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    Many faces of the facelift

    58-year-old female patient shown before and four weeks after AuraLyft, brow lift and eyelid lift. Photos courtesy Ben Talei, M.D.The facelift remains a favorite procedure among surgeons and cosmetic patients. It ranks fifth among cosmetic surgical procedures as reported by the latest statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. And consumers have awarded the facelift with an impressive 95% Worth It rating on RealSelf.com.

    But not all facelifts are the same. We talked with two surgeons who say they have honed the procedure to better address patient needs. One performs an extended deep plane face and neck lift; the other an endoscopic-assisted mid-facelift and neck lift.

    Extended Deep Plane: The AuraLyft

    Beverly Hills, Calif., facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Ben Talei, M.D., says "AuraLyft" is the catchy name he gave his approach to the face and neck lift.

    “Technically, it is a vertical vector modified extended deep plane face and neck lift,” Dr. Talei says. “Amongst deep plane procedures, this is the most extensive that exists to my knowledge. Extensive doesn't mean it takes longer to do the surgery. It doesn't mean that it's more traumatic. All it means is that a greater release is done in order to alleviate all the tension that usually exists in a face and neck during and after facelifting procedures.”

    Dr. Talei’s approach evolved to address face and neck lifting failures. In his opinion, the biggest facelift pitfall is that most facelifts done worldwide are lower facelifts, which affect only the jawline and neck. To address the midface, surgeons might add fat injections to volumize the face or do a separate midface lift through a different incisions. That’s too many variables, which increase the risk of irregular or abnormal outcomes, he says.

    “It also increases the chances of failure,” Dr. Talei says. “Although most facelifts are touted to last eight to ten years, the majority of the results realistically fail after one to three years. There are a select group of surgeons who do more advanced SMAS [superficial musculoaponeurotic system] manipulating techniques and deep plane procedures who can get a more significant and durable result.”

    The AuraLyft addresses a wide age range of facial and neck aging concerns, without exposing patients to so much uncertainty, according to Dr. Talei.

    “It's especially impressive for patients in their late 30s to 50s,” he says.

    Dr. Talei admits that’s counterintuitive, but insists younger patients with dense skin actually need more release to get a natural and noticeable improvement. Yet, surgeons often advise different types of mini lifts for these patients because they’re afraid to make younger patients look strange or awkward.  

    “Although they are well-intentioned, the real result is that the patient doesn't get much of a change other than some nice scars to look at,” Dr. Talei says. “Younger patients… typically need a more release-based technique; not one that relies on pulling and stretching.”

    While the classic term "rhytidectomy" describes the procedure’s removal of wrinkles, Dr. Talei says the AuraLyft does more by releasing, repositioning and lifting all the tissues in the neck and face, which have dropped over time. The result, he says, is a more natural and more impressive change under eyes, around the nasolabial folds, cheeks, jawline, neck, chin and upper chest.

    The best candidates for the AuraLyft are any patients who pull their facial skin upwards and say, "I want this," Dr. Talei says.

    “The amazing thing about the amount of lift achieved is that it can help younger patients with droopy cheeks, patients with acne, as well as older patients with saggy necks and heavy marionette lines and nasolabial folds,” he says. “Beyond all of this, it is also the most impressive and natural lift I've seen in men! Just like younger women, men have heavier and denser tissues that require more significant release.”

    NEXT: The AuraLyft How-To

    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has written about health care, the science and business of medicine, fitness and wellness ...

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