Is This the Future of Facelifting?

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This article first appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of NewBeauty. Click here to subscribe.

Who needs tea leaves and crystal balls when you’ve got scientific journals and aesthetics meetings? Here, plastic surgeons share their facelift forecasts for 2019.

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“Recently, people have been talking about taking the nerve supply away from the medial platysma, [as] this part of the muscle does nothing except make obnoxious bands in the neck,” says Corona Del Mar, CA plastic surgeon Val Lambros, MD. “There’s some very interesting research on ways to selectively clip the nerve responsible without compromising motion. By doing so, we can probably reduce considerably the number of recurrent bands in the neck, which is one of the most common things patients complain about [in the years following facelift surgery]. This is still being studied, and may or may not pan out, but it could be very promising.”

“I predict smaller interventions at earlier ages, shorter incisions in more discreet locations, and even more conservative and natural-look- ing results. The ‘Park Avenue 1990s’ look— surprised, taut, shiny—is definitely over,” says New York plastic surgeon Lara Devgan, MD. “I also foresee more educated consumers who will be less susceptible to the marketing of confusion—this strange notion that every plastic surgeon has a new and wholly unique method for well-established procedures such as browlift, facelift and necklift. There are a number of variations in surgical techniques, and every procedure is customized to every patient, but eventually savvy patients will realize that what matters most is a surgeon’s training, aesthetic judgment and delicacy of dissection—not the marketing of a new, well-branded term.”

“The use of innovative technology like radio- frequency skin tightening for reshaping the neck and facial skin, and the addition of fat or fillers to the central face, eyelids, and forehead/temple areas—this is the future. Total facial rejuvenation without any incisions or recovery!” says Dallas plastic surgeon Rod J. Rohrich, MD. “Once we unlock how to safely and reliably tighten skin and re- move neck fat nonsurgically—while continuing to fill the face in an artistic manner—the traditional facelift will be history. I truly see this on the horizon; it’ll be here in five years or less.” (Other doctors we spoke to said the time period may be more like 10–15 years.)

“In my opinion, the main limitation in facial rejuvenation remains the quality of the soft tissues and the elasticity and texture of photo- aged skin, which have a large impact on our ability to control both the shape and longevity of our result,” says Miami plastic surgeon James Stuzin, MD. “The future in facelifting may focus on the addition of growth factors and other innovations in re- generative medicine, such that the elasticity of aged soft tissue and skin is improved, allowing us to provide better aesthetic control in facelift techniques. We’re seeing some of these effects now as we combine nanofat grafting with the facelift in patients with sun-damaged skin, as the nanofat contains both growth factors and stem cells. Nonetheless, the development of these types of procedures is only in its infancy.”

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