The term facelift can be very confusing. What is it really? Each persons’ anatomy is different, and requires different approaches, but typically the term facelift refers to tightening of the cheeks/jowls and neck. Many patients fear the thought of a facelift, thinking “Isn’t that too dramatic?,” or “I’m just not ready for something like that.” In fact, a facelift is not always what is necessary to improve unwanted sagging cheeks or jowls. Patients are often pleasantly surprised that the less invasive, mini facelift, a popular alternative at Dr. Hove's Paoli practice, can give them a tight jaw line and eliminate sagging below the chin. A mini facelift has a smaller incision than standard facelift techniques, and it can be performed under local anesthesia, for a quick recovery.
With a mini facelift, Dr. Hove makes an incision along the front contour of the ear, hiding it in the hairline, and then wrapping just behind the earlobe. He prefers to hide the incision along the inside of the ear canal (at the cartilage knob called the tragus) on females, while on males he makes this incision in front of the tragus so as not to bring the beardline onto the ear. He lifts the skin, and tightens the underlying tissue layer (called the SMAS, which stands for subcutaneous musculo-aponeurotic system). This tissue layer is the key to achieving a longer lasting result. Dr. Hove then places the skin back down, and removes loose extra skin to restore a new tight contour to your jawline.
Don’t be thrown off by slick marketing buzzwords out there that are just renaming this technique. You will come across terms like S-lift, short-flap lift, weekend lift, or Lifestyle lift®. They are all essentially mini-facelifts. The bottom line is this- interview your surgeon carefully, ask for their experience, training, and certification, and ask to speak with some of their prior patients before making your decision. You want to get a sense you can approach your surgeon with any concerns you may have at any step of the way.
A traditional facelift is essentially a mini facelift with the addition of a neck lift, so that the lower face/jawline as well as the neck is tightened to restore a more youthful appearance. Dr. Hove places incisions along the front of the ear contour (like the mini facelift), but then extends the incision along the hidden crease behind the ear to the hairline, then follows the hairline to the neck. He lifts the skin to inspect the underlying anatomy. The SMAS layer (described above) actually continues into the neck below the jawline as a thin layer of muscle called the platysma. With greater exposure of this, Dr. Hove while tighten the SMAS and the platysma layers as one long sheet, anchoring it with either long-lasting or permanent sutures to give you a rejuvenated but naturally appearing lower face/jawline and neck. He places an additional incision in the natural crease under the chin to further tighten the platysma muscle layer in the neck. This helps get rid of the "waddle."
Patients often express concern about the incisions, and how they heal. Dr. Hove is meticulous about their closure, so that they are virtually impossible to see after they heal. For examples, you may look at some of Dr Hove's results at our Before/After Photo Gallery.
I believe that to excel in any career, one has to keep reaching, learning, and sharpening their skills, instead of resting idle on some self-declared title. At the Hove Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, we continually strive to bring you the latest advanced techniques and products in the field of facial plastic surgery, both cosmetic and reconstructive.