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What is the Difference Between a Full Face Lift and a Mini Facelift?

Can you please explain the difference between a full face lift and a mini facelift and if it is worth it...I am 62 years old..I live in New York City..My problem is the lower part of my forehead has very few lines and my neck is not saggy at all..I was also looking into lazer resurfacing.I want a procedure that is the least invasive..I want to look refreshed and natural and not like I had surgery...

Doctor Answers 38

Mini facelift lifts the cheek but not neck and brow

Thank you for your question.The mini facelift is best for someone like you who describes minimal aging of the forehead and neck with primarily loose skin in the mid face and jaw region.  A full facelift usually includes forehead the cheek the jawline and the neck.

Laser resurfacing can produce some skin tightening if properly done but if you have significant jowls and cheek laxity you would most likely be better off with a mini facelift.

Be sure to consult a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery who is experienced and face lift techniques.



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The difference between a full face lift and a mini facelift

A mini facelift procedure is a technique that benefits a person with relatively early features of facial ageing, including facial sagginess with deep facial lines (termed nasolabial folds) with or without early jowls (softening of the smooth jaw line) and some skin laxity in the cheeks and lower face. Key for suitability for a mini-facelift is relatively good skin elasticity and relatively mild changes in the lower third of your face and neck. The advantages of a mini facelift are a small incision and hidden scar with rapid recovery after surgery.

There are circumstances where a mini-facelift procedure is not adequate. If you have is substantial skin laxity, marked jowls, droopiness in the neck including vertical bands (termed platysmal bands). With these features usually from your 50s, a full facelift is required to provide a natural rejuvenation. A full facelift requires a larger incision as more surgery is required to lift and rejuvenate the face. The incision is longer as it needs to extend behind the ear into the hairline, principally to treat the increased skin laxity. At the same time the incisions can be largely hidden in natural creases and contours to avoid visible scars after surgery. The recovery from a full facelift is approximately 2-weeks, although the final result is 6-12 months later.

Key to a natural rejuvenation in both mini-facelift and full-facelift techniques include a meticulous attention to detail, lifting beneath the skin including the SMAS and deep soft tissue layers (to avoid a wind-swept appearance) and multi-layered closure (to avoid visible scars). Both techniques are effective at rejuvenating your face depending on your clinical needs, and an assessment is required to determine your individual needs and suitability for this facial surgery. Both techniques may be completed with other facial techniques including blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), fat transfer (volume rejuvenation), PRP (platelet rich plasma) and CO2 laser resurfacing to augment the natural results.

Full Facelift or Mini Facelift - What is the Difference?

A full or "traditional" facelift addresses the sagging upper and lower neck skin and (platysmal) vertical neck bands, jowls, lower and mid nasolabial folds and marionette lines. It involves incisions from the temple scalp, along the front of the ear (inside the mid part for women), behind the ear in the crease then along or into the scalp hair behind the ear towards the back of your neck with undermining of the skin and tightening of underlying support tissues.
A mini-facelift, or "short scar facelift" or as I call it in my practice, Lite Lift addresses all of the above except for the lower neck. The difference is that the incisions are shorter - basically the same description in front of the ear and temple scalp but ending at the level of the earlobe (in front or in back) - as much as 40% less scarring. Non board-certified surgeons sometimes just pull the skin back which certainly will not last as long as the procedure I just described.
Having performed both procedures for more than a decade, the results last about the same time however for redundant lower neck skin a traditional facelift is preferred. Most important choose your board certified plastic or facial plastic surgeon well and let him/her make the best decision for you.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

What is the Difference Between a Full Face Lift and a Mini Facelift?

Dear fif,

thank you for your question.  Although there are a lot of variations, a 'real' mini facelift, is better for suspension of muscle without a lot of skin laxity.  A Full facelift repositions the muscles and removes a great deal of skin laxity.  Laser therapy is good for fine lines, not for deep lines, such as 'jowls', etc.

Best Wishes,

Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Full facelift versus mini facelift

A mini- lift involves only lifting the jowls in the cheek area minimally tightening the cheeks, thereby giving a mini result. A comprehensive full face and neck lift involves lifting the jowls and cheeks,  tightening the neck muscles in 3 locations, and removal of neck  fat, and tightening up the neck skin is well. Please see the link below for  our facelift photo gallery

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Difference Between a Mini-Facelift and a Full Facelift (Traditional Facelift)

The mini-facelift is an excellent operation for the  patient who has facial laxity, jowling and some neck laxity.  A traditional facelift is a better operation for the patient who has more extensive facial laxity, jowling and a large amount of fatty tissue in the neck or a large degree of muscle banding (platysmal banding) in the neck.  The traditional facelift has an additional incision under the chin which allows for the muscle bands in the neck to be tightened and for the excess fatty tissue to be removed.   From the description of your facial aging, you would be an excellent candidate for a mini-facelift.  As far as the laser part of your question,  I have a Fraxel Repair laser which is the most advanced, effective laser to resurface sun damaged, wrinkled skin. I often do Fraxel resurfacing after a facelift to address the fine wrinkles that the facelift doesn't take care of. 

Jonathan Pontell, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

62 year old and need a lower facelift

At 62 you need a nice lower facelift that should take 4 hours or so.  Your eyelids may be done at the same time if you wish.  The mini facelift is a silly term that means not much will be done.  If you have mini expectations and are willing to accept not much as your final result, then you may be okay with a mini facelift.   My advice is save your money.  Mini lifts are a sad use of your hard earned dollars.  Get a real facelift from a well qualified and experienced ABPS and FACS surgeon.   My Best,  Dr C

What is the difference between a full facelift and a mini facelift?

A traditional facelift is a great option for a patient with more advanced
 signs of aging who wants to refresh their neck, jawline, and cheeks. A mini 
facelift rejuvenates the lower third of the face, including the jowls and 
neck. With a mini lift, there will not be as long of an incision, and the
 dissection is not as extensive. You will be in surgery for less time, the
recovery is easier, and the cost is lower. Depending on your individual 
circumstances, a mini facelift may be of benefit to you. Laser resurfacing will not
 address loose skin if it is present. It is difficult to provide you with any
 specific advice without seeing photos. I would recommend an in-person consult 
with a board certified facial plastic surgeon. He/she will be able to advise you 
following an exam. I hope this helps, and best of luck.

Paul S. Nassif, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Distinction between fullface and many facelift.

A full facelift takes care of aging from the lower eyelids to the clavicles. A mini facelift or any lesser procedure of a different name limits the treatment area to the cheek down to the angle of the jaw.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Full vs Mini

Facelifting is a very personalized art.  In most full facelifts the checks are elevated and the entire neck tightened.  A mini lift may be just the cheeks, just the neck, just the area under the chin, or just the midface..  Here is  a link that explains it:

Stuart H. Bentkover, MD
Boston Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 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.