Facelifts have long been the go-to solution for those seeking a more youthful appearance. But with a hefty price tag and invasive surgery, many prospective patients are turning to alternative options. Read on as we delve into three popular alternatives at a cost that is substantially lower than the cost of a traditional facelift, and also offer the allure of a more youthful visage without the need for major surgery.

1. Volume Replacement

Volume replacement has emerged as a compelling alternative to facelifts, addressing the loss of volume in the face that often accompanies aging. Over time, as a part of the normal aging process, everyone loses some amount of fat in their faces. As fat volumes decrease, the face starts to appear gaunt, and the cheeks appear saggy. As a result of loss of volume in the cheeks, the skin of the face might sag even further, forming jowls. One solution to this is to put volume back into the cheeks using fillers or fat injections.

Restoring the contour of the cheeks with filler or fat grafting can very frequently combat sagging of skin and formation of jowls in early stages of facial aging. However, volume replacement isn’t a broad sweeping solution. Fat grafting and fillers can only reduce sagging up to a certain point. Continuous addition of volume to the face would result in unnatural changes in facial contour and change the character of one’s face.

2. Thread Lifts

If you’d like loose facial skin lifted and tightened but you aren’t sure if you’re ready for a facelift, thread lifts present another avenue for a revitalized appearance. For this procedure small incisions are typically made in the temple and special wires or threads are then inserted under the skin. These wires are designed to lift the jowls and elevating sagging facial facial skin by catching the tissue with small hooks or special cones. Typically, three or four wires are used to elevate the sagging face achieving a uniform and balanced look. With proper patient selection the results of this kind of lift when properly done could be quite impressive. 

Of course, like any medical procedure, there are some downsides to a thread lift. This procedure is most beneficial for a very specific subset of patients. For most patients of older demographics with heavier jowls and significant skin laxity, elevating all the extra skin with treads without removing the excess skin would cause unsightly wrinkles and skin folds near the temple. Another drawback of this procedure is its limited longevity. The results are lasting only up to a year according to the company that developed the threads. However, many patients believe that they see the change lasting not much longer than a couple of month.

These drawbacks significantly limit the use of thread lifts. Here at Dr. Konstantin’s practice we recommend a thread lift to those who need to look their best for a short period of time (such as attending a wedding or reunion) and do not mind the sagging to return shortly thereafter.

3. Energy Tightening

Lastly, there’s a procedure called energy tightening, which delivers varying kinds of energy deep under the skin. This intervention stimulating collagen production which tightens up the skin. Energy tightening devices use different types of energy depending on the specific machine used. Thermage uses thermal (heat) energy, Ultera is an ultrasound energy device, and Kim Kardashian’s favorite, Morpheus is a radiofrequency device.

While energy tightening could be the right procedure for those looking to tighten their skin without resorting to surgical intervention, these treatments can only tighten the skin up to a certain point. This means that patients with more prominent facial sagging may not have all the laxity removed and as a result not be fully satisfied with the outcome.

The Verdict: Facelift Alternatives to You

Ultimately, the quest for facial rejuvenation leads to a more traditional procedures such as facelift. However, there are some other options available for those who are not quite ready for surgical intervention. And even thought these options are far from perfect and the results are typically limited it still could be considered prior to booking your facelift consultation. When determining the most suitable non-surgical option, a physician will examine a patients’ individual goals and needs and recommend a solution. Volume replacement is ideal for addressing volume loss or facial aging, while thread lifts offer a temporary solution for those seeking immediate results. Energy tightening may suffice for individuals content with modest improvements, helping them to avoid a bigger surgery like a facelift. However, consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon specializing in facelifts is necessary to make an informed decision about your facelift alternative.

If you’re interested in learning more about facelift or facial rejuvenation procedures, we would be happy to see you for a consultation. Please contact our Manhattan-based practice to schedule your appointment with New York’s top facial plastic surgeon and facelift expert, Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD.

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