The Science of Artistry: Learning the Face Lift from the Masters

by Raj Sawh-Martinez, MD

Plastic surgery training is replete with challenging cases and detailed analysis that is crucial for successful outcomes.  There is arguably no procedure with more public notoriety and infamy than the facelift.  Rhytidectomy is one of  the most challenging procedures to execute well, and demands attention to critical anatomical detail.  Plastic surgeons spend years mastering the varied techniques and detailed analysis necessary to restore the youthfulness their patients feel while making it seem effortless and without intervention.

For plastic surgeons, the PRS collections are an invaluable tool to develop the solid base from which to build their experience.  The PRS collections series began as a compendium of the elite and most helpful articles selected by PRS Section Editors and the PRS Editorial board.  Specifically, the Face Lift collection had the added benefit of being vetted and updated by Dr. James Stuzin and Dr. Val Lambros in 2012.  It has turned into a set of “mandatory reading” for anyone performing facelifts today.

Breaking down the collection, you are able to learn from the masters who have thought about and studied this complex procedure.  This allows us all to build on the local expertise found within our programs and regions.  The articles and expert discussions and reviews help the reader to develop an understanding of the many nuanced approaches to facial rejuvenation.  This has proven to be an invaluable resource when planning for my own resident cosmetic cases at Yale and will surely be invaluable resource for anyone wishing to master the topic.

The collection may be divided various ways, but one useful approach may be to divide the manuscripts into tangible review sub-topics.  If doing so in a residency setting, I would recommend that all participants read the overview articles in preparation, and then organize a journal club focused on ‘Anatomy’ or ‘Factors that influence long term results’, for individuals to analyze in-depth.  Below you will find the collection subdivided into groups along these lines.

Given the countless chapters, books, and manuscripts that have been written on this expansive topic, the manuscripts in this collection have been selected for their scope, impact and critical features in understanding rhytidectomy.  For the trainee, they represent a thorough approach to learning the operative considerations and details in an in-depth manner, from which they can develop their expertise.  For the young surgeon out in practice, this will serve as a primer when their first facelift consult patient begins to pepper them with questions regarding their expert opinion.  For senior surgeons, well versed and practiced in their preferred approaches, they may find that the collection offers a vetted compendium of impactful articles for their review.

For plastic surgeons at every stage in their career, the PRS Face Lift Collection will prove to be an invaluable resource.  Additionally, everyone is also welcome to submit articles they have found to be useful, as recommendations to be added to the list!

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