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Gore-Tex Facelift Doc

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Corey S. Maas, M.D., F.A.C.S.
The Maas Clinic -- San Francisco and Lake Tahoe
2400 Clay Street
San Francisco, CA 94115

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Dr. Maas
Among the many surgical options for making an aging face look younger, one of the least mentioned has the best and longest track record. It’s the Gore-Tex facelift.

Actually, several other manufacturers make the special sutures used in the procedure. So surgeons prefer to use the more scientific name of the material, ePTFE, because the sutures are soft and are more biocompatible with facial tissues. However, most of the other barbed threads used in minimally invasive facelifts are made from plastic and are more stiff or rigid and less biocompatible.
A Gore-Tex facelift may sound unusual but the medical community has many years of experience using ePTFE sutures for applications ranging from lip augmentation to open heart surgery.

Experts say the Gore-Tex facelift can be done in just under an hour and requires little “downtime” for the patient after the procedure. Another plus for the patient is no general anesthesia is needed. Instead, the procedure can be done with a local and oral sedation. But the big upside is the procedure may hold your rejuvenated looks for as long as eight years. “Plus, the patient should not show any bruising the next day,” says Dr. Maas. “It takes approximately 40 minutes to surgically implant the threads, after which the patient can go home in about an hour.”` The ePTFE procedure also is used to lift the forehead and more commonly the midface, an area often described as everything from just under your lower eyelids to the top of your lips. As we age, skin naturally sags but the real culprits are the tissues sliding south just under the skin. In addition, we normally lose some fat from our faces and that takes away the softer, more rounded look of youth.

To start a midface procedure, Dr. Maas makes tiny (1/8th inch) incisions in the sagging area of the patient’s face. The surgeon then uses a two and ¾ inch long, hollow needle to tunnel just under the skin and places a loop of the ePTFE sutures into the muscles just under the nasolabial fold, that crease running from each corner of the nose to the corners of your lips. A tiny “doughnut” anchor -- made of looped ePTFE threads -- engages those tissues and makes sure the thread can hold the weight of the lifted tissues. The needle is then passed out another small incision in the hairline in the temple area. “Medical science has about eight years of experience with this type of mid-facelift,” says Dr. Maas. “Plus, I have about four years with my own patients so we know the results of the lift are holding up well.”

With the suture anchored in the lower face, the surgeon removes the needle and then pulls up from the top incision. That motion then lifts the sagging mid-face. To finish, the sutures are tied or sutured to a thin but tough type of membrane that covers the muscles just under the temples. Known to physicians as “fascia;” its function is to cover, separate and support the body’s muscles. The very last thing is closing the tiny incision with a stitch or two.

Most patients look normal within about a week after the procedure. The operation may be right for patients in their 30s, 40s and 50s, who may not yet need a traditional facelift and may even eliminate the need for soft tissue filler injections. To make sure he gets the best possible results, Dr. Maas has modified the placement needle so the end is rounded. Thus, no sharp edge can injure nerves in the face; the blunt needle just pushes out of its path any nerves it should encounter. Dr. Maas is developing a small clip to be buried in the hairline near the temples that may allow the results to last even longer.

After some years have passed and the patient experiences normal aging, the facial tissues can be readjusted upwards without redoing the whole procedure. Dr. Maas would just open the area near the clip, elevate the sutures and fasten them down again.

By the way, the patient can’t feel any of the sutures or the special anchor under the skin as long as they are properly placed.

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