Mini Facelift Vs. Full Facelift: Which is Best?

A mini lift sounds sooo much more appealing to me.  less expensive...less invasive...can get rid of my sagging skin and jowls. why would i opt to get full facelift surgery?

Doctor Answers 136

Full Facelift, Mini Lift, Liquid Facelift Which is Best?

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Surgical or even non-surgical treatment of facial aging changes must be carefully individualized to match each patient's aesthetic needs and desires. In helping a patient to make decisions about plastic surgery for facial rejuvenation, I always examine and assess how each aesthetic area or 'unit' of the face contributes to an individual's overall appearance: the brows and eyelids, the cheeks or 'midface', the lower face and chin, and the neck. An individualized plan is then developed which addresses each patient's specific concerns and needs.
A "liquid facelift" is a procedure that is performed using temporary dermal fillers like Juvederm Restylane or Perlane. There is little to no downtime with a liquid facelift. This might be an ideal treatment for some, but the results are temporary and it does not address excess skin.
Structural fat grafting, sometimes referred to as microfat grafting can provide fullness to lips, cheeks, hollowed upper or lower eyelids and can fill lines and wrinkles on the face. Unlike the liquid facelift, the results from structural fat grafting can be permanent
Laser Skin tightening is a non-invasive treatment with little to no downtime. For individuals with early signs of aging, uneven skin tone, scarring or large pores a laser skin tightening procedure can provide dramatic results.
Full Facial rejuvenation or a full facelift may be the answer for some. Some people looking for facial rejuvenation are interested in the lower face, midface and eyes, others are interested in one area only. Surgical treatment of facial aging changes must therefore be carefully individualized to match each patient's aesthetic needs and desires. No two 'facelifts', by necessity, are the same. In helping a patient to make decisions about plastic surgery for facial rejuvenation, I always examine and assess how each aesthetic area or 'unit' of the face contributes to an individual's overall appearance: the brows and eyelids, the cheeks or 'midface', the lower face and chin, and the neck. An individualized surgical plan is then developed which addresses each patient's specific concerns and needs.
Consult with a plastic surgeon who has experience and expertise in both surgical and non-surgical facial rejuvenation to determine the treatment plan that is best for you.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

This is a more complicated question than it may seem,...

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This is a more complicated question than it may seem, because there are so many variations on facelift and mini-facelift techniques, and such a range of conditions needing treatment.

The key is to individualize the treatment to the condition; some may benefit from tightening the neck only, others the midface, and so on.

Another key is to recognize that facial rejuvenation is a 3-dimensional issue, not one simply of skin tightening or wrinkle filling. The general trend is for less invasive procedures that accomplish a lot of what used to be done more invasively, so a "full facelift" may be less of an ordeal than many people imagine, and with very natural-looking results.

I would caution against anything that seems like a cookie-cutter approach, for the above reasons. To find out what is best for you, see a plastic surgeon who is also able to offer a full range of nonsurgical and minimally invasive options.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

When my patients ask this question, I look at the neck...

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When my patients ask this question, I look at the neck area to determine which type of lift will be the most helpful. The main difference in my practice between the minilift and the facelift is the amount of correction that the neck acheives. The minilift is the portion of the facelift that addresses the midface and jowls. A facelift is the minilift component, added with the neck lift component. The necklift uses incisions behind the ear, as well as a tiny incision under the chin.

The ideal candidate for the minilift is someone who has minimal issues in the neck area. Excess jowl tissue and skin laxity, combined with minimal banding and small amount of excess skin and fat is made significantly better with a minilift. Significant banding and excess skin would be best handled with a facelift, which adds the necklift component.

Doctors who are well qualified, will be able to offer you the best, most customized facelift for you. If someone only offers a minilift in his/her office I would be wary. I usually do facelifts in an accreditied facility, whereas the minilifts can be done in the office or in the operating room depending on patient preference.

Benjamin Bassichis, MD, FACS
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

Mini face lift vs. standard face lift: First consider the indications

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Patients should understand that there are specific indications for both a mini and standard facelifts. When surgeons attempt to sell patients on maximal results with fewer or shorter scars, it is the patient that ultimately is left dissatisfied.

When patients do elect for a mini-facelift, it is my recommendation that they complement the surgical procedure by having less invasive and complimentary procedures performed at the same time, i.e. Botox, Radiesse, Juvederm, fat grafting, or laser skin resurfacing. We are now seeing a plethora of surgeons offering volume-only restoration to the face. While these can produce wonderful, albeit temporary results, I found the best solution is usually a combination.

One concept the patient should not overlook in deciding between a lesser or more extensive facelift procedure is the issue of “facial harmony.” By improving and rejuvenating only the midface, and not addressing the brow and the neck (because of the limitations of a mini-facelift), this will often accomplish an artificial or incomplete surgical appearance. Only your surgeon will be able to dictate whether your specific aesthetic goals can be addressed through such a lesser procedure. The advantages are intuitive, but if only done for the right indication.

It is always my recommendation that patients spend enough quality time with their surgeon reviewing example pre- and post-operative photographs.

In my opinion, the approach to facelifts are dramatically different than for example, a breast augmentation. There is no one solution or technique that should be applied to every patient.

Jeffrey D. Hoefflin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

The minilift alternative - sometimes yes, sometimes no

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A "minilift" is an acceptable alternative if a patient has relatively minimal indications (mild jowling without significant changes in the neck). However, patients seeking correction of loose skin, moderate to heavy jowling, and/or a heavy neck will be quite underwhelmed with a "minilift" result.

Another risk of "minilift" procedures (when performed for patients with the correct indications) is that if the changes aren't too bad to begin with, the result may not provide enough change or for a long enough time to make a patient happy. Likewise, if a "minilift" is performed on a patient with true indications for an extended facelift (midface, jowl, neck elevation), the patient is likely to be less than satisfied.

The problem in SW Florida is that most of my patients have indications that exceed my threshold for performing a "minilift." In general, most of my patients with "minilift" indications opt to have fillers or Botox, and I think this is a better choice for them.

As others have stated in this forum, there is no standardization of terminology in facelift procedures. One surgeon's minilift may be entirely different and less substantive than anothers, so buyer beware.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

There is not an easy answer for that question. When...

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There is not an easy answer for that question.

When considering cosmetic surgery, determine what your goals are. Then seek out an experienced surgeon with a wide range of options to get those desired results.

A "mini-face lift" is a good alternative for some people and all that some people may require. For patients with more drastic aging changes, a mini-lift can be performed, but the results will not be as dramatic or long-lasting as a bigger procedure, such as an extended SMAS or deep plane facelift.

Another problem with this question is that there is no standard terminology when it comes to facelift procedures. One surgeon's mini-lift may be another surgeon's standard facelift because the surgeon's patient populations are different.

As noted by some of the other contributors, there are other non-surgical options for skin rejuvenation available today including injectible fillers, facial resurfacing, and even makeup. A surgeon with a large array of treatment options will be able to tailor your treatment plan to get the best compromise between the results you want and the risk you are willing to take.

Beware of surgeons or other healthcare providers who only have one or two options available - they may try to sell you only what they have available and not what actually is best for you.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

Mini Facelift versus Full Facelift

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There are lots of names for different lifting procedures, but the most important common denominator in all good lifts is that the SMAS layer is addressed. The SMAS is a fibrous muscular layer under the skin where the surgeon finds the strength and support he or she needs to establish a natural and long-lasting result.

The word "mini" probably refers to a limited dissection and undermining of the skin, which of course is different in each individual, just as the incision length can be different for each individual (whether a "short scar" or a more extended scar is used), depending on the amount and laxity of the skin. What is necessary is a detailed examination of the skin and soft tissues of the face and neck, preferably by a surgeon who performs these procedures regularly and has many before and after photographs of different patients at different stages of aging.

David H. Harley, MD
Asheville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 183 reviews

A mini facelift (Lifestyle Lift, S Lift etc.) produces a...

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A mini facelift (Lifestyle Lift, S Lift etc.) produces a mini result that lasts for a mini length of time but has the maxi of scars.

Don't deceive yourself into hoping you will get the result of a well done facelift from a mini procedure. My best advice is to use skin care, IPL lasers, Botox and dermal fillers until you are ready for the right surgery done by an expert whose results look like what you are hoping for.

Mini facelift vs traditional facelift

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The debate over minifacelift vs full facelift is often discussed. The most important word in your question is "jowls". The jowl is one of the hardest areas of the face to correct in a significant way and the best way to do this is with a vertical facelift. This requires a skin elevation to the region near the mouth. The vertical facelift can be done through a short scar or traditional scar (the difference is negligable) but the skin elevation from the ear to the mouth region would not be considered a mini facelift in my book. If there is just a little saggyness to the neck and jawline then a mini facelift or more limited dissection can work very nicely but for more significant aging with jowls and marionette lines the vertical facelift is much more likely to make you happy.

Jason B. Diamond, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Full Facelift/necklift not Minilift Required to Correct Jowls and Sagging Neck

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A mini facelift is just thatr -mini. A mini Facelift can improve the cheek and brow and help the jaw line near the ear.

However if you have Jowls and Sagging Neck Skin you will need a full Facelift and Neck Lift.

If you compromise on price and choose a less effective procedure you will be disappointed with your result, will feel you wasted your money, and probably end up having a second full lift to get the result that you had hoped for.

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.