Top 5 Misleading Terms in Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Medicine
Few things are fraught with more confusing and misleading marketing hype than plastic surgery and aesthetic medicine. Just add “lift” at the end and you have a new and improved procedure! Here are my top 5 offenders:
This refers to injections of dermal fillers to restore lost volume. This can be very helpful and produce beautiful results in many cases, but the fillers are not liquid and any lifting is much less than a surgical facelift.
Brazilian Butt Lift
Not from Brazil, and not a lift. Fans of Beyonce’s booty and Kim Kardashian’s keister have made this procedure popular. It involves liposuction to obtain fat which is then injected into the buttocks. It’s a great operation, and we have been doing more of it. We just call it what it is: fat transfer.
A surgical facelift is a 3-dimensional operation, which restores volume where it is needed, re-drapes lax skin, and addresses other issues such as platysma muscle bands in the neck. Some of these things can be helped by nonsurgical techniques such as Ultherapy and fat transfers, but not all and not in the way that a facelift does. If it’s nonsurgical, it’s not really a facelift.
Stem Cell Facelift
There’s no bigger buzzword in aesthetic medicine than stem cells, and their potential in what is known as “regenerative medicine” is huge. But the “stem cell facelift” is not a facelift. It involves harvesting fat with liposuction, extracting adult stem cells from some of the fat, then adding those to the remaining fat. This fat is then injected into the face. So basically it is enhanced fat grafting. Will it improve outcomes? Possibly. But after reviewing available data, a recent article in the professional journal Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery concluded: “Stem cells offer tremendous potential, but the marketplace is saturated with unsubstantiated and sometimes fraudulent claims that may place patients at risk.”
Short Scar Facelift
There are many variations on this (MACS lift, S-lift), but what’s misleading is the implication that the same results are achieved but with less visible scarring. All facelifts are customized to a certain degree, and scars are never longer than they need to be in order to remove excess skin. The part of the scar that is eliminated or reduced in most short scar procedures is the part behind the ear where it is inconspicuous anyway. So, the “short scar” facelift is something that we do, but only when it will give the desired result.