The minimal access cranial suspension (MACS) lift: A systematic review of literature 18 years after its introduction

Lotte F Hijkoop, Hieronymus P J D Stevens, Berend van der Lei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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BACKGROUND: One of the most popular short-scar rhytidectomy techniques used nowadays is the minimal access cranial suspension (MACS) lift developed by Tonnard and Vaerpele. The technique uses purse-string sutures in combination with limited skin undermining to obtain a clear vertical tissue repositioning. Since its introduction, the technique has extensively been described and used around the world by facial plastic surgeons. Now, 18 years after its introduction, a systematic review concerning the results and complications of the MACS lift is presented to establish its current position in facial rejuvenation.

METHODS: The MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central, and Google Scholar databases were searched for studies evaluating the MACS lift (June 10, 2020). Outcomes of interest were long-term effect, satisfaction, and complications of the MACS lifting as determined by the patient and/or surgeon.

RESULTS: Six studies were included, with 739 patients treated with the MACS lift in total. No major complications were reported, four studies did report on the occurrence of minor complications. All of the six studies reported relatively high levels of satisfaction. Three studies reported a shorter procedural duration for the MACS lift compared with the conventional facelift. In three of the six included studies, the level of evidence was low. The effect on neck rejuvenation is limited.

CONCLUSION: The MACS lift can be considered a minimally invasive facelift procedure with a relatively low complication rate. The procedure, often combined with additional procedures, results in evident patient and/or surgeon satisfaction. To obtain a better desired result on an aged neck area, additional procedures are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Early online date15-Nov-2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2022


  • facelift
  • MACS lift
  • review

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