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Short-scar facelifts plastic surgery
To get answers to the most frequent questions about short-scar
facelift cosmetic surgery, please select one of the links below:
If you’re considering a facelift....
There are many alternative techniques to reposition and tighten
the skin and soft tissue structures of the face. One of the most
significant recent developments in facial aesthetic surgery is
the ability to limit the scarring that accompanies rejuvenation.
These procedures are known by various names such as the "short-scar
facelift," the "minimal incision facelift," the "S-lift," and the "Macs-lift."
Unfortunately, no aesthetic procedure can stop the aging process.
What facelifts can do is to "turn back the clock" by
improving the facial descent and deflation that occurs over time.
Facelifts can be done alone or, more commonly, in combination
with other facial aesthetic procedures. Dr. O'Connell frequently
performs rejuvenation of the eyelids and limited laser resurfacing
in combination with facelifting procedures and his article entitled "REfinements of Minimal Incision Rhytidectomy" was published in the European Journal of Plastic Surgery in 2003.
If you’re considering facial rejuvenation, this section
will help provide a basic understanding of what a short-scar lift
can and cannot achieve. Because facial aging affects each individual
patient differently no amount of written information can replace
a personal consultation with Dr. O'Connell. Most of our patients
who are considering a facelift have two lengthy preoperative visits
because of the numerous options that need be considered, the
large amount of information that must be conveyed and the shared decision
making that must precede a facelift.
The following information is strictly the opinion of Dr.
O'Connell and pertains to the short-scar facelift and other facial
rejuvenation procedures as performed by him.
What is a short-scar facelift?
A short-scar facelift (or "minimal-incision facelift")
is a lift that repositions the skin and soft tissues of the face
that have been affected by the aging process. The principle difference
between a short-scar lift and other, "traditional"
facelifts is that the short-scar lift features a significantly
reduced scar burden. The scarring in the crease behind the ear
and in the hairline behind the ear is largely or completely eliminated.
The procedure as performed by Dr. O'Connell is a multi-layer,
multi-vector lift where the internal soft tissue structures (the
so-called "SMAS" layer and malar fat pad) are adjusted
separately from the overlying skin.
- View photos of a short-scar
facelift - Patient #1
- View photos of a short-scar
facelift - Patient #2
- View photos of a short-scar
facelift - Patient #3
- View photos of a short-scar
facelift - Patient #4
- View photos of a short-scar facelift - Patient #5
- View photos of a short-scar facelift - Patient #6
- View photos of a short-scar facelift - Patient #7
- View photos of a short-scar facelift - Patient #8
Why is it important to eliminate or minimize
the scarring behind the ear?
Of the scarring associated with a facelift, often the scar in
the crease behind the ear is the most objectionable to the patient.
This is because scarring in this area has a higher tendency to
widen and thicken compared to the scarring in other areas of the
When scars are placed in the hair behind the ear, there is almost
always a permanent change in the hairline and the hair must be
styled to provide camouflage for this area.
Finally, when a patient wears her hair in a pony-tail, french
twist or styles it backward or "up" scarring in
the crease behind the ear and in the area between the crease and
the hairline can be quite visible – and the patient
doesn't realize that others are noticing it.
By minimizing or eliminating the scarring in these areas, the most objectionable
scarring of a facelift is reduced or eliminated.
Where are the incisions for a short-scar facelift?
The incisions (and ultimately the scars) for a short-scar lift
begin in the temporal hair and extend downward, in front of the
ear to the earlobe. Sometimes the incision can extend behind the
earlobe or slightly behind the ear.
The choice of placing the scar in the crease just in front of
the ear or within the ear itself is determined by individual patient
An alternative incision is to place the incision along the temporal
hairline, rather than within the temporal hair. In order to minimize
the incision at the earlobe area and minimize distortion of the
sideburn Dr. O'Connell sometimes also makes a horizontal "dart"
incision just below the sideburn.
The typical incision for a short-scar lift eliminates
scarring behind the ear and allows the patient to style
her hair upward or in a pony-tail.
alternative incision for the short-scar lift places the
incision along the temporal hairline.
With a traditional facelift incisions extend upward in
the crease behind the ear, then cross the hairless area
and extend into, or in front of, the hair. This can produce
notching or distortion of the hairline.
Who are the best candidates for short-scar
The short-scar lift is most applicable to patients in
whom correction of mid-facial aging is the primary concern. While
such patients are usually under the age of 60, Dr. O'Connell has
performed short-scar lifts in patients substantially older than
this in certain circumstances.
Like traditional lifts, the short-scar procedure is designed
to lift the cheek, reduce the jowel, shorten the lower eyelid
and soften the nasolabial fold. By restoring a more sinuous facial
curve the tired, "gaunt" look of age is ameliorated
as the more square aged face is shaped toward the more triangular
shaped face of youth.
It's important for patients to understand that the short-scar
lift is more limited in its ability to provide correction of loose
and sagging skin and soft tissue in the neck in comparison to
more traditional lifts. This is the principle disadvantage
of the short-scar lift.
What type of anesthesia is used?
Dr. O'Connell performs most facial rejuvenation procedures, including
short-scar lifts, under local anesthesia combined with monitored
anesthesia care. Some patients refer to this as "twilight"
type anesthesia. Gentle, short-acting medication is administered
by an anesthesia professional to insure comfort for our patients.
While general anesthesia is used in rare circumstances, Dr. O'Connell
believes that patients recover more quickly and that the risk
of bleeding is lower than when general anesthesia is used.
Where will your short-scar facelift
Dr. O'Connell performs most facial rejuvenation procedures in
our office surgical facility that has been accredited by the American
Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities and licensed by the State of Connecticut.
For older patients or those with pre-existing medical conditions
the procedure is usually performed as an outpatient at a local
How long is the recovery period?
Some surgeons believe that the recovery period, including bruising
and swelling, is shorter for short-scar lifts compared to more
traditional lifts, however this has not been proven. Dr. O'Connell
understands the need for our patients to return to their business
and social schedules after about one week.
In 2003 Dr. O'Connell performed a short-scar lift that was broadcast
on television – this patient returned to work on the sixth
day following her surgery.
How do I prepare for my short-scar
Because facial rejuvenation must be individualized for each patient,
Dr. O'Connell will evaluate your face, including your skin, and
with your assistance, make recommendations as to the specific
procedures that will most likely help you achieve your aesthetic
goals. A detailed history of medical conditions that could affect
your surgery will be obtained including use of medications, vitamins,
You will be given detailed written instructions on how to prepare
for your surgery including guidelines on eating and drinking,
smoking, and avoidance of certain vitamins and medications. If
you smoke it’s especially important to stop (and also to
avoid second-hand smoke) for at least six weeks prior to surgery
because of the deleterious effect of smoking upon the healing
Are there any risks?
When a short-scar lift is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon
certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, complications
are infrequent and usually minor.
While Dr. O'Connell makes every effort to minimize risk, individuals
vary greatly in their anatomy, their healing ability as well as
in their reactions to surgery and anesthesia. Complications that
may occur include hematoma (a collection of blood beneath the
skin), infection, injury to the nerves that control the facial
muscles, poor healing, reactions to anesthesia and other medications.
Other complications can occur as well and it’s important
to discuss these during your personal consultation with Dr. O'Connell.
You can reduce your risks by closely following the advice of your
surgeon concerning your pre- and post-operative care.
A careful consideration of all risks, alternatives and potential benefits is an important part of the pre-operative consultative process.
To contact Connecticut plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph B. O'Connell about any cosmetic surgery procedures, please fill out
our contact form or call us at (203)
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