The string or the knife: Lunchtime facelifts versus traditional lifts

Consider this when you opt for convenience.

Think of these as facelifts for the drive-through generation. The procedures typically cost less than traditional facelifts, and you're in and out in no time flat. But do you get what you pay for? Before you drop a lot of lunch money to lift your visage, heed the age-old adage "buyer beware."

The string or the knife: Lunchtime facelifts versus traditional lifts

Lunchtime lifts may not hold in comparison to traditional lifts.

According to  one practicing surgeon, lunchtime lifts just don't "hold up" as well in the long term. The results are not the same and can be unpredictable.

Convenience does not promise quality results.

Getting your face lifted, plumped or otherwise reshaped used to require general anesthesia, sizable incisions and at least an overnight hospital stay, not to mention a week or two away from the world to recover.

Now you can walk into a treatment centre on your lunch break and come out an hour later looking years younger.

How they work

"Thread lifts" use barbed sutures to lift the sagging areas of the brows, midface and neck. After making very small incisions, the surgeon inserts a needle threaded with sutures under the skin. The barbs on one end of each thread open up like an umbrella and lift sagging skin, while the teeth on the other end anchor skin to the rest of the facial tissue — and voilà, you have younger-looking cheeks, jowls, neck and forehead.

The upside of lunchtime lifts involves risks too.

  • The procedure requires only local anesthetic and little recovery time. Some experts warn against choosing the needle over the knife, however. "Using strings to lift faces and necks works on puppets, not on humans," says Robert Kotler, MD, author of Secrets of a Beverly Hills Cosmetic Surgeon.
  • "These procedures have a low incidence of complications — after all, there's no cutting or general anesthesia involved — but they also have a very short lifespan. "While traditional facelifts last 10 to 15 years, thread lifts are good for somewhere around two to four years. The results are subtler (less impressive). In some cases, "thread migration" may cause an uneven appearance, and threads may even be visible through the skin.

Doctors who believe in these facelifts recommend them mainly for younger patients with minimal facial sagging. So consider your desired goals when considering your options and always seek more than one professional opinion.

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