“Doctor, how long will my surgery take ?”
Before surgery, most ask how long the procedure will last? Behind the question lie mixed emotions. Although the anesthesiologist and I are trusted, you relinquish all control over your face, your body, and your life during a procedure under general anesthesia. Your trust in us is total and complete.
So how safe is general anesthesia? Is a short procedure safer? Given the choice between a shorter face lift or “mini” lift and a longer face lift, should you be afraid of a longer surgery? The answer is, NO, you should NOT be afraid of a longer face lift, YOU SHOULD WANT IT. General anesthesia is VERY SAFE, and longer procedures offer the best, safest, and longest lasting result, generating true value for many years afterward. Consider an analogy: If you hire painters for the exterior of your house and the job lasts six hours vs. twelve or twenty four hours, assuming the same number of workers, the results would be significantly different. Looking in all of the corners, the window panes, around the foundation and gutters, the shorter job will have skipped and missed areas. The coat will not be as thick or durable. Quality always takes time and effort, and higher quality takes more time and effort.
Similarly, not all face lifts are created equal. Our ability to correct aging features has advanced dramatically in recent years. Contemporary face lift offers more natural and beautiful results than ever before. Details of anatomy and technique that improve your result demand from your surgeon extra knowledge, more time to execute successfully, and greater attention to detail. Face lift procedure time is longer, but your result is improved and your procedure is safer. Better outcomes require longer procedures. Advances in anesthesia have allowed this progress without increasing risk or compromising your safety.
If your surgeon plans a “quick lift,” a “lunchtime lift,” a “mini-lift,” or other abbreviated version, you will likely see improvement, but how much will this be and how long will it last compared to the longer version? The answer to this question varies, but in general, you are losing value with the “abridged” or “condensed” version. Often marketed as “new and improved,” quick lift is actually the 1960’s model: cut & pull. Minimal surgery means minimal results. Longer lasting, modern face lift incorporates many advances. Today’s face lift is not just an operation, it is a masterful work of art individualized to reverse aging features by re-positioning sagging tissues into their youthful location and by securing them for a long lasting correction. During the operation, localization of important structures like nerves, vessels, and ligaments adds time, but improves safety of your procedure by preventing complications.
Quick surgery shows in the quality and durability of the result. Quick surgery glosses over details. The surgeon who performs “quick” or “mini” surgery is focused on time and likely on business, NOT on YOU and YOUR RESULT. Quick surgery is never as thorough, careful, or comprehensive as state-of-the-art. If you’re only planning one face lift, for your own sake, DON’T make it a quick one!