"Facial facelift": the new buzzwords for anti-aging packages

A facial facelift has slim resemblance to the facials your mother swore by. Instead, it is a treatment package that may include pimple popping but also incorporates injectable neurotoxins, such as Botox, and injectable fillers, such as hyaluronic acids, as well as laser, dermabrasion and ultrasound treatments. Fifty-five year old Lisa Marcus, interviewed by the New York Times, glowed even more (after undergoing these combined treatments) when an old high school buddy she ran into asked her if she had a facelift.

There are different names for these treatment packages. A Manhattan physician offers a multistep procedure for $3,000 that she calls "facial rejuvenation." A Chicago plastic surgeon offers "stackable treatments," including ultrasound and lasers, for $5,000. "Liquid facelift" is another name for these package deals. It is notable that these treatments will add volume and contour compared with a surgical facelift, which decreases wrinkles.

It's no wonder that these rejuvenating packages are offered. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), cosmetic minimally invasive procedures increased more than 10 percent in 2012 from 2011, compared with a 3 percent increase for cosmetic surgical procedures.

Technological advancements are a major factor in these beauty trends. According to the New York Times, nonmedical settings offer a skin rejuvenation treatment, involving 90 minutes of wet and dry microdermabrasion, ultrasound with serum, oxygen and LED light for $2,500.

To compare these noninvasive treatments with each other and their surgical counterparts, you have to consider qualitative results and then do a lot of math. Since the results of stackable treatments can last as long as three to four years, they might seem a better value than multiple facials from a high-end spa. An Albany plastic surgeon offers a nonsurgical "liquid face-lift," involving multiple fillers, but he doesn't consider this package a sound investment. "If you see marginal results and you've spent $10,000, it's not a good value when a brow, neck and jawline facelift can cost $25,000 to $50,000 and last 7 to 10 or more years."

Whether or not you're hoping for subtle or significant results and whether or not you decide on surgical or nonsurgical treatment, your results will depend on the skill of your practitioner. Board certification in an appropriate specialty is your best guarantee of safety and good results.