December 1, 2023

Facelift Vs. Mini Facelift: What’s the Difference? – 2023

Women who want the benefits of facelift surgery while experiencing a shorter recovery time and less invasive measures are asking more and more for a mini facelift.

But is a mini facelift really easier on the body? And will it give you the level of results you want?

While they address and achieve many of the same things, a mini facelift is not the same as the traditional version and is not appropriate for all patients.

So, which option are you a candidate for?

Actually, “mini facelift” is a bit of a misnomer, though the phrase does have a history in the plastic surgery world.

Today we’ll talk about traditional facelifts, mini facelifts, and which option is right for you.

What Is a Facelift?

A facelift (rhytidectomy) is a surgical procedure designed to address signs of aging like wrinkles and sagging skin. The goal is a younger-looking, firmer appearance.

A facelift won’t roll back the clock decades and make your face exactly the way it was 20 or 30 years ago. However, a good facelift performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon can help you look and feel your very best.

A facelift may address:

  • Sagging facial and neck skin
  • Drooping midface tissues
  • Fold lines next to the nose (nasolabial folds) and mouth (“marionette” lines)
  • Jowls along the cheeks or jawline
  • Excess or loose fat under the chin down to the neck (“turkey neck”)

Procedures in addition to the above may include:

  • Facial implants
  • Dermal (skin) planing
  • Dermal injections (“fillers”)
  • Eyelid surgery or brow lift surgery (to address upper facial aging)

What Is a “Mini” Facelift?

Much like the name suggests, a mini facelift is a variation of the traditional method that involves a shorter incision and provides a lesser degree of correction. While this technique does work for some patients with minimal laxity, a mini facelift does provide “mini” results, and for patients with significant signs of aging, it may not be ideal.

While this surgery often boasts a shorter incision and recovery period and can often be performed under local anesthesia in an office setting, it does address significant sagging on the face and does little to address the neck.

This surgery is ideal for patients with a lesser degree of laxity who are hoping to postpone the need for a more comprehensive and invasive facelift.

In the end, it is up to both the patient and her doctor to decide what type of procedure will make the patient look and feel her best.

Should You Have a Facelift?

Whether or not you have a facelift is up to you, your budget, and your lifestyle goals.

You may be a good candidate for a facelift if you:

  • Want to moderately to significantly improve signs of aging on your face and/or neck.
  • Are in general good health.
  • Do not smoke. (Smoking is correlated with post-surgical complications.)
  • Have realistic expectations of your potential results. (Ask your plastic surgeon what you can expect.)

How Is a Traditional Facelift Performed?

After you arrive at the facility:

  • You will be anesthetized. Usually, general anesthesia (“sleeping” anesthesia) is used for a facelift procedure.
  • An initial incision, usually along the hairline, will be made.
  • A second incision under the chin may also be made for certain patients. For a neck lift, a limited incision (under the ear) may be made instead.
  • Skin is removed for a tighter appearance.
  • The surgeon will close the incision with stitches.

During your facelift, you may also:

  • Have facial implants placed in the cheeks, chin, lips, temples, etc.
  • Have dermal fillers or fat injected to fill out specific areas of the face.
  • Have skin replaned for a smoother appearance.
  • Choose to address the upper third of your face using eyelid surgery or brow lift surgery.

Note to remember: A facelift is performed to address the lower two-thirds of the face and the neck. It will not address under-eye bags, sagging or hooded eyes, a sagging brow, or deep forehead creases.

Facelift Surgery Recovery

After your surgery, you will need lots of rest and plenty of fluids. This is true of most surgical procedures.

You should expect some swelling and bruising after your procedure. Apply ice  and take care of any drains that have been placed per your surgeon’s instructions.

Make sure you attend follow-up appointments on time. Your surgeon needs to monitor your progress, remove or change dressings, and spot any issues in plenty of time to address them so your recovery goes smoothly.

Does It Take Longer to Recover From a Facelift Than a Mini Facelift?

The more invasive a procedure, the longer you can expect your recovery to take.

Any surgery, including plastic surgery, will involve recovery time when you will be expected to restrict activities. Follow your surgeon’s instructions exactly for your best chance of an outcome you’ll love.

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