The New York Times takes a look at how the prices of luxury art, cars, real estate, and other amenities have skyrocketed in recent years, and so too, has the cost of cosmetic surgery at the hands of today’s most talented doctors.
According to the Aesthetic Society, an association of board-certified plastic surgeons, the average cost of a facelift in the United States hovers at around $9,000, but the most gifted facial plastic surgeons are charging many times more for their top-of-the-line procedures. One of these elite doctors is none other than New York’s Dr. Jacono, the price of whose facelift has inflated to over $200,000.
While this amount is undeniably immense, it hasn’t deterred people from booking surgery. In fact, Hilda Back, one of Dr. Jacono’s patients, traveled from her home in Woodlands, Texas for a nip-and-tuck that included a brow lift, an upper and lower blepharoplasty, a facelift, a lip lift, a neck lift, a rhinoplasty, and earlobe reconstruction. The total sum came to just over $230,000.
“I have a Rolls-Royce, I have three homes, I have everything I could possibly want, but I was still depressed,” said Ms. Back. “The way I look at this is: this is my face, and it’s going everywhere I go.”
Put simply, Ms. Back and countless others believe that, although their surgeries cost a pretty penny, the results were ultimately worth the price, affording them a higher sense of self-esteem and better quality of life. What, after all, could be better than finally having the face of your dreams?
The Designer Facelift
The inflation of elite facelift prices reflects recent trends in the fashion world. While classic utilitarian brands, like Levi’s, are more affordable, fashion houses such as Prada and Gucci have curated luxury lines that prioritize higher-quality clothing for an accordingly higher price.
Today’s extravagant facelift is no different; elite plastic surgeons use advanced techniques, command elevated aesthetic sensibilities, and have far more experience than the average doctor, all of which make them more attractive to consumers who have their own lavish predilections. These aesthetic masters have ushered in a new age of plastic surgery: that of the “Designer Facelift.”
“For the affluent patients I treat, surgery is really more like buying artwork than purchasing a technical procedure,” says Dr. Jacono. “They ask me—the sculptor if you will—to commission them a gorgeous bust that they couldn’t find anywhere else. I’m proud to have this reputation and grateful to be able to achieve the kinds of results that people are willing to pay for.
Dr. Jacono is certainly an outlier, and thanks in no small part to his innovative facelifting technique, the Extended Deep-Plane Facelift, which he has taught at conferences around the world.
The key difference between Dr. Jacono’s Deep-Plane lift and the more traditional SMAS facelift (SMAS stands for superficial musculoaponeurotic system and refers to the layer of tissue and fascia between the skin and the face’s deeper muscles) is that the Deep-Plane technique does not disconnect the skin from the SMAS, which preserves blood flow to the skin; the SMAS facelift separates the two.
Furthermore, the Extended Deep-Plane Facelift repositions the facial ligaments that stretch with age and gravity, allowing the face to move freely and preventing it from looking tight or pulled.
What Else Does $200,000 Buy?
If the $200,000 facelift did not guarantee an impressive standard of care, perhaps it wouldn’t be worth it. The good news, however, is that the money buys much more than surgery; depending on the complexity of the case and how many areas of the face are treated, the price can fluctuate. Often, a facelift can include a brow lift, lower and upper eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty, lip lifts, mid-face lifts, neck lifts, and a host of other add-ons like implants, fat grafting, skin lasers, and buccal fat removal.
Post-operative attention at a practice like Dr. Jacono’s is also second-to-none, offering 24/7 access to Dr. Jacono himself, a dedicated team of nurses, and the option to undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which can significantly speed up recovery.
“I make sure that my patients are treated just as well in the recovery room as in the operating room,” says Dr. Jacono. “I want them to feel taken care of at all times—no exceptions.”
Taking into account Dr. Jacono’s mastery and unparalleled dedication to patient care, it is no wonder that he has become not only one of the most sought-after facial plastic surgeons in the world, but a veritable social media celebrity; his Instagram account, @drjacono, boasts close to 450,000 followers, and regularly showcases jaw-dropping before-and-after photographs.
“I am unbelievably lucky that my work has gotten the attention it deserves,” continues Dr. Jacono, “and that my patients feel so comfortable trusting me with their faces. It’s a dream come true.”