One facial plastic surgeon has set out to categorize the facial rejuvenation system via a condition-specific classification algorithm, which would enable physicians to communicate with one another when discussing cases and the techniques they use in facelifting surgery.
"A standardization of techniques matched to specific conditions is needed in facelift surgery. Using a specific algorithm, the surgeon can see a certain set of age-defining conditions in a cosmetic patient and accordingly choose a combination of procedures that are specifically designed to correct those problems," says E. Gaylon McCollough, M.D., F.A.C.S., McCollough Plastic Surgery Clinic, Gulf Shores, Ala. "It's a matter of tailoring techniques to a given patient's needs, at a specific time in his or her life."
Facelifting techniques have diversified over the years, primarily to offer maximum lifting results with the most minimally invasive techniques possible. This diversification, however, has led to numerous descriptions and names of the varying facelift techniques, and at the end of the day, this may confuse surgeons and patients alike.
"There are many surgeons who perform a standard facelift procedure regardless of the stage of aging. The problem is that the surgeon's standard procedure might be the wrong operation for some patients," Dr. McCollough says.
"It also might be the wrong operation for the same patient at different times in his or her life, underscoring the need for a condition-specific algorithm detailing procedural choices that can be implemented for each individual patient," he adds.
Class 1 — younger patients (under age 30) who have little or no loose skin and may require only liposuction to remove unwanted fat or bulges, typically located along the jawline or in the submental region.
Class 3 — patients in their mid to late 40s who are beginning to exhibit a fair amount of sagging tissues in the brow, cheeks and the neck.