A surgical facelift is based on a fundamental fallacy: that your face has somehow developed “excess” soft tissue. That’s how they come to the conclusion that the proper solution to the problem is to cut away the “surplus” skin and supporting tissue to throw it away, then stretch the remainder tightly over your facial bones.
We’ve already noted how this can tend to distort your facial appearance, and, at any rate, is less likely to restore your youthful appearance. We’ve talked about the accordion effect, and how these underlying structural changes lead to many of the changes in your facial appearance. And how the use of fat grafting to try to plump up the face demonstrates the basic shortcomings of this technique.
But it seems that facial plastic surgeons have developed a different variation on the facelift that also shows the benefits of a nonsurgical facelift.
Cutting and Grafting
In this new variation on the SMAS facelift, plastic surgeons are finding a use for some of the material they cut out.
An SMAS facelift doesn’t just cut away “excess” skin, it cuts away some of the underlying support structure, known as the superficial musculoaponeurotic system or SMAS. This muscular system helps support the face, and if the skin is to maintain its new position, this system has to be moved, too. But what to do with this leftover material?
Some doctors have started taking this cut out material and adding it to the lips to try to plump them up. This is an important potential benefit because lip augmentation is a popular anti-aging procedure, and a loss of lip volume is commonly reported by patients considering a facelift.
Lip Augmentation May Work
A new study looking at this procedure seems to indicate that it might be an effective approach. The study ostensibly looked at over 420 patients who had this procedure done. However, most of these patients had limited follow-up, and only 60 of them actually had five years worth of follow-up data so that complications could be logged. This included two patients (3.3% of the 60) who experienced complications so severe they needed correctional surgery.
Only 26 (6% of the total population) of the patients had photographs from before the procedure and after, and these patients seemed to have significantly more lip volume after the procedure than before.
Nonsurgical Facelift Plumps Lips, too
Although there seems to be some promise to this variation on the facelift, it’s important to note that the reported benefit here can actually be achieved with a nonsurgical facelift, too. The volume lost in the lower face–from the teeth and jaw–also supports the lips. As the support is lost, the lips sink back and inward, losing some of their apparent volume. Replacing your lost teeth and bone will provide your lips with better support, and make lips look plumper.