Ribbon lift has caught the imagination of public thanks to certain celebrities like Angeline Jolie, who is rumored to have had ribbon lift done recently to restore her once chiseled jaw line. Celebrities and others who are constantly watched and captured on camera tend to start early with facelifts. They particularly seek surgery that is least invasive and gives subtle results with least downtime and scarring. Ribbon lift fits the bill perfectly.
Loss of jawline definition is one of the earliest signs of aging and starts usually in early thirties. Overweight younger individuals in their twenties too can face this problem because of fat accumulation in lower face, upper neck and under chin. But with the onset of thirties even people with normal weight can lose the sharpness of their jawline because of the effect of gravity, loss of elasticity of skin and sagging of platysma muscle of the neck. Younger people tend to consider nonsurgical options like thermage or laser facial rejuvenation which claim to lift the face. None of the nonsurgical devices available can actually lift the sag of the muscles because muscles are too deep and outside the reach of nonsurgical methods. Plastic surgeons have constantly strived to find a solution that can actually lift the muscle with least amount of scarring or downtime, to suit the need of younger people with active lifestyle.
Ribbon lift involves placing a certain ribbon like device under the jawline between the skin and platysma mucle, to pull the skin and muscle in unison towards the ear. Ribbon , in this endotine devise is made up of absorbable material, is about one fourth of an inch wide and has hooks on the undersurface to grasp facial mucles . Ribbon is inserted through small incisions either behind earlobe or above the ear, within the hairline, where it will not be seen. Ribbon lift procedure is done under local anesthesia. After engaging the hooks on the muscle, when ribbon is pulled towards the ear, the jawline stands out. If a lot of skin is seen bunched up, the excess skin may be removed through a short incision around the ear lobe. Procedure is quick and painless. Downtime usually is one week or less.
Ribbon lift is somewhat like older thread lift with “contour” or “happy” threads. Threadlift technique used absorbable or nonabsorbable thin barbed threads, which were inserted with needle under the skin of face and neck and pulled upwards similar to the ribbon. Multiple threads were required to hold the tissue. Since they were inserted blindly and the barbs were small and delicate results were short lasting and unpredictable. Endotine ribbon in contrast has broader and stronger grip and is placed more predictably and securely after surgical dissection. Therefore one can expect longer results with ribbon.
Who will benefit the most with Ribbon lift? Younger men and women who have minimum fat or excess skin on jawline are ideally suited to Ribbon lift. Typically people in late thirties and early forties, who shy away from conventional surgical facelift will benefit with Ribbon lift. Conventional facelift and even short scar versions involve an incision in front and behind the ear. This is a high price to pay for men and women with shorter or pulled up hairstyles and those who do not need extensive lift. Ribbon lift scars, in contrast, are smaller and well hidden. Facelift surgery involves more extensive dissection which leads to a downtime of 2-4 weeks. Ribbon lift has minimal downtime of less than one week. Of course less surgery also means lesser cost and lesser risk.
So can Ribbon replace the good old facelift completely? The answer is no. Conventional facelift and necklift is the only option when skin excess and sagging is significant. Facelift surgery results last longer 5-10 years whereas results of a ribbon lift may last much less. Ribbon is completely absorbed by body in about an years time. After that the fibrosis around the ribbon is supposed to be holding the sagging tissues for some more time. Since ribbon lift is a relatively newer technique long term follow up is not available.