Face Lift Types

Face lifts have been performed for decades and this surgery is continually being improved. As research in cosmetic plastic surgery continues, new types and variations on the face lift procedure are being created that offer improved results or greater safety. Some of the more common types of face lift include:

Standard, Conventional, or Traditional Face Lift: This is a procedure designed to rejuvenate an aged, sagging face. The incision lines are usually along or behind the hairline at the sides of the face and in front of the ears. For most people, the incisions run from just above the ears, down and around the ears (where they are hidden in the natural skin fold in front of the ears) and then up and behind the ears. Excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is lifted and sutured into place creating a face that looks tighter and younger. Some surgeons may perform a skin-only face lift, while others may move and adjust the underlying facial structure.

Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System (SMAS) Lift: The SMAS includes the facial muscles and connective tissue that are responsible for facial movements. In this method, in addition to the skin being lifted upward and outward, the SMAS is also adjusted and tightened. Some surgeons believe that a SMAS lift lasts longer than a skin-only lift. The incision for the SMAS lift is in the same place as the traditional face lift.

Neck Lift (Platysmaplasty): The platysma is the muscle that runs under the chin and down the neck vertically from the chin. This muscle can loosen and start to droop with age, leading to the appearance of a turkey neck. In platysmaplasty, this muscle is tightened and trimmed to create a more youthful appearance, and excess skin and fat are also removed. A neck lift is typically performed in conjunction with a face lift, but it can be performed by itself if there is no need to tighten the facial muscles or skin.

S-Lift: This procedure can improve the appearance of the lower third of the face (including the jaw line, jowls, and neck) and is sometimes called a mini-face lift. An S-shaped incision is made in front of the ear, and skin and underlying layers are moved and pulled up and to the side and sutured into new positions. An S-lift can be combined with liposuction.

Mini-Face Lift: There are several lifts that are called a mini-face lift. This lift provides less correction, but it also has a shorter recovery time. Other names include the QuickLift and the S-lift. We have a separate page of information about the mini-face lift.

Deep Plane Face Lift: This procedure is performed in a deeper plane than the standard face lift. This procedure is similar to a SMAS lift, but can be more beneficial to someone with sagging along their nasolabial folds.

Temporal Face Lift (lateral lift, lateral brow lift): This procedure is a variation on a brow lift and uses incisions placed in the hairline at the temples. The tissues are pulled to the side and diagonally up and away from the center of the face. This technique can smooth out small wrinkles in the forehead, around the eyes and in the area between your eyebrows at the top of your nose. A temporal lift can give a firmer look to the face by lifting and tightening skin around the cheeks. There are variations to this procedure, including the use of internal suture material for suspension and tightening the underlying muscles.

Mid-Face Lift: This procedure can create a more youthful appearance by tightening skin under the eyes and improving the appearance of the nasolabial area, upper mouth, and outer upper lip area. It can be a good choice for younger patients who may not need a full face lift. A mid-face lift does not affect the brows and may be performed in conjunction with an endoscopic brow lift. A mid-face lift can be carried out in either of two ways. The open technique uses an incision under the lower lash line of the eye and can include an additional small incision within the nasolabial fold. This technique is a great option for those who need a more vertical lift rather than a horizontal or diagonal lift, and gives a subtle result and rejuvenation, rather than a dramatically altered appearance. The endoscopic technique requires two short incisions in the scalp above the temples. This approach can improve the appearance of the outer eye, temple and brow.

Thread Face Lift: A thread lift is a minimally invasive procedure that can create a younger look in people who have a small amount of sagging on their face. It uses special barbed sutures to grab the skin from below the surface and pull it into a more aesthetic position.

Non Surgical Face Lift: There are several types of nonsurgical face lift available, including the laser face lift, the microcurrent face lift, and techniques that use radio frequency energy, infrared energy, or intense pulsed light (IPL). These procedures are very minimally invasive, generally do not cause much pain or discomfort, and do not require much recovery time. Several of these procedures are better known under the brand names of the companies that make the equipment, such as Thermage (radiofrequency), Titan (infrared), or Bio-Ultimate (microcurrent).

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