What is the Difference Between a Full Face Lift and a Mini Facelift?

Can you please explain the difference between a full face lift and a mini facelift and if it is worth it...I am 62 years old..I live in New York City..My problem is the lower part of my face...my forehead has very few lines and my neck is not saggy at all..I was also looking into lazer resurfacing.I want a procedure that is the least invasive..I want to look refreshed and natural and not like I had surgery...

Doctor Answers 43

Full vs Mini

Facelifting is a very personalized art.  In most full facelifts the checks are elevated and the entire neck tightened.  A mini lift may be just the cheeks, just the neck, just the area under the chin, or just the midface..  Here is  a link that explains it:

Boston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

What is the Difference Between a Full Face Lift and a Mini Facelift?

Great question. As a young Plastic Surgeon in the late 1980's and early 1990's I observed a now retire PS doing facelifts in less than an hour +. While in other cases he took 3 to 4 hours. This was my first experience with a "modification" of the standard "full" facelift! He told me do what is necessary not to over operate. But he was using the same terminology of just a facelift, and charging the same fees. Than in April of 1992 in the "Clinics of Plastic Surgery", Dr Rex Petersen on page 417 authors the position paper/article introducing the terms mini-tuck, midi-tuck, & full face-lifts. Each has its own possible modifications and/or additions (i.e.: SMAS lifts/plications, liposuctions, sub mental procedures, malar issues, forehead/brow lifts) . Thus today we see "coined" names for these operations, so many that a goggle search would be thousands of hits. I now use the terminology- mini facelift, midi facelift, full facelift to give a division in labeling. And I charge from $6,000, $8,000, $10,000 respectively as a starting fee. Ofcourse healing is much shorter with the first two, as in the amount of surgery. Patient selection is paramount. Do not do a mini if the patient really needs a full. So basically see a boarded PS who has experience with face lifting. Good luck. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Full Facelift Vs Mini Facelift

Facial rejuvenation is a procedure that is customized for each person based on their goals and the areas of concern they would like to address. A full facelift might include everything from neck, midface, eyes and brow. On the other hand, a young person might have concerns with limited jowls and hollow upper eyelids. It is important to assess each person as an individual and provide a surgical plan based on the specific goals of that individual.

The desire to have a natural looking result seems to be universally popular, However, people can define what constitutes a natural result differently. The first step in selecting a plastic surgeon for you may be looking at many, many before and after images to see if you and a surgeon you are considering share an aesthetic ideal. Viewing photos is just the first step. You only have one face, so carefully investigating the training, safety record and experience of your plastic surgeon is very important.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

Difference between a full facelift vs a mini facelift

In my experience, a “minfacelift” is usually not indicated in most patients as it is a minimal skin tightening procedure only that lasts for a short time period.  A real or full LIFT and FILL facelift reshapes your lower face and neck area and restores your central facial fat loss so you have a truly natural and youthful face and not one the is windswept! The major key to success in cosmetic facial surgery is how well you choose your facelift surgeon so please make sure you have a true expert in facial aging and cosmetic facial surgery and that they are board certified in plastic surgery.  They should also have expertise and significant experience in facial cosmetic surgery, especially facelifting and necklifting surgery.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Full Face Lift v Mini Lift

Hi Fif628

If your skin is loose, sagging or creating the appearance of jowls you may be a good candidate for Concept™ Facelift Surgery. This type of Rhytidectomy is unique as the facelift is performed under local anaesthetic, and is less invasive than traditional methods, meaning the cosmetic surgery has a significantly faster recovery time.

The cosmetic procedure is similar to a mini facelift as it is performed with a short scar that runs in front of the ear, down to the ear lobe and tucked behind the ear. There will be no dressings or drains afterwards. This is performed as a day case, walk in-walk out procedure with minimal bruising and downtime.

Do your homework and find a qualified and reputable surgeon. Best of Luck

Full Facelift vs Mini Facelift

A mini face lift is usually performed on someone with early features of aging. For example, deep wrinkles, skin laxity in cheeks, and facial sagginess. This procedure has a faster recovery time and smaller incision than a full face lift. A patient with substantial skin laxity and droopiness in the neck would benefit from a full face lift. This procedure would require a longer recovery time and a larger incision.

Jeffrey Weinzweig, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

What Really is a Mini Facelift?

You ask a great question and one I am asked quite frequently. The facelift is the most personalized aesthetic surgery procedure a plastic surgeon performs. One size does not fit all, especially in the area of facial rejuvenation.

The bottom line: the way your face ages is as unique to you as your face itself.

A facelift changes the actual shape of your face by manipulating the tissue underneath to restore a more youthful appearance. It is not about pulling on the skin. This area, more than any other, requires true artistry as well as surgical technique. It is very difficult to achieve real and lasting rejuvenation with a procedure that takes less than an hour and promises no recovery time.

I explain more in the video.

David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

The difference between a full face lift and a mini facelift

A mini facelift procedure is a technique that benefits a person with relatively early features of facial ageing, including facial sagginess with deep facial lines (termed nasolabial folds) with or without early jowls (softening of the smooth jaw line) and some skin laxity in the cheeks and lower face. Key for suitability for a mini-facelift is relatively good skin elasticity and relatively mild changes in the lower third of your face and neck. The advantages of a mini facelift are a small incision and hidden scar with rapid recovery after surgery.

There are circumstances where a mini-facelift procedure is not adequate. If you have is substantial skin laxity, marked jowls, droopiness in the neck including vertical bands (termed platysmal bands). With these features usually from your 50s, a full facelift is required to provide a natural rejuvenation. A full facelift requires a larger incision as more surgery is required to lift and rejuvenate the face. The incision is longer as it needs to extend behind the ear into the hairline, principally to treat the increased skin laxity. At the same time the incisions can be largely hidden in natural creases and contours to avoid visible scars after surgery. The recovery from a full facelift is approximately 2-weeks, although the final result is 6-12 months later.

Key to a natural rejuvenation in both mini-facelift and full-facelift techniques include a meticulous attention to detail, lifting beneath the skin including the SMAS and deep soft tissue layers (to avoid a wind-swept appearance) and multi-layered closure (to avoid visible scars). Both techniques are effective at rejuvenating your face depending on your clinical needs, and an assessment is required to determine your individual needs and suitability for this facial surgery. Both techniques may be completed with other facial techniques including blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), fat transfer (volume rejuvenation), PRP (platelet rich plasma) and CO2 laser resurfacing to augment the natural results.

Julian De Silva, MD
London Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

Full Facelift or Mini Facelift - What is the Difference?

A full or "traditional" facelift addresses the sagging upper and lower neck skin and (platysmal) vertical neck bands, jowls, lower and mid nasolabial folds and marionette lines. It involves incisions from the temple scalp, along the front of the ear (inside the mid part for women), behind the ear in the crease then along or into the scalp hair behind the ear towards the back of your neck with undermining of the skin and tightening of underlying support tissues.
A mini-facelift, or "short scar facelift" or as I call it in my practice, Lite Lift addresses all of the above except for the lower neck. The difference is that the incisions are shorter - basically the same description in front of the ear and temple scalp but ending at the level of the earlobe (in front or in back) - as much as 40% less scarring. Non board-certified surgeons sometimes just pull the skin back which certainly will not last as long as the procedure I just described.
Having performed both procedures for more than a decade, the results last about the same time however for redundant lower neck skin a traditional facelift is preferred. Most important choose your board certified plastic or facial plastic surgeon well and let him/her make the best decision for you.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Mini facelift lifts the cheek but not neck and brow

Thank you for your question.The mini facelift is best for someone like you who describes minimal aging of the forehead and neck with primarily loose skin in the mid face and jaw region.  A full facelift usually includes forehead the cheek the jawline and the neck.

Laser resurfacing can produce some skin tightening if properly done but if you have significant jowls and cheek laxity you would most likely be better off with a mini facelift.

Be sure to consult a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery who is experienced and face lift techniques.



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.