Mini-lifts: Aren't They Sometimes Warranted?

I am 36, I gained and lost a significant amount of weight several years ago that led to excess skin. I have remained very trim the past several years, but due to genetics and the weight loss, my lower face looks like a hound dog's. My upper eyes were always a bit droopy, my upper face in general is fine, but below my cheek area sort of hangs. My brow, upper face, neck are great. I was thinking mini lift+upper bleph? I am worried about the neg mini lift comments.

Doctor Answers 17

Mini facelifts give mini results for a mini length of time

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If you have had significant weight loss, in most instances, a mini lift will not work as well as a full lift.  The point is not to do a mini because it "sounds" more appealing to you but to do what your anatomy and skin require for the best and longest lasting result.  The scars and recovery are almost the same between a mini and a full lift so get the proper one. 

When do mini-lifts work well?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Mini-lifts can be used effectively when sagging problems occur in specific areas of the face and neck.  The problem is with the term "mini-lift" since it can mean different things for different surgeons.  It sounds like your neck, forehead, and lower eyelids are OK.  The main problem is the area between your lower eyelids and your neck, called the "midface and jowls".  This area can usually be significantly improved by an endoscopic midface lift.  Since the incisions are all hidden in your hairline, this qualifies in my book as a "mini-lift", even though you will still have 10 days of swelling and bruising that you will have to contend with (longer in some patients).  An effective midface lift will improve your cheek and to a lesser degree your jowls, leaving you feeling much better about how this part of your face looks.  You may also benefit from a limited upper eyelid lift.  I would encourage you to see a competent surgeon skilled at midface lifts in your area for a full evaluation.  Hope that helps!

Minas Constantinides, MD
Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon

Mini lift for signs of large weight loss

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Mini lifts are difficult to perform correctly.  The skill level is just as high as for more invasive facelift procedures.  In our practice, we believe that deep layers should be restructured and brought higher in almost every patient who also requires "a little tightening".

If the minilift you are contemplating involves a branded minilift performed under local anesthesia by a dubious practitioner, with just a little skin removed in front of the ear and closed under tension, your results will likely reflect this.  An average quality or poorly done minilift will yield visible scarring, distortion of the earlobe and tragus, alteration of the hairline, and a sweep mark indicating surgery was done.

An expert facelift surgeon will pay great attention to the ear configuration, maintaining an unaltered appearance of the face, and keeping the direction of pull and incisions minimally undetectable or undetectable.

Minilifts are indeed warranted, in the right patient.  But what a minilift is and what the results are variy widely.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

When are modified facelifts of benefit

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Mini Facelift” is a generalized “catch all” term that can mean different things depending on the doctor you ask. This often makes the real definition difficult for a patient to pin down. It typically only addresses the skin. The, LiteLift™, however, addresses the deeper muscle layer providing the patient with a thorough, natural, long lasting result.
Who are the best candidates?Any healthy individual wishing to address the signs of laxity oraging in the lower face and neck. Anyone interested in a refreshed look. This can be from weight loss, genetics and family traits, or aging.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

When to get a mini lift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Yes. Sometimes surgery is required even at an earlier age. Everyone ages differently and everyone has unique surgery goals. Therefore, you should consult with a qualified plastic surgeon so that the two of you can work together to develop a realistic treatment plan that will make you feel better about yourself.

For instances, one of my patients was a young male who wanted cosmetic surgery in order to achieve his desired facial appearance, thus boosting his self esteem. Watch the video to learn about his procedure.

Babak Azizzadeh, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Nothing wrong with Mini Face Lifts

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

  I have performed all sorts of Face Lift variations for over 20 years and Minimum Incision Face Lifts (Mini Face Lifts) work great if they are done properly and in the proper setting.  The issue is that the word "Mini Face Lift" has been cloned to include a simple temple scalp incision to pull up some loose skin as well as a surgical resection, lifting of the SMAS with 2 inches of skin removal and all variations inbetween...when clearly they all will have different levels of facial rejuvenation.

If you do a bit of homework, you can find a surgeon who dissects the skin, trims and tightens the SMAS, removes excess skin and shapes the Cheek area (if needed).  That's how we perform our Minimum Incision Face Lift and it's very effective.  Other variations using threads, suture lifts, IMHO...not so much.  I created this Minimum Incision Face Lift to address facial and neck aging in patients in their 30's and 40's that would traditionally not be suitable candidates for a traditional Face Lift and Neck Lift.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Candidate for Mini-lift Surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi bebo -

A mini-lift can mean different things to different surgeons. There is a role for the"minilift" in individuals would have aging changes of the cheek and jowl areas. The minilift can often be combined with other rejuvenating procedures such as eyelid surgery, fillers, etc. A consultation and review of before and after pictures will give you a good idea of what is possible with mini-lift surgery.


Tom Kaniff

Thomas E. Kaniff, MD, FACS
Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 25 reviews


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Mini-Facelifts will give mini results, but that may be adequate for some patients because all cosmetic procedures should be individualized. Having said that, a more extensive lift may be necessary for someone like you who says that your lower face looks like a "hound dog's". If you send pictures we will be happy to make recommendations for you. As lon as your eyebrows are in good position, an upper lid blepharoplasty would be appropriate.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Mini Lift is a possibility

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If your upper face and neck are indeed in "good shape" then a mini-lift may be a good option for you. A true mini-lift or short-scar facelift is perfect for someone who needs improvement in the jowl are, sharpening along the jawline and repositioning of the cheek area. It does very little for the neck unless additional procedures are added.  One thing that you must consider is that there are different types of mini-lifts (some are truly minimal) and results can vary based upon who performs the procedure.  It is not worth having a procedure if it is minimal and does not address all of your needs.  My mini-lifts are multi-layered lifts just like a traditional facelift, but limit the surgery to the face.  I only offer them as a single procedure to patients who do not need correction on their necks.  Make sure to ask about the technique and how it varies from a traditional facelift.

Edgar Franklin Fincher, MD, PhD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Mini lifts are seldom indicated.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Just saw a lady with a minilift and 3 revisions.  She needs a full facelift and will get an excellent result.  Most patients age synchronously and benefit by a thorough operation.  I do one "mini" facelift for every 50 thorough lifts.

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.