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 125

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

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

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

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Mini lifts for mini laxity

In a young patient with minimal skin looseness, a mini lift may be just the right thing.

In older patients or patients with significant jowl and neck looseness, the mini lift simply won't have the degree of pull necessary to tighten up the jawline and smooth the neck. It may be necessary to augment lost volume, tighten and restructure loose deep tissues and perform other small procedures if the patient is to have a harmonious result.

Many patients are disappointed to find out that their "mini-lift" had the same incisions as a full facelift, but only half the result, since no deep restructuring was done. And if the incisions were closed unskillfully, the scars for many mini-lifts can be horrific.

Far, far more important than what technique you choose is the judgment of an experienced facelift surgeon which procedure will get you the best results.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 119 reviews

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

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
4.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

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

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.

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

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

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

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.

Mini lifts are for minimal facial aging

A mini-facelift or short-scar facelift is an appropriate facelift for the patient with minimal signs of facial aging, minimal skin laxity, minimal jowling and minimal looseness in the neck.

A full facelift is more appropriate for patients with greater signs of aging including greater facial skin laxity, worse jowling and more neck skin excess and looseness. The scars should be minimally noticeable with either technique as long as too much tension is not placed on the skin.

Sanjay Grover, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 156 reviews

The minilift alternative - sometimes yes, sometimes no

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 68 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.