Mini Facelifts for Men & Women
Article by Thomas T. Jeneby, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
Doctor, could you just lift my neck and cheeks, I’m looking old!”
I hear this more often than any other complaint about the face
except for, of course, patients asking me to help reduce their wrinkles.
What is a facelift? Also known as rhytidectomy, a facelift is a surgical
procedure to improve visible signs of aging in the face and neck. Depending
on the degree of change you’d like to see, your facelift choices
include a traditional facelift, limited incision facelift or a neck lift.
A traditional facelift incision often begins in the hairline at the temples,
continues around the ear and ends in the lower scalp. Fat may be
sculpted or redistributed from the face, jowls and neck, and underlying
tissue is repositioned. Commonly the deeper layers of the face and the
muscles are also lifted.
Skin is re-draped over the uplifted contours and excess skin trimmed
away. A second incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve
an aging neck. Sutures or skin adhesives close the incisions.
Traditional face lifts can involve different procedures, here is a brief
explanation of the most common ones:
Type I Skin Lift: This pulls the skin vertically upwards to lift the
sagging neck and jowls — technically the easiest, but the results are not
long lasting (highest recidivism).
Type II Skin Lift and Muscle Lift: These types of lifts combine excision
and suturing of the muscle upward to bony areas of the face and the
skin. They tend to last longer than the skin lift only. This procedure goes
by many names (“Swift lift,” “Quick Lift,” “Macs Lift,” “S Lift,” “Mini Lift”)
and all are variations of lifting. Most now have small or limited incisions
compared to several years ago.
Type III: Midface Lift: This type utilizes sutures, barbed sutures,
absorbable tacks and “ribbon” type tacking to lift the cheek vertically
upward toward the eyes. Most people can benefit from this type.
Type IV: Ribbon Lift: Uses and absorbable tacking device inserted
around the temple region and tunneled toward the face.
The type of facelift depends on the problem, and the amount of sagging.
It is a very personal choice between you and your surgeon. Suffice
it to say that regardless of your choice, facelifts or mini-facelifts can
be performed under local or local + sedation or general anesthesia. I
prefer facelifts under local + oral sedation, which can be performed in
2.5 hours to decrease problems with anesthesia, including nausea and
The risks include:
• Unfavorable scarring
• Bleeding (hematoma)
• Poor wound healing
• Anesthesia risks
• Correctable hair loss at the incisions
• Facial nerve injury with weakness
• Facial asymmetry Skin loss
• Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
• Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
• Fluid accumulation
• Pain, which may persist
This is not a complete list but one you can begin to discuss with
It takes about six weeks for the swelling to reduce 80-90% after
a facelift. You can expect redness around the incisions for up to 6
months. The effects of a facelift (which includes a neck lift) typically
last five years or more. However, the results are dependent on the skin
quality and strict postoperative adherence to surgeon instructions. You
will be out of commission for one to two weeks. The best time to have
a facelift performed is the winter, as sunscreen needs to be worn. There
is less change of sun exposure during the winter months.
Men are increasingly becoming more comfortable with plastic surgical
procedures ands comprise 11% of the cosmetic market. Whether
it is for personal or business reasons, men seem to be taking care of
themselves more and more.
I am often asked, “Why can’t you just lift my neck?” In rare cases a
neck liposuction combined with Smart Lipo may be enough, and occasionally
an isolated neck lift is sufficient.
But only about 30-40% of the population can benefit from those
Discuss all these options with your surgeon and as always, make
sure you are talking to An American Board of Plastic Surgery Board certified Plastic Surgeon.
Thomas T Jeneby M.D.