Surgical vs. Liquid Facelift: Know the Difference

With the economy so tight, a lot of surgeons and patients are focusing on “injectable” facelift procedures as an effective substitute for the traditional approach.

I offer both types of Seattle facelift options from my plastic surgery offices in Washington and Southern Alaska, so I understand the benefits of each. At the same time, though, I have seen an increasing number of misstatements about the purpose of and level of results that can be achieved from injectable treatments. I”d like to take a moment to clarify some of their most important differences.

Which is Which?

“Traditional” or “surgical” facelift uses any of a variety of approaches to facial plastic surgery in Seattle to pull facial skin back into a tightened position, and in the process give a much smoother contour to the mid-face area. Different types of incisions can focus the procedure for different effects. Some approaches also will re-drape some of the facial muscles that shift position most significantly as you age, and/or address slightly loose neck tissue.

“Injectable” or “liquid” facelift can mean a few different things:

  • Injectable fillers like Restylane® and JUVÉDERM® Injectable Gel
  • BOTOX® Cosmetic
  • A combination of either of the above with each other or with another noninvasive procedure, for example lip augmentation or a physician-quality facial

From a qualified Seattle plastic surgery professional, these procedures can have benefits, but that all depends on the type and extent of the wrinkles you have.

  • Static wrinkles form as a result of sun damage, smoking, or other factors that compromise the firmness and elasticity of your skin. They are present even when your face is at rest, and most commonly form a network of fine lines most visible in the delicate areas surrounding the lips and eyes.
  • Dynamic wrinkles result from repeated movements of facial muscles. These are the deep lines you see around your eyes, forehead, and mouth when you smile or frown.

Sometimes, even if you have good-quality skin, you may still appear to have wrinkly or sagging skin texture if weight loss or pregnancy has left you with patchy areas of excess fat, or depleted the fat and firming proteins that normally smooth skin.

Long-Term Effects

While Seattle facelift surgery corrects both static and dynamic wrinkles in the long term, different injectable options tend to focus on one or the other, and have a much shorter timetable.

  • BOTOX corrects dynamic wrinkles, but has a minimal effect on static wrinkles and will require re-treatment in 4 to 6 month intervals.
  • Hyaluronic acid fillers like JUVÉDERM and Restylane are more effective for static wrinkles, partly because they help stimulate firming collagen in the skin. Like BOTOX, these fillers need to be renewed between 6 to 12 months after the initial procedure.
  • Combination treatments can improve the appearance of both kinds of wrinkles, but are all less effective than surgical approaches for excess skin, fatty pockets, or laxity in the facial muscles, and in the long term will not help slow the appearance of further signs of age.

In the end, either surgical or liquid facelift may be effective for your needs and goals, but you have to understand the differences before you sign on for a procedure that may not yield the results you expect.

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