Results, Recovery, Incisions from Mini Facelift: What to Expect?

What do you think of the lifestyle lift or, for that matter, any minilift, if a person does not require a complete facelift? Is it lasting, and where are the incisions made? How long is the usual recovery time? Many thanks for your opinion.  

Doctor Answers 34

Thes so-called name brand facelifts that offer minimum...

Thes so-called name brand facelifts that offer minimum down time done in a dental chair under local anesthetic are not very good. They are great marketing tools to have patients come in.

A quality facelift, whether it is a full facelift or a short scar facelift done under adequate and safe anesthesia, will often give a better longer lasting result.

A professor of mine once said that "I can give you a caricature sketch-type facelift that will be very quick, and give you an OK result for a while, but a true masterpiece takes longer to perform and the results last a lot longer."

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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Mini Facelifts Are Still A Facelift!

Mini facelifts are facelifts done under local anesthesia and still have the incisions around the ears and in our practice, are the same as a full facelift except just don't cover the upper cheek area. It does great for the jawline and neck with minimal downtime such as only a few days to 1 week off and is what most patients need and want for $6000-8500 rather than the full lift for $15-25,000. I take special pride in hiding and minimizing the incisions and making the 4 hr experience as pleasant as possible. Everybody should still do all the extras that enhance the facelift results and that make them look younger and more youthful such as fillers, botox,and chemical peels. Cheap, heavily advertised facelifts and short-scar incision procedures last only 6-12 months and can result in ugly noticable scars and also usually "Pixie Ears" deformities.  Good luck on the new you. Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Mini Lift = Mini Results

Mini Lift usually refers to a skin-only excision around the ear, with minimal or no undermining (surgical release of tissues to aid in repositioning).

The technique tightens the cheeks and jowls by creating a pull (tension) on the skin of the area without lifting or tightening the underlying support structures.

The advantages are a quick procedure with minimal or no recovery that will refresh one's appearance. The disadvantage is lack of longevity (a few months to a couple of years).

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

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Can be the right answer....sometimes

The mini-lift is a fine operation if it is used in the RIGHT patient.

Any qualified surgeon should have the mini-lift as PART of their toolbox. The problem arises when the doctor has the mini-lift as their ONLY tool.

As many of the surgeons here have stated the issue is especially worrisome when the procedure is being marketed.

When I see a patient in my office that comes in looking for a mini-lift I can discuss this with them in the context of comparing it to a full Facelift.

So here are the two types of patients that are good candidates for a mini-lift:

1. Younger patients with minimal age related changes

2. Older patient who would benefit from a full Facelift but are willing to trade the better result for a shorter downtime

Benjamin C. Marcus, MD
Madison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Incisions from minlift

The incisions for a minilift are basically the same in the front of the ears as for a facelift. However the incision stops just behind the earlobe. Muscle and tissue are pulled up and repositioned. It improves the slightly sagging jawline and snugs up the skin on the face to just behind the earlobe. It will not improve the neck beyond about 1 to 1 1/2 inches down the neck.

Recovery is about 5 to 7 days. The results should last for 4 to 6 years depending on the elasticity of the skin which is continually subject to gravity.


Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Mini facelift is a right operation for the right patient

As you can see, the doctors vary in their opinion in what a mini facelift will achieve. One reason for that is the patient: the results will be different for different patients. A younger (40's or 50's) patient who is thin, has good bone structure and some sagging skin will do great with a regular facelift, but will also do very well with a mini facelift with a long duration of the results.

The other reason is the doctor: all surgeons are not created equal, and some are just better at doing surgery than other. To confuse you further, different doctors call different types of operation a mini facelift. Some just excise a small sliver of the skin around the ear, and some do an extensive surgery, almost the same as a regular facelift. Of note, lifestyle lift is essentially a mini lift under local anesthesia, and it is as good as the doctor performing it.

There is a great variability in the "lifestyle lift" doctors, so do your research very carefully if this is something you are considering. So how do you make sense of this all as a consumer? As always, interview different doctors, preview their before and after pictures, talk to their past patients, and compare prices.

Stella Desyatnikova, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Expect mini results, almost the same down time.

Mini-lifts including the Lifestyle Lift offer minimal pulling through usually traditional facelift incisions. The downtime is slightly less than for an actual facelift. Many patients are very disappointed to learn that their mini-lifts had the same incisions as if they had a real facelift, but half the result or less. Because of the excessively tight closure of many minilifts (in an attempt to pull on tissues that are far away), the scars can be wide and unsightly. The results are typically not lasting because not much pulling was done.

An expert facelift surgeon (i.e. board certified plastic surgeon) who has performed more than a thousand facelifts can perform an actual facelift with SMAS adjustment typically in about 2 hours. Often, ancillary procedures are performed (volume restoration with LiveFill, eyelid rejuvenation, platysmaplasty procedure (i.e. Neck-Lace), brow rejuvenation, lip lifts, etc), so the time is often more in the range of 4 hours.

After "mini-lifts", especially some I have seen, many people are not fit to be be seen in public at all, with significant visible scarring and deformation of the earlobes because of tight pulling. With a cleverly performed facelift, it should be minimally apparent that the patient has had any work done at all. The downtime before cessation of bruising is maybe 48 hours longer with an actual facelift vs. a minilift. Luckily, we are able to revise most LSL's and convert them to real facelifts, greatly reducing the scars around the ears and significantly tightening the deeper tissues in the process. However, the mini-lift patients whom we revise have undergone two procedures when they could have just had one.

For patients on a budget (the usual in these economic times), it is better to save and have the procedure done properly than to pay a lower fee and be disappointed.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

A mini facelift gives a mini result for a mini length of time

If you are young and are seeing early signs of facial aging, perhaps a mini facelift is adequate to treat your situation. Far too many patients, however, are tempted by the allure of a mini lift thinking it will give them the same result as a properly done facelift and that the results will last as long. This is simply not true.

The Lifestyle lift is a heavily marketed procedure trying to capture your interest with a clever name and promises that are frequently not delivered when you read multiple patient reviews. A well performed true facelift on the other hand has a 80-90% satisfaction as listed on this web site.

Usually it is best to do all you can with fillers, Botox, photorejuvination and skin care and wait until you really need a facelift and then go and find the best plastic surgeon and get a great result.

Mini facelift

A mini facelift, or short scar facelift, offers many advantages over a traditional facelift: it is safer because it is performed with only local anesthesia, it is less expensive, and of course the scars are minimized and complication rates are lower.

First off, do not be fooled by the brand names. These are all just mini facelifts that have been franchised. If your doctor offers the lifestyle or some other brand name version, he or she has paid to be part of this franchise.

Recovery time is minimize because of the short scar approach, but you can still expect a good solid week of downtime with swelling, and after that you may have some mild residual bruising that your physician may be able to easily laser away if they are knowledgeable and equipped to do so.

You will also have sutures for the majority of that first week.
Scars with a facelift are very strategically hidden in around and behind your ears. Your surgeon will likely tailor your lift to your exact needs, which will alter the extent of your scars.

To discuss your needs and goals, seek out a dermatologic surgeon, oculoplastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon or plastic surgeon who is board certified and fellowship trained in one of these "core four" cosmetic specialties.

Cameron Chesnut, MD, FAAD
Spokane Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Mini Facelift Toronto

My patients are usually back to work within a week.  They tend to have very little bruising.  The scars do not go as far into the hairline or behind the ear.  Find an experienced PS in your area.


Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.