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The PonyTail Lift: Not Your Standard Facelift 

The tight and lifted effect you see when you wear your hair in a ponytail? A facelift so flawless you can wear a ponytail? What IS a Ponytail Facelift? More importantly, how do you know if you need one, especially when there are nonsurgical options available to you?  Let's talk through the details of aging and the benefits of a Ponytail Facelift.

Understanding Facial Aging

Facial aging occurs in 3 distinct ways:  environmental, dynamic, and gravitational.

Environmental aging is a result of the effect of one's environment (sun, smoking, diet, etc) on the skin and superficial soft tissue. Signs of environmental skin aging manifest as skin discoloration, lack of skin clarity, dull skin tone, enlarged pore size, and fine lines and wrinkles.  

Dynamic aging occurs as dynamic muscles (think smiling, scowling, raising eyebrows, puckering, frowning) associated with your facial expressions produce marked lines and skin wrinkling. Botox® Cosmetic and other neuromodulators work to soften the appearance of dynamic expression lines and wrinkles on the face and neck.

Gravitational aging causes the skin to sag.  You'll notice these signs of aging as loose skin at the brow, eyelids, drooping cheeks, well-defined smile lines and jowls, and general volume loss. Gravitational aging at the neck looks like excess skin and loosening of the platysmal bands (the muscles extending from the collarbone to the jawline). Signs of gravitational aging are usually the last manifest in the face and neck and can be the most challenging to correct.


Facial Plastic Surgery Versus Nonsurgical Treatments

Early gravitational aging in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, often responds to nonsurgical such as facial dermal fillers or energy devices like Ulthera®, Thermage®, or radiofrequency (RF) devices like FaceTite®. However, these modalities are generally very limited and have short-term results.

For patients desiring long-term results and value, plastic surgery continues to be the gold standard for gravitational aging in the face. As every person is unique, every plastic surgery procedure is highly customized to produce the best results for the patient. And like anything, surgery can be more or less involved or invasive. 

In a Browlift procedure, plastic surgeons can use longer, "ear to ear" incisions, or less conspicuous endoscopic techniques that minimize scar visibility.  In a Facelift, the length of the incision, amount of subcutaneous undermining or dissection, and the need for a separate neck incision can be varied.  Shorter scar and less invasive techniques are useful for patients in their 30s to early 50s with mild or moderate gravitational aging.  

The Ponytail Lift

Full disclosure, similar to the term "mommy makeover" the ponytail lift has nothing to do with a ponytail, it's just clever marketing, much like the mini facelift and "short scar" facelift. Unlike a deep plane facelift,  the ponytail facelift is a less invasive facelift technique.  Ponytail facelifts have the shortest scar, and refer to one's ability to wear a ponytail without showing more visible scarring.

The specifics of this less-invasive cosmetic procedure depend on the unique needs and facial rejuvenation goals of each individual patient.

Dr. John Burns, Mini Facelift, Dallas Texas, PonyTail Facelift, Mini Facelift by Dr. John Burns, FACS, Dallas, TexasPonyTail Lift, Mini Facelift, Dr. John Burns, FACS, Dallas, Texas

Characteristics of a True Ponytail Lift

  • A limited incision around the temples and only in the area immediately behind the ear
  • There is no separate neck incision under the chin
  • Less swelling, bruising, and downtime than a traditional facelift procedure
  • Ponytail lift is often performed along with facial fat or fillers to both lift and fills saggy and aging skin for more complete facial rejuvenation

In the right patient, a ponytail facelift is very effective and long-lasting.  Whether or not you wear your hair up, you'll look amazing without having to worry about scars. Make sure you review the less invasive ponytail lift with a board-certified plastic surgeon.  Because ponytail lift means different things to different people, it's critical you know the type of procedure you're getting so you can feel confident that you will love your look.




 Dr. John L. Burns Jr. MD, FACS is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and President of the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute, one of the largest plastic surgery group practices in the United States. Dr. Burns also serves as Medical Director the EpiCentre Skin Care and Laser Center, Dallas' Premier Medical Spa.  Dr. Burns dedicates his practice to aesthetic or cosmetic plastic surgery. Call (214) 515-0002 or email to schedule a complimentary consult with Dr. Burns.