The Surgeon Minute

Clearing up “Facelift Confusion”

Clearing up “Facelift Confusion”

In today’s world of direct plastic surgery marketing, Dr. Lee Thornton, a board certified plastic surgeon says aggressive marketing can be seen in many areas of plastic surgery, including lasers, non-surgical treatments, and also surgical procedures such as facelifts.  Dr. Thornton clears up the confusion in the facelift marketing world and tells us what to watch out for if you’re considering a facelift.

By Lee Thornton, MD life's beauty decisions

Traditionally, patients choose their surgeon based on their training, reputation and recommendations from trusted friends or acquaintances. Now, there are aggressive marketing campaigns for many “branded procedures”. You must realize that no surgical procedure can be patented and in the case of these new marketing plans for facelifts, many are not actually facelifts at all in the way they have been defined for decades. In most cases board certified plastic surgeons are not performing these procedures, and in some cases they are performed by surgeons who have not had sufficient training to perform them.  Their training often occurs over a weekend or even one day.

What’s Wrong with Facelift Marketing?

First, the procedure being marketed is often a simplified version of a facelift, if a facelift at all, which is not sufficient to address the majority of patients’ issues of aging. Once they have lured you in, they begin to “up-sell” you on additional procedures. This is where it begins to get really scary. The proper evaluation of the aging face and ability to match procedures to a patient’s desires is truly an art. It requires years of training and years of experience to get consistently good results. featuredclarkThe ability to technically perform these procedures also requires years of training, scrutiny and expert guidance in order to safely and consistently achieve good results. While there are exceptions to everything,  these heavily marketed procedures don’t always have competent fully trained surgeons at the helm. Many times, when they advertise “board certified”, the certification is not actually in plastic surgery at all but some other specialty. The traditional ways for choosing the right surgeon to properly evaluate and execute procedures to correct aging of the face is and always will be, the best way.


Steps to Finding a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

  • Make sure your Plastic Surgeon is board certified in plastic surgery and not some other unrelated field of medicine.
  • Evaluate their training and reputation and seek out patients of this surgeon for personal references.
  • Next have a consultation, in person, with one or more board certified plastic surgeons to see how well you feel their evaluation and recommendations fit your goals.
  • If you would like, ask them to explain these “branded procedures” that you see all over the media, and how their procedures differ.  A board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in treatment of facial aging can and will easily do these things for you.

My final message is to remember that many accepted facelift techniques exist and top board certified surgeons may use different techniques on patients to get consistently superb and natural results. The surgeon will tailor the procedures to your individual needs. There is no “one size fits all” facelift.  Without question, your choice of surgeon is much more important than being led by marketing hype towards a particular procedure and an inadequately trained surgeon.  Reviewing the wealth of information here on The Plastic Surgery Channel will be a great place to start.

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