A Clinical Retrospective Study Comparing Two Short-Scar Face Lifts: Minimal Access Cranial Suspension versus Lateral SMASectomy

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The purpose of this study was to retrospectively compare the short- and long-term cosmetic outcomes of two minimal incision rhytidectomies and analyze their advantages and disadvantages.


The results of minimal access cranial suspension face lift versus minimal incision rhytidectomy with lateral SMASectomy were evaluated after 1 and 24 months. Statistical analysis considered surgeon/patient satisfaction, time used in the procedures, pain, and learning curves. Photographs were sent to the patients and two plastic surgeons, unfamiliar with the cases, for evaluation of results that were assessed by an objective grading system described by Strasser.


Eighty-two patients completed 1 and 24 months' follow-up. Complications were two hematomas, two retroauricular-lobule dog-ears, and one hypertrophic preauricular scar. Surgical time was longer for the SMASectomy. Postoperative pain was worse for minimal access cranial suspension face lift. There were no differences in cosmetic results between the two techniques at 1-month and 2-year follow-up. Incorporating age, sex, postoperative pain, and duration of surgery as confounding factors did not modify the model. Surgeon/patient satisfaction showed no difference with either technique, but the photographic evaluation of all cases at 24 months revealed that more than 50 percent of the sample needed a tuck procedure to correct jowling and redundant skin.


Advantages of short-scar face lifts are the avoidance of the postauricular and occipital incisions, and the disadvantages are the moderate results in the neck and nasolabial folds and their potential short duration. For 24 months in this study, the duration of results was similar for both minimal access cranial suspension and lateral SMASectomy.

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