There are several forms of traditional and short-scar facelifts. The major differences between these facelifts are:
1.Length of incision. As its name suggests, short-scar facelifts are performed through a shorter incision than traditional facelifts. The traditional facelift incorporates an incision that starts in the sideburn hair, passes immediately in front of the ear, and then curves behind the ear and into the hairline of the neck. Frequently, there is also a well-concealed incision placed under the chin and jaw to help refine the neck. The short-scar facelift incision starts in the sideburn and passes in front of the ear but does not curve behind it.
2. Addressing the neck and jawline. A short-scar facelift can effectively refine the neck and jawline of patients with mild-to-moderate amount of loose skin. Although every patient is different and factors like genetics, sun exposure, weight fluctuations and smoking also play a role, patients in their 40s and 50s can generally achieve adequate neck refinement with a short-scar facelift. Also, a short-scar facelift can be combined with traditional, SMART™ or VASER® liposuction to refine the neck. However, larger amounts of loose skin are best addressed with a traditional facelift, which remains the gold standard for providing a youthful contour to the neck.
3. Downtime. Although the external scar may be shorter with the short-scar technique, more extensive surgery can be performed in the deeper layers of the face with either technique to achieve the desired effect. So, although the length of the scar differs between these procedures, similar tissues are addressed in the deeper layers of the face for both procedures. As a result, the downtime for both procedures is similar. In general, patients may take 1 to 2 weeks off from work for bruising and a significant proportion of the swelling to resolve. However, it is important to discuss this with your board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss exactly what will be done.
4. Length of surgery. The traditional technique typically takes a longer time (3 to 4 hours) because there are more incisions and this technique is usually chosen when more work needs to be performed to refine the neck. Some versions of the short-scar facelift are less extensive, can be performed in the office with the patient under local anesthesia, and may take less than 1 hour to perform. However, other versions of the short-scar facelift are best performed with the patient under general anesthesia and may take 2-3 hours to perform.