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 37

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

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 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 17 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 20 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 114 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.

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."

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Mini-Faelifts What to Expect

The mini-facelift is a great procedure in the correct patient.  The best patient for a mini-facelift has loose skin and muscles/jowls in the cheeks, but not too much going on in the neck.  If the neck is very loose/droopy, then a traditional facelift is necessary.  The incisions are around the ears very much like a traditional facelift but the mini-facelift doesn't have an incision under the chin as the larger facelift does.  Most patients are in good shape to be out in public in less then 2 weeks.  

Jonathan Pontell, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Mini Lift Super Choice in the Right Patient

A mini-lift is a great choice for the proper candidate.  Typically these patients are in their 40s or early 50s, have minimal neck sagging (minus perhaps some fat under their chin), and have less time available for recovery.  A well performed mini-lift will typically sharpen the jawline muscle and lower 1/3 of the facial skin and can give up to 10 years of youth back in the lower face.  There does need to be incisions around the front contour of the ear (on each side) and under the earlobes as well.  The incisions typically heal quite well (should not be visible) when performed by a skilled surgeon.  The recovery time (with proper preparation, ie not taking blood thinners before your procedure) usually is 5-7 days in my experience.  For the actual jawline, the results can be as good as that of a "full facelift", with the exception that a mini-lift cannot create huge change in the neck itself. 

Paul Lanfranchi, DO
Las Vegas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

What is a "mini" facelift

The term "mini" facelift can mean basically anything depending on the definition of the surgeon or patient.  The term is often misunderstood as meaning less invasive, fewer or shorter scars, or less recovery time.  However, the result of the procedure should be the primary goal regardless of technique.  In my practice, I define mini vs full facelift based on whether the neck needs to be addressed with a platysmaplasty.  Many patients in their 40s or 50s do not yet have significant platysmal banding and the neck can be addressed with the periauricular incision.  The lack of the submental incision makes the incisions less visible and the surgical time less. 

John Burns, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 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.