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The History Of Face Lifts



Rhytidectomy – more commonly referred to as a facelift – is the process of removing any excess skin, with or without the tightening of facial tissues in order to create a more youthful appearance. With almost 5,000 facelift procedures carried out in the UK last year, it was the fourth most popular cosmetic surgery procedure to be undergone by both men and women in 2011, but where did the facelift trend begin?

The Cutaneous Period (1900 – 1970)

First implemented in Berlin in 1901, facelifts were performed by simply pulling on facial tissue and trimming any loose skin. With the first book on facial cosmetic surgery entitled The Correction of Featural Imperfections being published in 1907, and one of the first papers on face-lifting being published in 1919, facelifts became increasingly popular and this method of face-lifting was performed until 1970.

The Superficial Musculo Aponeurotic Period (1968 – 1980)

Moving away from simply relying on skin tension in order to achieve a facelift, Tord Skoog developed a concept, implemented in 1968, whereby sub-facial dissection was introduced as a way to provide suspension of the stronger, deeper layer of facial tissue – a concept which quickly emerged and became the standard face-lifting technique of the period. After the technique was published in 1974, this method of face-lifting was referred to as the Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System or SMAS.

The Deep Plane Period (1979 – 1991)

In 1979, face-lifting saw further advances which included the process of the superior orbital rims being undermined to allow the elevation of the soft, facial tissue and eyebrows – therefore creating more significant results than those previously achieved by earlier face-lifting methods.

The Volumetric Period (1991 – today)

The volumetric period saw a shift in conceptual thinking with both surgeons and patients becoming more aware of the scars left by the surgery. As well as focusing on minimizing scars, this period saw the introduction of cranial facelifts as opposed to posterior lifts – creating better and longer-lasting results.

There are numerous types of rhytidectomy available today depending upon the needs of the patient – these include; the mid facelift, mini facelift, and thread facelift in addition to the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) and the deep plane lift outlined above.