Almost everyone, at some point in the aging process, begins to be bothered by skin that starts to sag. This extra skin is most noticeable below the cheeks, underneath the chin and down into the neck. While many technologies have emerged recently that hope to improve this part of the aging process, none compare to the traditional face and neck lift. Unfortunately, between work and family responsibilities it can be difficult to find the time to recover from facial plastic surgery and many just learn “to deal with it”. Recognizing this paradigm, Dr. Bitner, together with his fellowship director, Dr. Rousso, have pioneered changes to the traditional cheek and neck lift that dramatically decreases the recovery time. Although this new technique is called the Rapid-Recovery Mini-Lift, the results are anything but “Mini”. Using gentle liposuction technology for undermining instead of the tradition scissor dissection, shorter incisions and SMAS imbrication instead of plication, the Rapid Recovery Mini-Lift produces beautiful and dramatic results while minimizing the recovery time. The incisions are well disguised around the ear and sutures used are dissolvable. If you can sacrifice a week you can have results that will last a lifetime.
The Rapid-Recovery Mini-Lift
The Rapid-Recovery Mini-Lift differs from the traditional lift in that the amount of skin dissection and undermining is dramatically less than that used for other types of facelifts. The spatulated liposuction cannula is used with the suction turned off for the majority of the undermining. This allows for gentle elevation of the tissue without scissor dissection. Conservative liposuction with the suction turned on can also be done during the procedure if deemed necessary. The total amount of skin elevation is limited to a short segment in front of the ears and this skin is usually removed during the lift. With a limited skin dissection and elevation, the bruising and swelling after surgery is kept to a minimum.
The portion of the procedure that provides the greatest effect and longevity to any lift involves tightening of the SMAS layer. See the BROWLIFT, NECKLIFT page for a discussion about the SMAS. Many different ways to address the SMAS have been described. These include both imbrication (removing a strip of SMAS, then lifting and advancing the cut portion up and back) and plication (using a stitch to simply grab the SMAS and loop it and tie it up in a higher position). Described examples of plication techniques includes the MACS lift, the Swiftlift and the Lifestyle Lift. The major disadvantage of SMAS plication is that no SMAS is removed. The technique depends on one or two sutures to bunch the SMAS up and hold it in position. If the suture ever fails or comes untied, the lift will fall and the surgery will be useless. Further, because no SMAS is removed, the tissue bunches in front of the ear. While the fullness and bunching will eventually settle down, this takes time, dragging out the recovery process. Conversely, during SMAS imbrication, the excess SMAS is removed, preventing bunching. There are at least 10 sutures used to not only individualize the SMAS advancement for the patients unique anatomy, but provide added strength. Since the SMAS is elevated and advanced, even if the suture fails, the SMAS will heal down and hold position indefinitely. Finally, the amount of SMAS elevation during imbrication can vary including short flap, long flap, deep plane, tri-plane, subperiosteal and composite flap techniques. .
What is the Rapid Recovery Mini-Lift
The Rapid Recovery Mini-Lift uses a short-flap SMAS imbrication technique. The advantage of this includes the control and individualization one gets with imbrication without bunching of the SMAS. The short-flap SMAS keeps the facial nerve safe and protected and causes less swelling and bruising than longer and deeper elevation techniques.
The incision used for the Rapid Recovery Mini-Lift
The incision used for the Rapid Recovery Mini-Lift are unique. Incisions used in other facelift techniques start in the front of the side burn and temporal hair. The incision then comes down in front of the ear in one of the creases and down below the ear lobe. Behind the ear there are numerous patterns described. While these incisions will usually fade, they may take many weeks to become less noticable. The incision used in the Rapid Recovery Mini-Lift are designed to not only be unnoticable as the scar heals and fades, but are very difficult to see even shortly after surgery. Therefore, you don’t need to wait months before you can go out and can often wear your hair up shortly after surgery. The incision starts in the hair of the temple, comes down in the groove where the ear joins the face, goes back behind the notch of cartilage (tragus) and goes down through where the earlobe joins the face. The incision then goes up behind the ear in the crease where the back of the ear joins the head. There is no incision made into the posterior hair. Because the incisions are either behind the hairline or in natural creases, the healing time is dramatically decreased.
Are you a candidate for surgery? Schedule a Consultation with Dr. John Bitner
There are certain limitations to the Mini-Lift and only Dr. Bitner can decide if you are a candidate. Those who are not candidates for the Mini-Lift are often candidates for the more traditional full-lift. Feel free to email Dr. Bitner with any questions about the Rapid Recovery Mini-Lift. You can even email photos for an online consultation. The best way to know is to schedule an appointment to come and meet Dr. Bitner and his staff. They will be happy to discuss all the options available. You may be only one week away from a new, refreshed and rejuvenated YOU!