Guest post by Aaron Stone MD
Anyone watching television lately has been exposed to a mass marketing blitz by Lifestyle Lift.
The infomercials claim over 150,000 completed surgeries and are filled with satisfied customers who in before vs. after photos look remarkably younger and happier after surgery. In 2012, Grammy®-winning singer, author, and television personality Debby Boone, best known for her 1977 RIAA Platinum-selling #1 hit "Theme from You Light Up My Life," became the spokesperson for the company in its television commercials and its half-hour infomercial; the song is well-represented in both the commercials and in the infomercial.
The ads promise “minor one-hour procedure with major results designed exclusively to improve jowls, frown lines, wrinkles, loose neck, and facial skin” that "requires no dangerous general anesthetic” and you can “return to work quickly compared to a traditional procedure.” They boast locations across the nation – in 42 cities and 22 states. The concept that is conveyed in this marketing is that this procedure is equally effective regardless of the surgeon doing it. Lifestyle lift is the company's name and is also a trademarked brand name used to market the procedure of the same name. Doctors sign up with the company and give a percentage of their fee to the company for performing their advertising. Prospective patients call the company or go to its website and are then referred to a nearby participating surgeon. The procedure itself is performed under local anesthetic and generally costs half the price of a regular facelift. Patients are lured in by the mass marketing, price and use of local anesthetic without general anesthesia (which is presumed to be riskier than local anesthetic). The model is high volume, low cost facelifting.
A regular facelift involves making an incision around the ear lifting or dissecting the skin off the underlying soft tissue in the neck and...