The definition of mini facelift

A mini facelift is a cosmetic surgery procedure that tightens and smooths the mid to lower face (jawline) by lifting the SMAS, a network of fibrous support tissue under the skin.

The difference between a full facelift and a mini facelift can vary depending on the surgeon.  Some call a procedure “mini” if the scars are shorter than a traditional facelift.  Others call a facelift a mini if the SMAS is not removed or lifted, but it is just cinched with stitches.  In general, a mini-facelift is less involved and takes less time to complete than a “full facelift”.

Since the definition of a mini facelift differs based on who is doing it, there are questions you should ask your surgeon.

4 questions you need to ask before having a mini facelift

  • Where will my incision be placed?

    Some surgeons equate a mini facelift with a “short scar” facelift meaning that the incisions are not as long as a full facelift and there may be no incision under the chin.  Ask to see an example of the healed incisions and where they would be placed around your ears.  Also, ask if the incision will be in front of or behind the bump in front of your ear (the tragus).

  • Is my neck too loose for a mini facelift?

    In most cases, a mini facelift does not adequately address severe looseness under the chin and in the lower neck.  If the platysma muscle that is responsible for the neck bands is very lax, a full lift may be required to achieve the best rejuvenation.

  • What type of anesthesia is used?

    Most surgeons will recommend sedation or general anesthesia for a mini facelift.  You should ask who will be performing the anesthesia (CRNA, anesthesiologist MD, or other).

  • What happens if I need a revision?

    It’s advisable to have a conversation with your surgeon about the possibility of revisions before your surgery.  You should ask how often their patients need revisions, what are the most common reasons for revisions, and what are the associated costs should you need one.

How many of my patients get a mini facelift in NY

In my NY practice, less than 10% of my clients that come to me for facelift surgery end up having a mini lift.  This is because the mini facelift is best for the jawline and jowls but not as good for neck bands, which many people exhibit by the time they are seeking a surgical rejuvenation. In those people where a mini facelift is warranted, the results can be amazing, especially when it’s done before overly dramatic aging signs have set in.

In the article below that was published in Cosmetic Surgery Times, I wrote about my thoughts on the mini facelift and how often it’s appropriate in my practice.  Two other prominent cosmetic facial surgeons also share their insights.