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Vertical Facelift Vs. Traditional Facelift: Which Is Better?

Traditional facelifts pull lax skin laterally (horizontally) to tighten the skin. But a newer technique has entered the world of plastic surgery. It’s called the vertical facelift technique, and more plastic surgeons are adopting it for their patients.

Is one better than the other? How is each performed? We address these questions and more in today’s article.

What Do Facelifts Do?

A facelift is intended to do exactly what it sounds like: it lifts the skin, for a younger facial appearance.

Depending upon the technique, a facelift can help to correct:

  • Sagging skin
  • Lines and wrinkles
  • Areas that have lost fat or volume
  • Marionette” lines by the mouth
  • Too-deep nasolabial folds (lines by the nose)
  • Jowls
  • A loose neck/”turkey neck

Traditional Facelift Technique

With a standard, full facelift, incisions are made along the hairline. This helps to hide any resulting scars.

In a traditional lateral facelift:

  • After you are anesthetized (usually with general anesthesia), the surgeon makes an incision that starts at the temples, continues around the ear and ends at the lower scalp.
  • Fat may be repositioned to sculpt a younger and more esthetically pleasing contour.
  • Underlying tissue is repositioned.
  • Excess skin is excised (cut away).
  • The skin is sutured (stitched) closed.

Vertical Facelift Technique

The vertical facelift technique is slightly different from a traditional facelift. Many of the above steps will be similar, including repositioning tissue and skin. 

However, with a vertical facelift, the incision is made from behind the ear to the back of the hairline. The skin is then lifted more vertically than laterally. Once the tissue and skin are positioned for the most youthful and pleasing appearance, the skin is sutured.

Why Do Patients Choose a Vertical Facelift?

Not all patients do. What type of facelift you have is a discussion to have with your plastic surgeon. He or she can guide you to the ideal cosmetic procedure for your goals.

However, more plastic surgeons are choosing vertical facelifts because they tend to give a more natural and less “windswept” appearance. The skin that has fallen is lifted back up, lending a more believable appearance, particularly to the eyes and the lower face.

If you’re unsure what type of facelift to have, schedule a consultation with your plastic surgeon.

Why Do Patients Choose a Traditional Facelift?

A facelift procedure is a personal decision. Some clients may prefer the look of a laterally-performed facelift. Again, this is something to discuss with your physician so you can be sure you’re getting just the right kind of facelift for you.

Who Is a Good Candidate for a Vertical Facelift?

A good candidate for a vertical facelift:

  • Has lax or wrinkled facial skin and wants to attain a more youthful appearance
  • May have lax skin on the neck
  • Is age 40 or above (though some patients are in their 30s)
  • Is in generally good health
  • Is not a smoker
  • Has realistic expectations from his or her her facelift
  • Can take about two weeks off from work or other duties to remain lightly active, but to rest and recuperate from the procedure

These factors should also be true for a traditional lateral facelift procedure.

Do Men Get Facelifts?

Both men and women have facelift surgery. On average, men seek facelifts later than women do – about age 70 v. a woman’s age of 45-60. However, you do not have to be a certain age to get a facelift. 

Ask your plastic surgeon whether you are a candidate for facelift surgery, or whether a different surgery may be the right choice for your current goals.

What Does a Vertical Facelift Cost?

Because every facelift and every client is different, costs for vertical or traditional facelifts vary. In general, the cost of your vertical facelift will include:

  • Laboratory tests before the surgery
  • The surgeon’s fee
  • Hospital or facility cost
  • Anesthesia
  • Medications
  • Any post-surgery tape or garments
  • Follow-up appointments with your plastic surgeon

Is a Facelift Permanent?

The facelift procedure permanently removes some skin, but the aging process will continue. Most patients are able to enjoy the results of their facelift surgery for years.

Find a Doctor Who Is Experienced With Vertical Facelifts

If you’re interested in learning more about a vertical facelift or traditional facelift, look for a plastic surgeon who is experienced in this area. Ask your plastic surgeon for:

  • His experience with this exact surgery
  • His years in the field of plastic surgery
  • Before and after pictures of actual patients
  • Patient testimonials

A doctor who is experienced with facelifts can put you at ease and will be willing to answer any questions you have. Make sure you choose a physician you trust. Communication is key. Always be honest with your plastic surgeon about your lifestyle, history and goals. This way, you can be assured that your result will be the best it can be.

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