Is there a difference bet "full" and "partial"{Rhytidectomy} Facelift? What, if any are differences? (photo)

In speaking with surgeon, he said they were used interchangeably, basically same thing but answer rather vague. quoted price 5500 $. I thought I was going for full face lift but noticed I was sent home with rhytidectomy paper-work/consent. confusing

Doctor Answers 22

Mini vs full facelift

Terminology can be confusing so its important to seek clarification from your plastic surgeon.  Generally speaking, the difference between a partial or mini facelift and a full facelift is the extent of work performed, particularly around the neck area.  A mini facelift may be of benefit in younger patients with very little excess skin or sag, incisions are smaller and the procedure doesn't take as long.  Little if any tightening of the neck results from a mini facelift and results tend to be short lived. A full facelift address skin laxity of the neck, cheeks and upper face.  I prefer the SMAS lift technique due to superior correction of neck laxity.  Based on the price you quoted alone, it would appear to be for a mini facelift.

Mini lift versus full face lift

 A mini lift(partial)  tends to give mini results. A comprehensive(full) lower face and neck lift addresses tightening loose facial and neck muscles, tightening loose facial and neck skin, and removes fatty deposits in the neck. For many examples, more information and our price list, please see the link and video below

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 129 reviews

Is there a difference bet "full" and "partial"{Rhytidectomy} Facelift? What, if any are differences?

Yes terminology can confuse even us doctors. In 1992 in Clinics of Plastic Surgery, the late Dr Rex A. Peterson (out of Phoenix, Az) pages 415 to 423 describes in details the different facelift types. There are mini, midi, full. Based upon your fee of $5,000 you had a mini facelift ONLY.. 

Difference between "full" and "mini" facelift

The main difference between the two facelifts is that there is more involvement in a “full” facelift. A “full” facelift extends into the temples and lifts the upper face; whereas a “partial” or “mini” facelift is correcting the cheeks and jawline and is less extensive. The best way to know what type of facelift you would need is to consult a facial plastic surgeon.

Edward J. Gross, MD
Orlando Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Different Definitions for Different Doctors

Good question. There are no real definitions for a "mini" lift and for a "full" lift. They mean different things to different doctors. Usually a mini lift will give mini results, and a full lift will give more dramatic and longer-lasting results. It is important that you go over what exactly will be performed by your physician. Generally, a full lift could include an incision below the chin to tighten the neck, as well as incisions in front of and behind the ear in order to raise the jowls and further tighten the neck. Liposuction can be used at the same time, as well. A mini lift can refer to anything less than that, often referring to no incision in the chin region and limiting the incision to only in front of the ear. Limiting the incision will limit the amount of dissection and will therefore give less of a result — hence the term "mini." Good luck with your decision and your procedure.

What is a partial and what is a full face lift

Thank you for your question about your face lift.

Different surgeons use partial and full face lift to mean the same thing - and others draw a distinction.
A face lift (rhytidectomy) traditionally refers to lifting of the lower face and neck.

A 'full' face lift however can mean face lift, plus upper and lower lid eye lid lifts and a brow lift.
The price suggests you are having the standard lower face and neck lift.
But it is essential that you talk with your surgeon to understand what he plans to do.


Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope this information helps. Best wishes.

Many variations to the term "facelift".

The important thing is that you understand that technique that your surgeon is going to use and what impact that will have on the appearance of your face.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Rhytidectomy/Facelift

Dear boboingo,
A rhytidectomy and facelift are the same operations. Facelift terminology has become so distorted over the years that it is extremely difficult to define exactly what exactly is done in a mini-lift versus a full facelift. Traditionally a facelift addresses the face from the corner of the eye down to the neck. This is what is traditionally called a facelift or lower facelift, as the lower lids, upper lids and brow are not considered to be part of a facelift. A mini-lift traditionally is useful for people in their 30s or 40s who need some minor improvement to their jowls and jaw line but really do not have any significant sag of the lower face and neck. The incisions used in a mini-facelift are generally the anterior incisions only and not incisions that are either in the submental under-chin crease or behind the ears.

Is there a difference bet "full" and "partial"{Rhytidectomy} Facelift? What, if any are differences?

In my practice a full facelift includes the face and neck. When the neck is not done I refer to it as simply a facelift or upper facelift. Each plastic surgeon has their own system of naming facial procedures so it is important to specifically ask the plastic surgeon that you choose.

Different Names for Different Facelifts

The average person can get confused about what the many different names for different types of facelifts actually represent.  I refer to a complete facelift, that deals with the 3 regions of the face and neck, the upper third (temple and forehead), the middle third (cheeks and jowls), and the lower third (neck).  A partial or regional lift might deal just with one of these regions, such as a cheek lift, a neck lift, or an upper cheek/temple or even forehead lift.   A facelift, complete or partial, will include working under the skin to firm up the skin and repositioning some of the underlying soft tissues such as fat and muscle.  This reduces wrinkles and creates a more youthful shape and smoothness.  So-called mini lifts usually refer to less extensive procedures than a standard lift and consist of more limited work under the skin in a much smaller area.  These procedures will not achieve as much correction of aging changes as more comprehensive lifts but might be appropriate for younger patients with early, modest changes such  as just a little looseness and wrinkling.  Many doctors have given their own name to some of these more limited lifts for marketing purposes.  It would be important for you to have a thorough discussion with a plastic surgeon who is experienced in facelifting.  Describe just what aging changes bother you and listen to his/her discussion of what is causing these problem areas, and be sure you understand the explanation of how the proposed surgery will help improve these changes.

Richard G. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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.