How Effective is a Mini Facelift?

Doctor Answers 31

Minilift vs facelift- - good medicine or predatory advertising?

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It is my opinion that the recent trend in advertising minilifts is predatory. Of course nobody wants to have a surgery that causes a long recovery time, or is expensive. And who need lab tests preoperatively when your minilift "surgeon" doesn't require any tests at all ( except the credit card clearance).

Enter the minilift. Quick recovery, perhaps even over lunchtime, no dangerous general anesthesia, low cost.


The real truth is in the results. Most patients having minilifts are expecting facelift results. If they don't get them, or if they have bad scarring from tightly closed incisions, they are disappointed in the results. You can see what the patient satisfaction was on the minilift boards, even on this website.

What patients are not adequately explained, in my opinion, is that the before and after pictures they are seeing on minilift sites look nothing like the actual results. They are not shown pictures of patients with horrific scarring; only clever patients who parse internet blog sites will find the truth and avoid mass market minilifts.

They are also not told that they have all the incisions of a facelift, but half the result. In saving an average of 1 1/2 hours of the doctors time and $5000 of their money, they get half the result.

They are not told about the pain of having surgery when you are awake, feeling needles, pulling and pain. Light general anesthetic with a board certified anesthesiologist suddenly sounds more appealing.

The recovery from a minilift is not much shorter than that for a real facelift performed by a skilled facelift surgeon. If the scars from the minilift are wide, the recovery and eventual revisional surgery will even be much longer.

Minilifts do have their place, in younger women who do not need a lot of deep tissue restructuring, perhaps, and in revision facelifts where the areas of concentration are more limited. However, to do a minilift in every patient for the reasons above is not the best medicine.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

How effective is a mini facelift?

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Mini facelifts minimize the skin incisions by avoiding extending the incision behind the ear and into the posterior scalp. Doing so will minimize the surgeon's ability in rejuvenating the upper neck. In such cases, only the jowl area can be rejuvenated and not the upper neck.

Having explained that, I believe that a mini facelift is effective in reducing jowls only, and as such would be appropriate for younger patients without aging signs in the neck.

Unfortunately, I have noticed that patients whom I would not consider candidates for any type of facelift surgery, getting mini facelift operations. Women as young as early forties undergoing surgery, in a misguided attempts at "maintaining their youth by having surgery early".

Maurice M. Khosh, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon

Mini Facelifts are as effective as the decision making by the Surgeon doing them

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Mini Facelifts in my practice follow all of the technical and surgical techniques that I would do in a traditional / full facelift. The key differences are: 1. Used for patients with mild to moderate facial aging therefore the incisions used are smaller 2. Incision is not done behind the ears as I consider this extension of the incision to be part of a traditional / full facelift procedure The Mini Facelift procedure I do addresses the SMAS layer the same way as deeper facelift techniques: 1. Dissecting below the SMAS to lift the jowls up 2. Suturing above the SMAS to reinforce the lifting achieved by doing the above When chosen for the right patients with the right anatomy the results achieved are exactly the same save for smaller incisions with quicker recovery time and the option of doing the procedure with local anesthesia. Patients with moderate to severe jowls and loose skin are not a candidate for a Mini Facelift and they should have a Full / Traditional / Deep Plane Facelift. Thank you, Dr. J

Kamran Jafri, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon

How Effective is a Mini Facelift?

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Mini Facelifts are very effective for the right patient. They are a facelift which tightens up the lower face, jawline and neck and is easy to undergo for $6-8500 under local anesthesia with dramatic natural results. Most patients benefit from the Mini Facelift but beware of the TV advertised mills which give substandard results and obvious scars. Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

We cannot ignore what the public demands

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  • Most patients demand improvement to facial laxity without a significant downtime. 
  • Most surgeons demand the procedure that will produce the best possible result.
  • The best possible result often demands more invasive techniques and greater downtime.

This mini lift debate arises from these opposing demands. For a time, I did not believe mini lifts had a role in facial plastic surgery (largely due to how I was trained). Since then I have seen many patients in their late 30s, 40s, and 50s who are bothered with facial laxity but still maintain active lifestyles. They do not need a full facelift, and the skin tightening technologies (radiofrequency, ultrasound, lasers, etc) can only do so much. These patients deserve surgical options and could benefit from a little "nip tuck". Now I believe mini lifts do have a role and employ them often to make patients very happy.

Another problem with the mini lift debate is that the procedure itself is not well defined. If you asked a group of surgeons the difference between a mini lift and standard facelift, you would get many different answers. We even cannot agree whether to spell it "mini lift", "minilift", or "mini-lift". Until we agree to standard definitions for the various types of lifts out there, the "mini lift" will continue to get a bad name as it is grouped with the "lunchtime lift" and perhaps even the "thread lift" (both poor options).

We define the mini lift as a deep plane procedure designed to specifically tighten jawline and upper neckline. It does not address the lower neck, upper face, or midface. But for many patients, this is enough to create a significant, enjoyable result.

Anand D. Patel, MD
Brookfield Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

How effective is a mini facelift

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If a mini-facelift is appropriate for your degree of facial laxity and aging (Sagging) then in the hands of a good surgeon with lots of experience it is a great procedure. You will look remarkably improved and younger with a very natural appearance. The procedure is terrific so long as you are not in need of a real full facelift for a bigger degree of aging problems. If you try to get away with a mini when a full facelift is needed you will be disappointed. Its simply a matter of degrees.....imagine if your whole house needs painting and you paint just one room you will be disappointed, on the other hand if your house is perfect except for just a small paint job needed in one room then doing that solves the problem. Its the same with your face....a mini for a small degree of aging and a full facelift for a larger degree of aging....same basic procedure only done to a smaller or larger degree depending on what is decided between the patient and the surgeon to get the desired results. All my full facelifts and minilifts are done exactly the same....... in my certified and fully equipped operating room, with oral sedation and local , easy , no bleeding, fast recovery, and same great results as when I used general anesthesia for 20 years.

Mini Facelift Effectiveness

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This is difficult qusetion as there are many definitions of a mini facelift.  Other terms include a lower facelift, a limited facelift, a skin only facelift, a minimal incision facelift, a short scar facelift and so on.  Even surgeons cannot agree on what each really means!  To further confuse you, there are companies that have tried to market special names that all imply a mini facelift.  These include a LifeStyle Lift, Quick Lift, S Lift, and so on.  

On the whole, a mini or limited facelift can be very effective if it is used for patients who need some moderate to minimal neck, jowl and jaw line line improvement.  I have added a web site reference to a recent blog article about this.

I hope that helps.  

Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews


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Properly performed, Mini-Facelifts are a legitimate and effective
alternative for facial rejuvenation. Shorter scars and faster
healing times make them very popular. Be cautious about hour-long
mini-facelifts that are marketed relentlessly on TV, or have catchy
names. They are often being performed by non-plastic surgeons.

Mini Facelift

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The term mini facelift can be confusing.  I would define this procedure as a limited or short scar facelift with no separate sub mental or neck incision with minimal work done to address the neck.  This procedure can be very effective for the right person.  Typically this person is in their 40s or 50s with mild to moderate gravitational aging in the lower face with good neck contour.

John L. Burns Jr., MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

How Effective is a Mini-Facelift

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In the right patient, a mini-facelift is very effective.  The decision to do a mini vs. a traditional facelift depends on the status of the neck.  In patients with a large degree of aging in the neck, the traditional facelift is more effective.  In patients with less aging in the neck, the mini is a great option.

Jonathan Pontell, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 113 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.