Does a mini facelift include tightening the muscles?

When a mini-facelift is done are the muscles tightened or just the skin. And how much is the price of the average mini facelift vs a full facelift

Doctor Answers 12

Does a mini facelift include tightening the muscles?

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  Hi, I have performed facelifts for over 30 years and have performed many minimally, invasive type facelifts.  While there are numerous names given to these types of facelifts, the specifics of how they are performed can vary between Facelift Surgeons, so it's important to know what exactly will be done.  

  Following the beauty principles outlined in my book on face and body beauty, women look the most feminine, youthful and attractive with heart shaped faces.  Heart shaped faces have cheeks that are full and round in the front.  Cheek augmentation with a dermal filler or using cheek implants for a permanent enhancement will create full, round cheeks that will feminize the entire face.

  "Jowls" are sagging facial tissues and an indication for some form of a SMAS facelift. The underlying SMAS (muscle) layer of the face must be dissected, lifted, trimmed and re-sutured (not merely folded or suspended with threads or sutures that will not last). The excess skin is then removed and the facelift incisions closed.

My most popular facelift is the minimally invasive, short incision facelift that has all the benefits of more invasive facelifts (traditional, mid-face and subperiosteal facelifts) but with these added benefits:

  • very small incisions
  • minimal tissue dissection = less bruising and swelling = rapid recovery
  • can be performed in 90 minutes or less, with or without general anesthesia
  • no incisions within the hair = no hair loss
  • excess fat can be removed
  • excess skin removed
  • cheeks, chin and jaw line can be augmented with dermal fillers (I prefer Restylane Lyft) or facial implants
  • most patients fly back home to parts all over the world in as little as 3 days post-op
I combine whatever facial shaping that's necessary with every facelift procedure.  When jowls are present, these should be done in concert and not alone or separately in order to create a naturally, more attractive face.

Hope this helps.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

About Facelifts and the Types of Techniques

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A #facelift is a surgical procedure designed to remove the major folds and wrinkles that form on our faces with age. Gravity, sun damage, smoking, living in a dry climate, and a variety of factors contribute to the aging process of our faces. Facelift techniques vary from patient to patient to give each person a procedure tailored to produce the best possible surgical result. A facelift will smooth out major folds and #wrinkles, #tighten the tissues beneath your skin, remove #sagging and excess skin. A facelift can also reduce excess skin around the #neck and #jawline.  

There is not just one facelift procedure, but a whole range of #facelift procedures. These different techniques have been developed over the years, involving different incisions and lifting the skin to varying degrees. A facelift may also involve the tightening of certain muscles and tissues, or liposuction of areas such as the jowls or chin.

It is important to understand that facelifts are meant to remove major folds and wrinkles, not fine wrinkles. A facelift which removes every line and fold would be too aggressive and would result in an unnatural result. Fine lines and #wrinkles are better addressed by skin treatments such as chemical peels or microdermabrasion, which we also offer at our office. 
Incisions vary depending upon whether the patient is male or female, the hairstyles, hairline, age, previous surgery, and other factors. Generally, the #incision starts in the temple, in front or within the hairline. It continues in front of the ear, sometimes partially hidden within the ear. It then goes under the earlobe, behind the ear fold, and ends within the hairline or at the hairline behind the ear. The newer, shorter scar #techniques, which do not include scars in or by the hairline, can be used for most patients. Frequently another small and hidden incision is made under the chin in a natural skin fold. This allows fat removal and tightening of the platysma muscle in the neck if required.

During your #consultation, your skin texture and elasticity, as well as your underlying skin structure and your facial bone structure will be evaluated. Based on this evaluation, your board certified plastic surgeons will create a custom surgical plan, detailing specific techniques and recommendations to meet your goals. In doing so, he or she should be sure to have a full understanding of what results you expect. If you are not a #candidate, your surgeon can make other suggestions to address your concerns and objectives.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Mini Facelift

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Thank you for your question. A  Mini Facelift has different meanings to different surgeons. It can either involve skin only or in combination with tightening of the muscle layer known as the SMAS. In my practice I tighten the SMAS if there is an element of a jowl. This will help contour the jawline and increase the longevity of the procedure. By tightening the SMAS it allows for the skin to be re-draped rather than pulled tightly for a more natural and soft look.The price of a Mini Facelift will vary greatly form city to city as well as the experience of the surgeon. I would recommend a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon as a good starting pointBest of LuckDrG

Lee A. Gibstein, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon

It will depend on the surgeon if the underlying SMAS layer is tightened as well as the skin.

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It will depend on the surgeon if the underlying SMAS layer is tightened as well as the skin. Personally, I do tighten the SMAS layer as well as the skin when performing a mini facelift, as I find that it provides longer lasting and better results. A mini lift will generally be less expensive than a full facelift, but you should never decide on a surgery based on price. Surgical procedures should be done in accordance with what is necessary to achieve the patient’s goals. If you will benefit from a mini lift alone, go ahead and do it, but if your skin is sagging enough to warrant a full facelift, I would strongly consider having the full facelift instead of the mini. I hope this helps.

Muscle Tightening

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Hi Whatcanmynamebe

Thanks for posting your question. Our mini face lift does tighten the muscle, however not all of them do.

Our Concept Facelift is less invasive than a traditional facelift and there is less scarring, bruising and swelling for a significantly quicker recovery period. This innovative procedure combines the latest surgical techniques with the use of local anaesthetic to dramatically reduce the risks associated with traditional facelifts, while significantly reducing the bruising and downtime of your recovery, from months to a matter of days. This is a combination of a SMAS lift and skin tightening that allows the procedure to have it's longevity without the trauma and invasiveness of a traditional facelift.

There is minimal bruising and swelling, especially when compared to traditional facelifts
As the procedure is performed under local anaesthetic, you can go straight home following the procedure
Full recovery in a matter of days rather than months
Significantly less risk than Facelifts performed under general anaesthetic
Fresh, youthful and long lasting results

Do your homework and find a reputable and experienced surgeon to talk over your desired results.

Mini-Facelift Cost

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Thank you for submitting a wonderful, and common question. I think most plastic surgeons would agree that even a smaller facelift (ie a mini-facelift) should have the muscles tightened. Specifically, the SMAS layer of the lower face should be tightened to give most of the actual result. The skin is also tightened, but not to the same extent as the muscle (to prevent scarring and pulled earlobes). I would avoid any procedure that does not tighten the underlying muscles. As far as cost, minilifts typically cost anywhere between 55-75% of the full cost of a lower facelift/necklift. Depending on where you live, you can expect to spend anywhere from $3500-$9,000 for this procedure. Be sure to seek a board certified surgeon who performs this procedure weekly in his/her practice. Good luck!

Paul Lanfranchi, DO, FAOCO
Las Vegas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Mini facelift (limited-incision facelift)

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Thanks for your questions. What exactly is considered a "mini lift" varies by surgeon. However, it tends to mean that we use a shorter incision near the ear to lift the skin, tighten the "muscle" layer (the supportive, deeper tissues of the cheek/neck), and then conservatively remove excess skin. It can provide great results that last. Sometimes we combine that with liposuction of the neck area, or by adding fat volume to the cheeks; it just depends. I'd suggest getting a few consultations with plastic surgeons near you. Best wishes.

Paul J. Leahy, MD
Leawood Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews


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When I perform a minilift, I elevate and tighten the underlying thick connective tissue (SMAS layer) and the skin. Addressing the SMAS layer is key to having excellent long-term results that can set the clock back 10-15 years. Minilifts can be divided into 2 basic categories: minilift of the face and minilift of the neck. A minilift of the face addresses the cheek and jawline, and includes the temple area in some cases. The underlying thick connective tissue (SMAS layer) and the skin in front of the ear and sometimes into the temple are elevated. The procedure restores the contour in the jawline, marionette lines, and the lower nasolabial fold in a natural way. The incisions are hidden behind the hairline and the cartilage of the ear, and stops behind the ear. A minilift of the neck is similar and hides the incisions behind the ear and into the hairline. Neck liposuction can be performed through a small incision under the chin, and if muscle bands are present, a platysmaplasty can be performed. The procedure elevates the loose skin back and brings the contour back to the neck. If you combine the neck lift and minilift of the face together, you get a lower facelift (or what is traditionally called a facelift). The lower facelift for me addresses from the temporal area, including the jaw line and down to the clavicle. In order to determine if any of these procedures are best for you, a proper physical exam in necessary by a board certified facial plastic surgeon.

Corey S. Maas, MD
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

What does a minifacelift mean

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A minifacelift generally involves tightening of the SMAS layer which connects to the muscles in addition to skin tightening.  Not everyone does it this way.  Some surgeons only tighten skin and others tighten both, and the amount of tightening is surgeon dependent.  In our practice, we perform an extended tightening of the SMAS to make the lift last even longer. 

Mike Majmundar, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Facelift terminology and technique

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Thank you for the question. The terms used in facelift and neck lift surgery are, unfortunately, not consistent. The best way to clarify what is done and what you can expect is to discuss this directly with potential surgeons during your consultation. In my practice, when I do a "mini-lift", the muscle/connective tissue layer of the lower face is tightened. The treatment of the neck depends on what the patient needs -- for people with significant neck laxity or hanging muscle bands, a more involved procedure may be needed.

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.