Summary: In most cases, a minimally invasive approach to any procedure is more desirable. However, a less invasive approach to a facelift is highly dependent on the condition of the patient and the patient’s final desired results. In other words, the more wrinkles you have the more likely a full facelift will be the best way to solve your wrinkle problems.
A Less Invasive Approach
In theory, a minimally invasive facelift is going to solve a lot of problems. I can help you recover more quickly and a less invasive procedure can mean you end up saving some money (mostly on anesthesia). If you still get results, then there’s certainly no reason why a less invasive type of facelift would not be the best fit for you.
But it’s important to note that a less invasive facelift is a little less potent than a “full” facelift. To be sure, that isn’t unique to only facelift procedures. In general, the larger the incision that surgeons are able to make, the more change they can affect. That’s true with a breast lift, it’s true with a nose job, and it’s true with a facelift.
The trick is finding the balance between what you need and the amount of recovery that you’d like to go through.
How Can You Find the Best Minimally Invasive Facelift Procedure?
There are some procedures which tout themselves to be a kind of “non surgical facelift.” In most cases, that “non surgical” approach is simply the application of injectable fillers or Botox. While that might get rid of some lines and wrinkles, it’s not the kind of bold, comprehensive change that a facelift can provide.
Most full facelift procedures will eliminate a significant amount of excess skin—meaning lines and wrinkles all across the face are diminished in a dramatic way. You’ll look younger and have smoother skin. A less invasive facelift procedure takes a more targeted approach to this.
Essentially, a less invasive facelift will provide targeted reduction in wrinkles and lines. After all, most people don’t develop wrinkles all across their face equally. They tend to show up in “problem areas” first. A less invasive facelift addresses those problem areas. Because it’s not quite as invasive, this procedure can often be performed with a local anesthetic rather than with general anesthesia.
This can save the patient financially in the long run—and it also makes the procedure a little easier to recover from.
What Are the Functional Differences Between the Two Approaches?
Whether your facelift procedure is more or less invasive will be defined by the scope of the incisions and the depth of the work accomplished. During most full facelift procedures, an incision will be made along the side of the face and behind hairline (in order to hide any scarring as much as possible). Once the incision is made, excess tissue is removed and the remainder of the skin is pulled tight in order to eliminate lines and wrinkles.
Essentially, the incision will go around the front of the ear and back along the jawline. With a less invasive approach, surgeons will create several small incisions rather than one big, long one. These incisions are often placed just in front of the ear or right around the temple. In some cases, the incision are made along the top of the forehead.
In any case, the incisions themselves tend to be quite small—measured at about an inch or so. Even with such small incisions, surgeons can strategically eliminate excess skin and help patients get rid of wrinkles. That said, the larger incision will indeed allow surgeons to perform more work—meaning that if you have a large amount of excess skin, a traditional approach might be better for you.
Why Do Patients Like a Less Invasive Approach
As mentioned above, there are some significant advantages to taking a less invasive and more targeted approach to your facelift procedure. Among those advantages are the following:
- Recovery tends to go more quickly and involve less discomfort
- The end results look slightly more natural
- The end results look a little more subtle—meaning people won’t be as quick to notice you’ve had work done
- Some patients are uncomfortable with the idea of general anesthesia; this procedure offers an alternative
- The incisions involved are substantially smaller than in a typical facelift procedure, so patients see less visible scarring
- Patients can pick and choose (to a degree) which areas of wrinkles they want to target, meaning they can keep areas of wrinkles that they like (if they make you look distinguished or wise, for example)
- Less invasive facelift procedures can give patients a little more control over how they look after the procedure, and some patients definitely like that aspect
- A faster recovery time means that patients can see their results more quickly and be back to work (or fun) more quickly
How Does Less Invasive Stack Up?
One of the primary questions that many people ask is pretty simple: when should you get a more traditional facelift and when should you opt for the less invasive facelift procedure? The procedures are not directly comparable—that is, it’s not as though you can choose one or the other based solely only your own personal preference.
What’s usually a little more appropriate is choosing one or the other based on your desired final results and the current condition of lines and wrinkles on your face. For example, if you have a large degree of excess skin and wrinkles spread over the majority of your face, a traditional facelift procedure will really be your best bet.
On the other hand, if you have only certain areas of wrinkles—especially if those areas are around the brow or other jawline or even around the eyes—then a less invasive approach might be to your benefit. Ultimately, it will probably be up to your plastic surgeon to determine which approach will get you the best results, but your desires when it comes to the recovery will be an important part of those discussions.
The Importance of a Consultation
This is why it’s so important to have a consultation with your plastic surgeon before deciding on a concrete course for your procedure. Your surgeon may see more excess skin and more wrinkles than you do. Conversely, your surgeon may be able to achieve a bit more than you think with a less invasive approach.
It’s also important to time our procedure correctly. The younger you are, the more likely a less invasive approach will be the one that gets you the best results possible. The last thing you want to do is end up with a result that does not look natural or plausible.
If you’re wondering which approach is best for you, schedule that consultation and get your answers directly from a highly qualified plastic surgeon. We can certainly offer various rules of thumb (as we have above), but there’s no substitute for a trusted surgeon’s opinion when deciding whether you should get a less invasive facelift.