon, it is practically painless, healing is under 2 weeks, and the look is natural and refreshed.  Most importantly, the results last!