Traditional vs. Short-Scar Facelifts: Which Is Best for You?

A facelift, technically known as a rhytidectomy, is a popular plastic surgery procedure that can give you a more youthful and refreshed facial appearance. During a facelift, plastic surgeons may remove excess facial skin, tighten facial tissue, and redrape the skin around the face and neck.

Facelifts generally fall into one of two categories: traditional facelifts or short-scar facelifts. As a plastic surgery office, we can explain the differences between each type of facelift, and help you decide which procedure is best for you.

There are the 5 major factors to keep in mind when considering a traditional or short-scar facelift.

  1. Length of Incision

The traditional facelift involves an incision that can span from the hairline behind the ear to the hairline near the temple of the head. This incision enables the plastic surgeon to tighten skin and reconstruct facial muscles from the temple to the jawline. Some scarring can be expected, but Dr. Fodero uses special techniques to minimize and hide most of the scarring behind hairlines.

In contrast, the short-scar facelift involves a shorter incision that starts at the temple and ends at the earlobe. This obviously eliminates much of the scarring you’d get from a traditional facelift, but the smaller incision also limits the amount of facial tissue that can be manipulated. So, a short-scar facelift may be best if you want to target specific areas of the face.

For example, a short-scar facelift is ideal if you want to target drooping or wrinkled skin around your eyes and cheeks, but aren’t concerned about wrinkles spreading out from your mouth or neck. A short-scar facelift can also be a good option if your goal is to remove loose skin around your neck and contour your jawline, but have no desire to have your eyes or cheeks touched.

  1. Depth of Cut

With a traditional facelift, the surgeon makes incisions deep into the facial muscles. This enables the surgeon to restructure and reposition the muscle. A short-scar facelift, by contrast, is less-invasive. The surgeon doesn’t cut into and restructure the muscle, but instead, uses sutures to pull muscles into the desired position.

  1. Length of Surgery

As you might expect, the traditional, more complex facelift will take longer to perform than the short-scar facelift. The traditional technique typically takes 3 to 4 hours, whereas a short-scar facelift can be done in as little as 1 hour, but can take up to 3 hours, depending on the amount of work being done.

  1. Recovery Time

Patients undergoing a traditional procedure can expect about a two-week recovery period. Plan on taking time off of work and other obligations to rest and allow swelling and bruising to subside. Physical activity and exercise should be kept to a minimum. And if you are a smoker, know that you will need to stop smoking prior to the surgery and remain smoke-free for weeks after surgery.

The short-scar facelift is a generally less-invasive procedure, so there is less recovery time than with a traditional facelift. Of course, may of the same recovery recommendations apply: lots of rest, limited activity, and no smoking.

  1. Additional Procedures

There are several additional procedures that can be combined with a traditional facelift for enhanced results. For example, eyelid surgery and brow lifts can be performed at the same time as a traditional facelift. Patients may also opt for facial implants to be added during a facelift to add volume to areas of the face that are sagging.

When the short-scar procedure is targeting the neck and jawline, it is common for some patients to undergo some light liposuction as well to further refine the area. Other than that, short-scar facelifts are not often combined with other procedures.

Northeastern Plastic Surgery understands your desire for a beautiful, youthful looking body and facial appearance. We use the latest plastic surgery techniques to perform a variety of surgical procedures. Dr. Fodero and the staff are very friendly, helpful, and available to answer any questions you may have about the procedures we offer. We strive to ensure that your experience with us is positive. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.

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