September 5, 1995
From Medical Correspondent Al Hinson
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The idea of getting a facelift can evoke fears of large scars, lots of pain and bruising. But a new type of facelift may ease some of those concerns.
Jo Messenkopf doesn't feel old and she doesn't want to look old. So when this very active grandmother got tired of what she felt were too many lines, bags and sags around her eyes, she considered getting a facelift. But she had some qualms about it. "It always frightened me to have a complete facelift because of going ear to ear with the slicing and cutting it," Messenkopf says.
Messenkopf's search for an alternative facelift procedure took her and her husband Phil from their Pennsylvania home to Atlanta's Emory University Hospital. There, Messenkopf explained to the plastic surgeon, Dr. Foad Nahai, what she thought the end result should be.
She told him she doesn't want to look like a 20-year-old, but just wants a natural-looking eye tuck and a little tucking around the bottom of her face. The answer, Nahai said, would be an endoscopic brow-lift. "Which means we are gonna make a little incision right in the hair about an inch." The endoscope, he said, would be inserted through a longer incision along the hairline near the temple.
Emory doctors are among the first to use the endoscope for plastic surgery. The instrument is already used in a variety of operations requiring precise surgery in a tight space. Consists of a thin flexible tube containing fiber-optic cables for light and a tiny TV camera in the tip. The endoscope also contains remote-controlled, miniature surgical tools. Plastic surgeons who use the instrument say it works especially well for brow or forehead lifts.
There are critics of the new technique who question whether its benefits will last as long as the benefits of conventional surgery. Even advocates concede many patients still need the more dramatic effects that can come only with the traditional method. "If we do the middle of your face endoscopically , which means avoiding a scar in front of the ear," Nahai says, "I may not be able to tighten you as much as if I made the incision."
The advantages of the endoscopic approach include less facial
scarring and a reduction in the bruising and pain that often
follow a facelift. Messenkopf had her brow-lift done
with the endoscope, but she bowed to the advice of her
plastic surgeon and had her other facial work done the old-
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