Facelift vs. Facetite

I now have yet another option for my patients who are wanting the results of a “facelift“.  Facetite non-surgically tightens skin without the need for incisions or general anesthesia. I’ve been performing this procedure now for five months and even though my patient results are still preliminary, I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing and very confident in offering this alternative. So what are the differences so far?

My standard facelift improves the lower face, jawline and neck. The area of improvement goes from just below the nose to the Adam's apple of the neck. I do several other types of facelifts in Columbus Ohio as well -- it just depends upon the areas of concern. I almost always do a standard facelift under general anesthesia for patient comfort. However occasionally it is appropriate to just use local anesthesia and some oral sedation. The procedure often takes 2 ½ to 3 hours and my patients can first return to their work or social life in approximately 10 days. If they have an important function coming up, I suggest they give themselves 3 weeks of recovery after facelift surgery to look their best.

Of course, it takes time to completely heal with any surgery but, significant improvements are evident immediately after a facelift.  It will be six months however before I expect to see the final result, and that result will last for 7 to 10 years.

The discomfort after a surgical facelift is surprisingly minimal. There are stitches, which get removed one week after the procedure.  We offer several options to minimize bruising and swelling, but everyone heals differently.  Any bruising is typically gone by 10 days so my patients can begin resuming their normal lives soon after the surgery.

In summary, a facelift is a surgical procedure with incisions. Improvements are seen immediately. Discomfort is minimal in most cases and patients return to work and their social lives in 7 to 10 days.  Results from a facelift typically last 7 to 10 years. Surgery does have its risks. Extra bleeding may result in a hematoma (blood clot), which is not life-threatening but will need to be drained.  Everyone will have some temporary diminished nerve sensation around the ear lobe and cheek, which will eventually return to normal. Permanent nerve loss is not expected to occur. Scars are hidden in normal creases but occasionally may need to be revised.

Facetite, on the other hand, does not involve incisions. Typically, I make three very small hidden punctures in the skin a few millimeters long. Through these small holes, I then can pass a small cannula about the size of a cocktail straw. Once healed, the small puncture sites are undetectable.

The procedure is done under local anesthesia. Most patients will also take an oral sedative so they can be more relaxed. Fluid containing local anesthesia is infused under the skin, which makes the procedure relatively painless during and afterwards. The procedure takes approximately one hour and patients leave with a light head dressing which is worn for 24 hours. Patient then wear an elastic strap in the evenings and at bedtime for the next week.

I’m noticing that most patients have swelling following the procedure, which resolves quickly but I recommend not returning to work for 5 to 6 days. Bruising can occur but we do our best to minimize this with bruise cream and vitamin K. Some tingling of the cheeks and neck is expected for several weeks but it isn’t bothersome. Temporary nerve weakness can occur but is very rare and resolves quickly.

Facetite patients will begin seeing some results approximately 3-4 months following the procedure. This improvement then progresses for up to a year. I estimate the ultimate tightening effect with Facetite will be approximately 50% of what can be achieved with a facelift. The results with Facetite are expected to last for 4-5 years. Everyone is different and some candidates are a better fit for this procedure than others.  I’m also finding that the results are different in that a facelift actually lifts and removes excess skin.  In addition, muscles are repositioned which brings volume back to the midface.  Facetite is more of a shrink wrap effect. I’ve noticed that my patients’ faces appear somewhat thinner and more contoured.

Ultimately when deciding between a lower facelift and Facetite the decision hinges on the degree of result and the longevity of that result. Yes, the recovery with Facetite is much less involved and the procedure is done under local anesthesia. But, for most of my patients at this point the decision comes down to how much improvement can I expect to see and how long will the improvements last.