More than just a pretty face: Customising your facelift

Not all facelifts are created equal, warns expert

Norman Waterhouse, a leading London-based consultant plastic surgeon and Head of the Craniofacial Unit at Chelsea and Westminster, today discusses the different types of facelifts – and why, just like individual ageing patterns – they are not all created equal.


According to Norman Waterhouse, consultant plastic surgeon and former President of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS): "The truth is there are many different ways of surgically rejuvenating the ageing face , and the best way to guarantee satisfaction in the result is by becoming educated about the process itself and by being aware of one’s personal needs and goals."


The decision to have a facelift in order to appear refreshed and rejuvenated is not an easy one, and yet once it is made a seemingly unending list of choices follow. Which procedures to have? What are the risks? Can more than one improvement be performed during the surgery? When to have it done?


According to Norman Waterhouse: "Facelifts are not magical time-reversal procedures, but when performed correctly the results are subtle and pleasing to the eye, leaving a patient who had been looking tired and wrinkled looking fully refreshed, more youthful and vital, and not ’operated upon’." Currently facelifts are as diverse as people themselves, so electing the appropriate one for each patient is fundamental. The optimal choices can be made by analysing the patient’s features, age, gender, lifestyle and special requests.


Following are a few of the most common types of facial rejuvenation surgeries:


SMASectomy. Probably the best all round procedure for most people. This operation tightens the muscle under the skin and corrects jowls, neck laxity and deep nasolabial lines


MACS lift. This is a simple procedure with no scar behind the ear. It is helpful for mild jowling but is less effective for the neck


Mask lift. The mask lift is a deep lift which specifically improves the brow, eyes and midface. Recovery time is longer than for other procedures.


Volumetric facelift. This procedure uses fat injections to restore volume to thin faces with a drawn and haggard appearance. Midface enhancement is often used with this technique


Endoscopic facelift. Using small incisions in the hairline and the mouth, and a camera on an endoscope, this facelift primarily corrects the cheek and eye area.


The range of procedures and their application can be bewildering for potential patients. Consultation by experienced surgeons providing independent, professional advice is essential to choosing the most appropriate technique.


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