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The non-surgical facelift: Does it exist?

Article-The non-surgical facelift: Does it exist?

A panel of plastic surgeons debated the validity of the “non-surgical” facelift at Aesthetic Meeting 2015, the annual conference of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), held May 14 to 19, 2015 in Montreal.

According to an ASAPS news release, the panel convened to answer one question: Is there such a thing as a non-surgical facelift?

Panelist Barry DiBernardo, M.D., says yes. “The key is to define what a facelift is intended to accomplish. A facelift should address wrinkled and sun-damaged skin, loss of volume, fat under the chin and laxity of facial muscles. The difference between a surgical and a non-surgical facelift lies in what tools are necessary to achieve the desired result — scalpel or injectables and light- or energy-based tools — but both can accomplish the desired effect to different degrees,” according to the release.

Moderator Laurie Casas, M.D., expressed a different view. “While I don’t personally believe that there is such a thing as a non-surgical facelift, I do believe that we can effectively treat the signs of aging using the new wealth of non-surgical tools at our disposal to potentially stave off a facelift for a while. Facial aging is not dependent on a patient’s age exclusively, but rather on the quality of their skin — tone, texture, color and thickness — as well as muscle tone, subcutaneous thickness, weight fluctuations and, of course, genetics. We are now able to treat facial aging longitudinally by protecting, preventing and treating the key signs.”

The panelists agreed that the best approach to addressing facial aging is to establish a long-term maintenance plan that involves skincare products such as sunblock and retinoids; and may include injectables and light-energy-based treatments to tighten the skin around the jowl and neck area; and fillers to restore volume. Facelifts and neck lifts should be considered when less-invasive procedures can’t do the job, according to the release.

“A non-surgical approach to facial rejuvenation is not for every candidate,” Dr. DiBernado says. “If a patient has excess skin hanging low, a machine won’t tighten it to produce the desired effect. At this point, they are good candidates for a surgical procedure.”

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