Facelift Options? (photo)

Considering facelift. Consulted several surgeons. Various options. One surgeon discussed more traditional facelift with incisions starting near temple & ending about 2 inches or more from the back of the ear. 2nd surgeon discussed a mini facelift with an incision starting in the tragus area of the ear and ending about 1/2 to 1 inch from the back of the ear.I am leaning towards the 2nd surgeon. Any feedback you can give me would be helpful.

Doctor Answers 26

Facelift Options Full vs Mini

Thank you for your question. From your photo I believe that you will be most happy with ypour result if the cheeks, jawline and neck are all improved.

This will require an incision above, in front of and behind the ear. The incision in the Temporal area is necessary to lift the cheek. Behind the ear and under the chin is necessary to tighten and sculpt the neck and jaw line.

Do not worry about what the procedure is called. Your concern should be to achieve the result that will make you happy.

Mini- vs. Full Facelift

The decision between a 'mini-' vs a full facelift can be a difficult one. It is understandable that the concept of a smaller facelift is more appealing to most patients in the hopes that 'less is really the same'. But the reality is less is just that...less in most cases. Therefore do not get catch up in the benefits of smaller incisions and less recovery because the differences in most patients are not as great as it seems to you. Two or three weeks after surgery those issues will have no significance and all you will care about then is the result.  The important question is what do you hope to be achieved. If jowling is your major aging concern then any of the smaller facelift versions will likely be satisfactory. If your neck is an equal if not greater concern then a fuller version of a facelift will be more satisfactory. 

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Facelift options

With the right goals in mind, you will likely get a fantastic result with a facelift.  The length of the incisions don't matter as much as what they allow to happen - giving your surgeon access to the underlying tissue to reposition it and give you a natural, lasting result.  I would recommend you focus on what you want accomplished - neck, jawline, cheek rejuvenation, and discuss this with your surgeon.  The two of you should be able to come to a solution that works for you.

A good facelift means scars are hidden and hard to see, no matter how long they are - it's what happens to the rest of your face that should really help guide your decisions.

Hope this helps,


Jason J. Hall, MD, FACS
Knoxville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Most faces age synchronously so a full facelift is indicated more often than a mini.

The photo demonstrates some aging phenomena from the forehead down to the clavicles.  A full facelift will address the entire area.  A mini-facelift will only address a part of it.  I would ask to see representative work of both options so you can be sure you are getting what you want.  I would also suggest video imaging.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Facelift options

Certainly a 'mini' facelift or a shorter scar seems attractive, and surgeons use it often. The most important factor however will be what gives the best exposure and correction of the descended jowl, and correction of the neck. The length of the scar will depend on the skin redraping. Most of us would start at the top of the ear in a small 'S' to save the sideburn, and extend behind the ear only enough to manage the skin laxity and fully correct the neck. There is no easy right answer as we all have our preferrences. Just make certain your surgeon knows your goal so you don't get left short of expectation.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Facelift for sagging skin and jowls.

Facelift for sagging skin and jowls is done by neither of the opinions. You do not want the second one since that is a mini lift. The first is not ideal since it will raise your sideburns. You need a facelift with the incision inside the ear and as long behind as it needs to be to get the job done properly.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Choice of facelift incisions

The length of the scar is usually proportionate to the effectiveness of the result.  I do not see how a long lasting result can be obtained with the second approach. Perhaps you should compare results of the 2 surgeons on women who have similar aging changes.

Sheldon S. Kabaker, MD FACS
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Personal consultation needed to determine best facelift option

Thank you for your question about facelift options. There are so many nuances and variations that it is really not practical to advise based only on a picture. The length of the skin incision is only one variable, and probably the least important in terms of results. Facelifting is really a 3-dimensional operation that involves reshaping as much as skin pulling. With all of those qualifiers in mind, my guess is that the more traditional facelift would work best but I also believe in the minimal scar procedures such as MACS lift, S-lift, etc. so only the surgeons who have seen you personally can give specific advice.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Improving Tired, Puffy Eyes plus Chin and Neck Contours may be enough vs. Facelift

From what I can see in your photos, it seems you may not need a facelift at all until later down the road. Eyelid surgery (likely, lower blepharoplasty with no visible incisions) and surgery to improve the contours of your chin and neck (likely, submental liposuction with very minor, well hidden scar) may give you the sort of rejuvenation you're looking for at this point.

These two cosmetic surgeries combined would improve the puffy, tired look around your eyes and also improve the strength and contour of your chin. By improving the contours of your chin, this would also eliminate or substantially improve the angle underneath your chin in the upper neck, otherwise known as the submental area.


Again, photos only show so much. An in-person consultation would be very important to fully assess the best rejuvenation options for you and validate whether this lesser surgical approach would be valid to achieve the rejuvenation you desire. Good luck!


Michael R. Macdonald, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Facelift Options

I would need to examine you more closely than just small photo visualization, as I would like to know the quality of your skin, texture, tone and elasticity.  I hesitate to give a cursory opinion from these photos, but would suspect that I would opt for full facelift.  Please know, again, that I would much prefer to sit with you and perform a very  thorough examination before venturing a concrete opinion. 

Jonathan Ross Berman, M.D. , F.A.C.S.

Jonathan Berman, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

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