Every week I get asked questions about the facelifts that are advertised on TV or I see unhappy patients that have experienced these lifts. There are a number of different trademark names that these TV commercials refer however they are all essentially the same simple skin lifts. Patients are often attracted by the lure of low price, glossy pictures, and prospects of a quick and painless recovery.
Having surgery by a trained professional in a certified environment can be very safe and rewarding for the patient. However surgery can also be quite dangerous if performed by a poorly trained doctor in the back office of a strip mall. A quality surgeon should educate you as a consumer and also weigh your risks and benefits very carefully before proceeding with any operation. Your safety should be the surgeon’s and staff’s #1 priority, not just signing you up and swiping your credit card.
You should meet with your surgeon a number of times instead of a non-medical salesperson. Make sure you research your doctor to verify they are a board certified surgeon What is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon? who has completed a residency that educates them in facial surgery. (Plastic surgery and ENT) Finally be careful and trust your gut. If its too good to be true it likely is.
I have attempted to collect articles and videos which detail the side of the story not seen on the infomercials. I hope these links help you make an informed decision when it comes to your facial surgery.
Here is an excellent article in the New York Times on the LifeStyle Lift, QuickLift, and all the other lifts. New York Times: A Face From an Infomercial
- “But three Lifestyle Lift patients and Dr. Mario S. Yco, a board-certified otolaryngologist who was an employee of the company for about a year, said that patients were urged to put down a deposit before they met with a surgeon. “The consultant sold the surgery,” said Dr. Yco, who practices in Encinitas, Calif. Often by the time he saw patients, the surgery was booked. “There were many patients I had to cancel,” he said, explaining that he didn’t deem them appropriate candidates.”
- “Sharron Bryant, a manager for Lindt Chocolates in Dallas, who got a Lifestyle Lift in 2007, said she had a “high pressure” consultation and put down a deposit before meeting a surgeon. Ms. Bryant, then 59, paid $6,100 for a Lifestyle Lift and chin liposuction. She never needed pain medication during her weeklong recovery, she said. But she disliked the loose skin that remained on her jowls and neck. “I got nothing for the money,” she said. She later paid $8,200 for a traditional face-lift from a different surgeon.”
- On Realself.com, a Web site where patients discuss cosmetic surgery, 37 percent of the 170 people who reviewed the Lifestyle Lift said the procedure was “worth it,” while 63 percent didn’t think so.
Did you know? These Skin Lift procedures can be performed by ER doctors, Family Doctors, and OBGYN’s. Make sure to investigate and validate the surgical training of your surgeon.
USA TODAY article reporting the frightening environment of cosmetic surgery in America. USA Today: Cosmetic Surgery Gets Cheaper, Faster, Scarier
- “these new-style surgery clinics are under so much sales pressure they often don’t sufficiently screen patients for medical problems, do inadequate follow-up and persuade patients to undergo procedures that are either unnecessary or unlikely to get good results.”
Did you know? Many of the doctors that perform these type of facial surgeries would not be able to get hospital privileges (from the hospital board) to perform these procedures in a real operating room. They may not even be able to admit you to a hospital should you need acute care or emergent surgery.
Woman dies in Massachusetts during Lifestyle Lift Woman dies during Lifestyle Lift
Lifestyle lift under investigation for unethical (high pressure) sales practices. Former doctor claims was a “mill” and patients “mislead”, “Some procedures were inappropriate”. Florida Attorney General Investigates Lifestyle Lift
New York Attorney General in 2009 found the LifeStyle lift was intentionally and illegally “duping” consumers. New York Times “Company Settles Case of Reviews It Faked”
- Andrew M. Cuomo, New York’s attorney general, said in a statement that Lifestyle Lift’s “attempt to generate business by duping consumers was cynical, manipulative and illegal.”
LifeStyle Lift Exposed during 3 month investigation on CBS.
- “Met doctor 15 min before surgery” “Lack of Results” “Poor followup” “Stitches left in a month”
- Chief of Facial Plastic Surgery at Emory Comments on Lifestyle Lift: “What they do offers nothing new, unique or different”. “Technique has been around since the 1960’s”. “I don’t think speed should be a selling tool.” “You get what you pay for”.
- Notice the scar is in front of the tragus (little protrusing in front) of the ear. Also that the earlobe is pulled downward (Called Pixie Ear). These are classic examples of old technique, lack of attention to detail, and of not taking the time to hide the scar as well as possible and prevent pulling on the earlobe.
- “Met her doctor the day of surgery” “LifeStyle Lift quick to sue to hide their critics” Patient states, “Not warned about scars or risks prior to surgery”
- Lifestyle lift sues the TV station and the Reporter performing the investigation. Reporter: Lifestyle Lift “fast paced money driven environment”. Lifestyle lift has sued WebMD, RealSelf, and Infomercial scams. All suits were thrown out or dropped.
- “Lifestyle lift not something of Hope but of Horror” “I think it was very deceiving” “Told me I could go back to work the same day after the facelift (paraphrased)” “No Followup” “no instructions” “I would not go back and have it done again” Numerous employees told to close the deal “no matter what” Holy Cow check out the post op photo’s!
- “Corporate culture that places a priority on sales, often at the expense of the patient”. Former employee, “It was terrible”. The founder is a Doctor of Osteopathy who formerly did in Hair Replacement. Employee: “keep patients in dark” “no education for aftercare” “many unsatisfied customers”. Former employee: “Doctors must perform a certain number of surgeries per day” “15 new patients weekly at a 50% closure rate anything less does not meet company expectations”. “Signing people up for surgery even though you couldn’t give them what they wanted.” “A doctor would leave in the middle of surgery to go see a consult that couldn’t wait” “It shocked me because in a hospital I had never seen a doctor leave a patient while their incision was open.”
- “Employees questioned the cleanliness and safety of the operating room with urine on the table and floor”.
Video Atlanta Lifestyle Lift (In the Procedure Room) So whats really important in this video from a medical standpoint?
- First of all, this procedure is in the office not an operating room.
- There is no anesthesiologist present to protect the airway or monitor the heart. Actually there is no monitor at all, although the patient get oral medication as well as an injected medication.
- Notice the doctor and assistant. No gown, hair net, no drapes on the patients body.
- The incision is placed in front of the ear = old technique that is faster to perform and sew up but not hidden.
- The patients earlobe is sewn to her facial skin flap (Classic old technique sign of facelift) = in 6 months she will likely have pixie ear. What is Pixie Ear after Facelift?
Some QUESTIONS you may want to ask a doctor who intents on performing facial surgery in order to stay safe.
- Do you have surgical privileges at a local hospital?
- Where will the surgery it take place? Office or Operating room?
- Is the facility certified?
- Cardiac monitor? Oxygen Monitor?
- Anesthesiologist present?
- How do you protect my airway (breathing)?
- Do I get antibiotics before the surgery?
- When do the stitches come out?
- What is the follow-up?
- What kind of complications have you had?
- Will I have drains?
- Who do I call with problems?
- Do you have a protocol in place should I have a problem during surgery?
- Are you a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon?
- Is your Board Certification recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties?