There are many different types of face-lift surgery. These procedures differ in the type of incision used, the area of the face being treated and how invasive they are. The type you have will depend on your individual needs and will be discussed with your surgeon at your consultation. It is important to consider the specific areas that you want to improve, how long you want to spend recovering from treatment, and what your expectations are when making this decision with your surgeon.
Deep plane face-lift or SMAS lift
The deep plane face-lift has long-lasting benefits as it treats the underlying tissue layers and muscles improving nose to mouth lines (nasolabial folds) and giving you a more defined jaw and chin. It is the most invasive face-lift procedure but can give quite dramatic results with the effects lasting for 10-15 years. It is the most common type of face-lift performed and is particularly good for older people with severe facial sagging and laxity.
During the procedure, tissue in the mid facial region and the cheekbones is lifted and repositioned. The skin and tissue lifted is thicker, so there is less interruption of the blood supply to the area. The procedure often requires incisions along the hairline so that the facial muscles and upper fatty tissue layers can be easily lifted and repositioned in the area of the cheekbone and mid face. The facial muscles are lifted and repositioned along with the fatty layer above them; these are then secured to achieve a more youthful appearance. This is often a better technique to use for smokers.
By the time we reach our mid-30s the soft tissue from around the cheekbones starts to lax and sag slightly, creating nasolabial folds. This flattens the mid face area and may make a woman’s face look slightly masculine.
People between the ages of 40 and 50 are the most ideal candidates for a mid face-lift or if you have cheeks that appear to be sagging and the nasolabial area has skin folds or laxity.
The procedure often requires several small incisions along the hairline and inside the mouth so that the fatty tissue layer(s) in the affected areas can be lifted and easily repositioned. This also means that scars are practically non-existent. The natural fatty layer over your cheekbones is lifted and repositioned. The benefits of a mid face-lift include the improvement of nose-to-mouth lines and the roundeness over the cheekbones, restoring a more youthful appearance.
Mini face-lift or ‘S’ lift
The least invasive type of face-lift, the mini lift offers a more temporary solution to facial ageing with less downtime. It is sometimes known as the ‘S’ lift because of the type and shape of incision used or the ‘short-scar’ face-lift. The incisions will usually be made from the hairline around the ear with the scars hidden in the natural crease of the skin. The mini-lift is used to reposition the skin and soft tissues of the face and can often be performed with an endoscope. Once this has been achieved, the surgeon carefully repositions the skin using small sutures. This type of face-lift is particularly suitable for younger patients with premature ageing who are not ready to have a full face-lift. Because it is less invasive it involves a shorter recovery period.
A thread lift or feather lift as it is sometimes known is a less invasive option to surgery, which is popular with people in their late 30s to early 40s who seek minimal improvements to treat sagging or laxity in the eye area, forehead, and nasiolabial folds.
The thread lift can be performed under local anaesthesia. The doctor uses a barb suture technique. In this technique, barbs that act as a hook are used with threads to gather skin layers in an upward direction thereby tightening the skin. The thread itself, which has small barbs to hold the skin in place, is not reabsorbed or dissolved and remains in place. No skin is cut away and only the barbs on the threads give the lifting effect.
Complications may include the appearance of lumps, puckering skin, or the visibility of threads. Treatment for complications can range from oral medications to surgical intervention. A thread lift may provide a benefit for up to five years.