Everybody seems to be so busy these days that the desire for a quick result from facial rejuvenation surgery comes as no surprise. I see patients on a weekly basis who express a desire to look better, but aren’t necessarily willing to allow themselves time to recover from the appropriate surgical treatment. While I can do a lot with non-invasive treatments such as BOTOX® and filler injections, skin care, and peels, I am not a magician. If tissue is sagging, there is no magical laser, light, radio frequency, or electrical treatment that can improve things markedly. Nor will skin care and non-invasive treatments alone do the trick. Surgery is the best option to reposition sagging tissue.

Because the large population of baby-boomers is now reaching the age where rejuvenation is desired, marketing cosmetic treatments to them has become a multimillion, if not billion, dollar business. As you read this article, please keep in mind what your mother may have told you: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” For those seeking improvements in their appearance, it is tempting to seek the quickest recovery and the least invasive treatment, but it is more important to seek the correct treatment for the desired goal, one that will provide a long-lasting result.

Many patients have heard of the Lifestyle Lift because of that company’s massive TV, radio, Internet, and print ad campaign. The procedure sounds very appealing with promised one-hour surgeries, one-week recoveries, and fantastic results. This is when a healthy dose of skepticism is in order. This company was founded by ear, nose, and throat and facial plastic surgeons to take advantage of the thousands of people who will sign up for any treatment with big promises and short downtimes. The procedure itself varies greatly, depending where you have the procedure done. The company has over 80 clinics throughout the US, and there is no patented procedure. Doctors who choose to work for the Lifestyle Lift corporation are contract employees of the company and are allowed to use whatever procedure they prefer, as long as it can be done under local anesthesia as an outpatient. Consequently, it is no surprise the results vary, but in general do not provide lasting results.

I have seen a fair number of patients who have consulted with or had surgery by one of the physicians working for the Lifestyle Lift company. Their stories start sound very familiar. These patients tell me they did not meet their doctor prior to the day of their surgery. At their initial consultation, they were asked to watch a video and meet with office personnel who planned and scheduled their surgeries. They met their doctor on the day of surgery. Many describe the procedure as taking longer than anticipated. None of them report an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist was present for the procedure. During their follow-up appointments, many did not see their surgeon or any doctor in some cases. Most importantly, they report they did not obtain a significant result or a result that lasted for more than a few months. That type of disappointment is difficult to swallow.

Obviously, patients who are happy with their outcomes do not come to see me for an opinion after the procedure, so I am sure there are some patients who are content with their outcomes. However, the message boards on the Internet reveal a great deal of discontentment. Additionally, if you look at the very fine print at the bottom of their ads, they disclose that their models had additional procedures to achieve the results depicted.

After operating on patients who have seen me for corrective work following these procedures, I would strongly encourage anyone who is seeking facial surgery to ask which board certified the doctor who will be doing the procedure. If it is not the American Board of Plastic Surgery or American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery, look elsewhere. Ask to meet with your surgeon in consultation prior to scheduling surgery so that all your questions are answered in advance of the day of the procedure. Lastly, remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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