All you need to know about face lift techniques to make an educated choice in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles area.
There are more face lift done in Beverly Hills and Manhattan than anywhere else in the world but surprisingly enough the face lift patient does not make choices based on hard facts, instead she/he is more incline to pick a plastic surgeon from the gossips columns of a magazine.
Sometimes I think that you need to be a plastic surgeon to understand the differences in some of the techniques used in face lift surgery, so let’s try to make it simpler.
Most of the traditional face lifts are based on a similar technique: the skin is freed from the muscles underneath and then a layer of thin fibrous tissue overlying the muscles called the SMAS, is pulled in a horizontal direction and stitched in a higher position. The skin is re-draped on top, pulled, the excess removed and stitched in place around the ears. There are minor variations in the theme which are mostly inconsequential despite what different plastic surgeons may like you to think.
In general, considering the similarities of the current techniques what may be the difference is in the execution by different surgeons, especially the attention to details in stitching etc.
That is true but, in my opinion, there is a technique that is very different and stands out from the rest: it is called the vertical face lift. The technique differs in a substantial matter, both philosophically and factually.
Philosophically the major vector of pull is not horizontal but vertical.
Factually, it is a much more sophisticated operation. The skin is freed in a much wider fashion for two important reasons: one is that the wider dissection allows to re-drape the skin better and more efficiently, so more excess skin will be removed. Second, it allows access to the facial muscles so they can be reposition in a vertical direction, re-creating the more youthful framework of a younger face and by doing so, it avoids the reproduction of the pulled, unnatural classic face lift look.
Many surgeons claim that they are performing the vertical face lift but in actuality it is not very easy to perform. It takes knowledge of the facial anatomy and special skills.
For a lot of plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills and in Los Angeles it is easier to perform a simpler, less time-consuming version of the vertical face lift.
Don’t settle for less, become a more sophisticated patient. Any face lift, no matter who does it, (INCLUDING THE LIFE STYLE LIFT) will improve somewhat the aging face.
Learn to judge the final result based not only on an improvement of some kind but on the correction of all the signs of the aging face.
Develop a sense of beauty and artistry, train your eyes on details and truly appreciate a natural result, then and only then you will be able to decide what is the right face lift technique for you and you will be able to pick the best plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills to execute it.
Now the question is: what makes a plastic surgeon a face lift expert?
The first step seems obvious: to make sure your “board certified surgeon” is a real plastic surgeon. Easy? Not really.
A lot of surgeons called themself plastic surgeons but more than half of practicing cosmetic surgeons are not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the gold standard, the only board who is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Also they need to be a Member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery, a Society with one of the highest ethical and professional principles.
Now the trick is that the surgeon can be “board certified” but from a different board, like the ENT board or dermatology board which does not represent the gold standard for plastic surgery. Furthermore they can be also certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Cosmetic surgery which are boards that are not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties therefore their requirements are not as stringent as the American Board of Plastic Surgery. All of these doctors can say that are “Board Certified” and you will be tricked. Another pearl is to make sure that they have privileges in the hospital for the same procedure that they are planning to do to you.
Now this is pretty basic, but I’m surprised to hear many times that the patient thinks his or her doctors is well credentialed when instead he/she is not board certified in Plastic Surgery.
The next important step is to figure out what defines a facelift expert.
One of the most important characteristic of a facelift expert is that his/her practice should be predominately devoted to perform face lifts. Most plastic surgeons at the top of their carriers have developed a predilection for one particular cosmetic procedure: make sure you choose the one who does mostly face lifts.
A second very important feature is the type of practice he or she has. Facelift surgery is a very sophisticated type of surgery which requires attention to details. A practice which favors volume over high quality would not be a good fit. As the surgeon is pressed for time, he may overlook some important aspects of the surgery like impeccable suturing therefore compromising the final result. An example of a volume practice would be the life style face lift type of practice where a large number of consecutive cases are performed daily. This model, in my opinion does not privilege high quality and excellence in results. A more “boutique” approach is preferred where the plastic surgeon performs only one face lift a day and he is personally involved from the consultation day, through the pre-operative period, from the first stitch to the last one and more importantly, he is there for you after surgery.
The third factor is understanding what kind of face lift is offered. There are a lot of techniques on the market. Every technique is different, it has a different downtime and delivers different results. Also the capacity of the plastic surgeon to tailor the technique to your face is essential. A cocky-cutter approach, like the life style lift, will not be ideal for every patient and the ability to forge an approach for each individual needs is indispensable.
The forth and probably the most important feature that characterizes a real facelift expert is concrete, outstanding results. A lot of plastic surgeons, especially in Beverly Hills are well trained, have experience, had media exposure, have performed surgery on celebrities. So, what boils down is results!
The only practical parameter to compare results among doctors is the before and after pictures gallery.
You want to look for consistency in natural results. Of course, you have to keep in mind of the make- up, the different in lighting, etc., but it is still the best way to evaluate ability and experience.
Don’t settle for a few before and after pictures but demand to see at least 10 to 20 patients and then you can formulate an opinion of the plastic surgeon.
A fifth element that is of paramount importance is the ability to develop a clear communication channel with you plastic surgeon: he has to be available, easy accessible and understanding of your needs.
A surgeon on a pedestal will not be able to fulfil your expectations.
A face lift expert is all of these. If you do your homework well you will be able to achieve your goals.
Remember, the plastic surgeon is not going to deliver a perfect result and realistic expectations are a key to be happy after your face lift, no matter the expertise of your plastic surgeon.