In expert hands, a smartly loaded syringe can restore the winsome fullness to flattened cheeks, shape an enviable booty, reduce a double chin, even refine a crooked nose. Most remaining flaws can, no doubt, be undone with the wave of a laser’s wand. All in mere minutes, mind you, and often with nary a bruise left behind. It’s downright miraculous if you think about it — and think about it, we do.
Still, with even the best noninvasive tools, one goal remains woefully unattainable: hoisting slack skin. But wait!, you’re thinking. What about thread lifts? Ultherapy? Thermage? (Clearly we’re not the only ones Insta-stalking our favorite cosmetic dermatologists and surgeons.) Yes, these things can win you back a millimeter or two, experts say, but they’re simply no match for the impending jowls and vague jaw lines looming on the other side of 40.
Which is why, as we reported back in March, we’re witnessing the return of the face-lift, the only procedure that can elevate cheeks, crispen jaw lines, and tighten necks in a meaningful way. Between 1997 and 2016, its popularity jumped nearly 22 percent, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Last year, it ranked among the top five surgical procedures for men.
Driving the face-lift’s resurgence are the upgrades doctors have made to the old-school surgery over the last two decades. And now we’re hearing of a brand-new enhancement aiming to further boost results and minimize scars. Konstantin Vasyukevich, a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon in New York City, and a clinical assistant professor of otorhinolaryngology — head and neck surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, is the first surgeon to augment a face-lift with an endoscope. Routinely used to survey gastrointestinal tracts, internal organs, and joints, these illuminated cameras can also help plastic surgeons see what their eyes cannot, giving them a clearer picture of the facial anatomy distant from their point of entry, near the ears. Given that today’s surgeons aren’t just pulling and snipping skin to tighter effect, but working on a deeper level to lift fallen muscles and stitch them back up into place, this optical boost is nothing short of revolutionary.
“Traditional face-lift technique relies on direct visualization to modify or reposition the deep facial tissue, and oftentimes surgeons are forced to increase the length of the incisions to get a better view of the area located farthest from the incision,” explains Vasyukevich. By providing more of a panorama of the musculature and connective tissue, “the endoscope eliminates the need for longer cuts, leading to a better cosmetic outcome in both the improvement of facial contour and the appearance of scars.”
While Vasyukevich can’t promise a major reduction in downtime with the endoscopic face-lift versus the standard method, he says, “the recovery may be slightly less due to the shorter operative time and more targeted approach.” The price, however, is about the same, starting at around $15,000.
In true pioneer fashion, Vasyukevich plans to introduce his endoscopic technique to his plastic-surgeon peers this fall at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in hopes of popularizing the procedure nationwide.