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News & Features Nonsurgical facelift panel discussion

Panel Explores Nonsurgical Facelifts

Aesthetic plastic surgeons debate nonsurgical facelifts, approaches to facial aging

American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
March 17, 2015

Aesthetic plastic surgeons conducted a panel discussion at The Aesthetic Meeting 2015, the annual meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), to determine whether a nonsurgical facelift is a legitimate cosmetic procedure. Surgeons discussed what constitutes a nonsurgical facelift and how it impacts the care aesthetic plastic surgeons can provide to address facial aging.

"The key is to define what a facelift is intended to accomplish," said ASAPS member Dr. Barry DiBernardo. " A facelift should address wrinkled and sun damaged skin, loss of volume, fat under the chin and laxity of facial muscles. The difference between a surgical and a nonsurgical facelift lies in what tools are necessary to achieve the desired result — scalpel or injectables and light or energy-based tools — but both can accomplish the desired effect to different degrees."

There is a paradigm shift occurring in how aesthetic plastic surgeons address facial aging, combining skincare products and minimally-invasive procedures with a potential face and/or neck lift surgery over the course of a patient's lifetime, depending on their individual needs.

"While I don't personally believe that there is such a thing as a nonsurgical facelift, I do believe that we can effectively treat the signs of aging using the new wealth of nonsurgical tools at our disposal to potentially stave off a facelift for a while," said panel moderator Laurie Casas, M.D. "Facial aging is not dependent on a patient's age exclusively, but rather on the quality of their skin (tone, texture, color and thickness) as well as muscle tone, subcutaneous thickness, weight fluctuations and, of course, genetics. We are now able to treat facial aging longitudinally by protecting, preventing and treating the key signs."

"A nonsurgical approach to facial rejuvenation is not for every candidate," Dr. DiBernado noted. "If a patient has excess skin hanging low, a machine won't tighten it to produce the desired effect. At this point, they are good candidates for a surgical procedure and should consult a board-certified plastic surgeon."

"Board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeons are the genesis of facial aging solutions because they have the training and experience to provide patients with comprehensive care ranging from skincare products and minimally-invasive techniques to surgical procedures with natural-looking results," said Dr. Casas. "They have a comprehensive understanding of anatomy, skin composition and musculature and can therefore create a targeted long-term plan to prevent and/or address facial aging as needed."

The panel of aesthetic plastic surgeons agreed that the best approach to addressing facial aging is to establish a long-term maintenance plan which involves applying skincare products such as sunblock, retinoids and injectables, including Botulinum Toxin, as wrinkles begin to form, light energy-based products to tighten the skin around the jowl and neck area, and fillers to restore volume in the face. A timely surgical procedure such as a facelift and neck lift should be considered when the less invasive tools aren't producing or can't produce the desired result.

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