Plastic surgeons have been doing facelift surgery for more than 70 years. The procedure began by removing a small strip of skin from in front of the ears thereby tightening the skin of the cheeks when the wound is closed. Patients and surgeons wanted more tightening and longer results, so the plastic surgeons began lifting the skin off the cheeks so that more skin could be advanced and removed. So the evolution began, lifting the skin off the cheeks and the neck, working on the underlying muscles, doing delicate dissection around the small nerves of the face and even dissecting down to bone to attempt to create the maximum lift. The latest thing now is fat grafting to fill in defects not corrected by the lift or even created by the lift. We have all seen on TV the results of this attempt to create perfection, Melanie Griffith, Bruce Jenner, Kim Novack and Joan Rivers to mention a few. In an attempt to create perfection we may have gone too far. The procedure now is very invasive and dangerous. Six or more hours of surgery is common requiring a general anesthetic. The recovery is not pleasant requiring bandages, drains, pain medication and limited mobility for weeks. Considerable swelling a bruising is the norm. The icing on the cake, of course, is the price. Because the procedure requires a general anesthetic and the use of an operating room for an entire day these must be added to the cost. Charges of $15,000 to $20,000 are not uncommon. For all of these reasons I realized It was time to re think this problem, so two years ago I decided to regroup.
In 2012 I began doing what I now call the Miracle Lift. It is a miracle because patients can hardly believe that they can get their desired result with a one to two hour procedure done easily with a local anesthetic and essentially no recovery time. I have done this procedure in an exam room, but I now use an operating room due to patient positioning. 50 percent of patients will take a Valium pill prior to the procedure while the other half choose to take nothing. A local anesthetic is injected into the surgical site in front of and behind the ear. This is minimally uncomfortable and very well tolerated. Once this is completed the procedure is completely painless. Because this surgery is minimally invasive there is almost no swelling or bruising. Patients are frequently out and about the day after surgery. The results are instantaneous and do not require healing time or waiting for swelling to subside. Stitches in front of and behind the ear are removed one week after surgery. There are no bandages and no drains. I do ask patients not to do heavy exercise for one week after surgery as a precaution. They may resume all medications including aspirin immediately after surgery.
I have done many of these procedures during the last two years and the patients are universally happy. The biggest negative when compared to a traditional facelift is that the results won’t last as long. With this procedure the results should last three to five years. If that is a concern the patient can simply have another procedure. They would have to repeat more than five times to match the cost of a traditional facelift.
The resulting appearance is actually better than the traditional face lift because you don’t get the facelift deformities (again refer to the tv). Patients who have a Miracle Lift end up looking great, not like some one who has had a face lift.
In summary, this procedure is less than one fifth the cost of a traditional face lift, has immediate results, takes about one to two hours to perform, requires no bandages or drains, requires no recovery time, has little to no swelling and bruising, has almost no chance of complications from surgery,and gives a better result than a traditional lift. I think it’s time to ditch the standard face lift and switch to the Miracle Lift.
Theodore R. Corwin, MD
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery