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Health Talk - Anthony Sparano, M.D.
Sparano Face and Nasal Institute
3350 State Route 138
Building 1, Suite 118
Wall, NJ 07719
(732) 280-FACE (3223)
It seems there are many different kinds of facelifts these days. How does a patient interested in facial rejuvenation determine the differences?
It is true the terminology associated with different facelift techniques can seem expansive and even intimidating. Generally, however, there are two basic categories of facelifts – miniature procedures and more traditional facelifts. Within each category are techniques that have nuances and thus, different names. I believe, though, the ultimate outcome is more dependent on the surgeon’s execution of any given technique then the subtle differences between certain techniques.
Miniature facelifts are ideal for patients with early signs of lower facial aging. The outcomes are great and the procedure has a short recovery. They can be performed under local anesthesia with light sedation. More traditional facelift techniques can offer a more profound improvement at the lower face and neck regions. Results are quite impressive. These often require an additional week of downtime and deeper anesthesia.
Patients have become great at researching their procedures and choosing their consulting surgeons. They usually come to a consultation prepared with directed questions and a focused agenda. The easiest and best way to bypass some of the confusion around surgery for the aging face is to have a pleasant, careful conversation about it in a private consultation.
So has the facelift changed over the last few decades?
In some ways it definitely has, but certain fundamental concepts remain exactly the same. Techniques that yield a “pulled” look at the mid-face and eyes offer unacceptable distortion. We’ve learned that optimal restoration of volume to the mid-face recreates youthful contour. We accomplish this by subtle vertical cheek lifts or fat transfer techniques (i.e., isolating viable fat cells from the belly or thighs and injecting them along precise contours of the face). Similarly, we perform brow and forehead lifting more sparingly, and often through tiny incisions hidden in the scalp.
Addressing the tissue beneath the skin along the lower half of the face and neck, to create a more youthful jawline and neck, remains the substrate of facelift surgery. Surgeons who enjoy and excel in facelift techniques take pride in recreating a more refreshed appearance, with absolutely no distortion. After surgery, patients look like fresher, natural versions of themselves. I personally believe with our combined techniques and artistic sensibility, we are getting better results nowadays.
I understand you perform a lot of skin cancer reconstruction of the face. Does this work help you as a facelift surgeon?
I can say these two aspects of facial surgery may influence one another, but overall they’re quite different. Some of my prior mentors are still considered true masters of skin cancer reconstruction of the face, and deep plane facelifting – so the associations became sort of ingrained in me. Skin cancer reconstruction is something I regard as a privilege to perform. It’s a special experience to help patients work through the difficult and intimidating circumstances associated with cancer defects of the face. Performing both types of surgery at a great frequency is like anything else – the more you do it, the better you are able to appreciate certain subtleties and complexities. Repairing challenging facial defects, especially of the nose, are of the most difficult but rewarding facial surgeries to perform.
What are some trends you’re seeing in facial rejuvenation procedures?
As mentioned earlier, restoring volume to areas of the face that lose it over time has become true surgical artistry. I’m excited about fat transfer techniques and the evolving science of longer-lasting natural-agent injectable fillers. Combining smaller surgical operations with volume restoration and skin resurfacing has produced great outcomes.
We now look at the form and volume of the lower eyelids (and region around the eyes in general), differently than we used to. It has changed how we perform our lower eyelid procedures, and our results are better. Now we reposition volume of the lower eyelids and sometimes add it.
Skin science has become a priority for facial surgeons and patients. We currently have such refined and excellent technology and combined treatment pathways, which together allow us to accomplish healthy and beautiful changes.
The Sparano Face and Nasal Institute was founded by Anthony Sparano, M.D., a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Dr. Sparano completed his training at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Michigan, has authored over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and has taught several courses around the country. Dr. Sparano has made a commitment to excellence during all stages of his professional career, and today practices with the highest standard of care.
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