Is there a difference between the results of full scar and short scar face lifting?

Most patients wishing to undergo facial rejuvenation surgery want to obtain a long lasting result. Requests for long lasting minimal access procedures and non-surgical procedures continue to increase. Patients need to be taken through the pros and cons of all the various options. In terms of face lifting, patients need to be shown examples of results that can be achieved by the various facelift incisions.

Recently in New York Dr Antell compared the postoperative results from twins who were treated by different facelift incisions. One set had a short scar facelift and one a full facelift incision.

In the short term the study suggested that no difference existed between the different incisions. However, analysis of the long-term results revealed a significant difference and in particular in the neck. 

It is important for patients to understand that minimal access incisions only allow surgical access to certain anatomical areas and also the subsequent movement of the inner tissues of the face is limited to certain directions through a minimal scar access.

The study concluded that although a shorter incision is appealing to the patient and surgeon, the study suggested that the full incision may offer a superior long-term result in the neck.

Mr Ross uses a similar full-face lift incision as described by Dr Antell. He also believes that the full facelift incision gives better access to the area under the chin (submental area) and allows more movement for the SMAS and the platysma muscle. This is a particularly important in patients with skin laxity in the neck. The full facelift incision also gives more options in elevating the SMAS and lifting the face in a variety of vectors. Every patient requires an individualized technique to obtain the optimal results and a full facelift incision offers more options for patients. 

Patients are often concerned about the extent of the full facelift incision. Patients need to be aware that the only part of the scar that is different between the techniques is the scar that runs behind the ear and into the scalp skin. This scar is rarely visible when placed correctly. Patients also appear concerned about the possible increased recovery required for a full facelift incision. Mr Ross has not seen any increased recovery requirements for patients undergoing a full facelift incision as compared to short scar techniques. Mr Ross does not use surgical drains or dressings and patients undergoing a full facelift can eat and drink and mobilize immediately after surgery.  

Mr Ross is able to perform a range of facial rejuvenation procedures and is able to run through the pros and cons of the various options so that patients can make an informed decision as to whether to proceed. 




Antell DE, May JM, Bonnano MJ, Lee NY.

A Comparison of the Full and Short-Scar Face-Lift Incision Techniques in Multiple Sets of Identical Twins. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2016 Jun;137(6):1707-14. 

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