Minilift vs facelift- - good medicine or predatory advertising?
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.
How effective is a mini facelift?
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".
Mini Facelifts are as effective as the decision making by the Surgeon doing them
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.
How Effective is a Mini Facelift?
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,
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.
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.
How Effective is a Mini-Facelift
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.
Effectiveness of a Mini Facelift
Mini facelifts tend to give you “mini” results especially if you have all of the ramifications of aging. I would consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon that can guide you through this process to allow for natural facial rejuvenation using techniques such as the “Lift & Fill” facelift techniques that are proven to have long-term positive effects in restoring facial rejuvenation in a natural manner.
Not every patient will need an extensive facelift. A mini-lift can address isolated areas of facial expression but cannot substitute for a full face lift in most cases. All plastic surgeons perform modifications of a facelift that are characterized as a mini-lift.
Mini lift effectiveness vary based on techniques
I do not think that it is very fair to call all mini facelift bad and all regular facelifts good, or even better. It has to do with the technique, with experience, extensiveness of surgery and so on.
I don't know about you, but I am completely confused about the variety of branded facelifts out there. We can complain about it, however, it is the reality of life. The problem is that with plastic surgery going more mainstream, the consumer expects more mainstream names for the procedures.
As a patient, as a consumer, would you rather sign up for a EZ lift procedure, or for a minimal access cranial suspension rhytidectomy with platysmaplasty, subplatysmal lipectomy, digastric plication, suction lipoplasty with modified finger assisted malar elevation procedure? What if both of them are same?
I have seen physicians performed skin only facelift surgery and call it traditional facelift. I have seen SMAS plication, SMAS excision, and MACS lift called traditional facelift and mini facelift at the same time by different surgeons. I have seen mini facelifts take longer than traditional facelift. My point is that each individual facelift, or mini facelift procedures, has to be analyzed based on its own merit and technique utilized. So far, majority of negative publicity toward mini facelifts is based on the name alone. There are as many techniques for mini facelift, as traditional facelifts.
Micro-lifts, day lifts, mini lifts, SMAS lifts, traditional facelifts, composite facelifts are all parts of a single continuum called facial rejuvenation surgery. As the consumer, as the patient, it is up to you to decide which procedure fits in your lifestyle and your budget.
To avoid the confusion related to names, I would not focus on the specific name of the procedure, but rather understand what exactly is going to be done. Ask your board certified surgeon to explain you the recovery time, anticipated improvements of various techniques and compare them to the other alternative procedures. Based on that, you can determine which procedure is right for you.
I encourage you to visit my article page on this website describing various facial rejuvenation techniques in lay language format. I hope, you find it helpful and useful.
Boris Volshteyn M.D., M.S.