A mini facelift is a version of a facelift that concentrates on the cheek and jowls and is generally performed on younger patients than those who undergo a full facelift (that includes the neck). The procedure typically uses incisions inside and in front of the ears.

How Does a Mini Facelift Work?

This aesthetic plastic surgical procedure helps tighten the lower cheek and improve early jowls and give a better definition to the jawline. So, a mini facelift, generally speaking, is a facelift minus the neck lift.

The mini facelift can be performed under local anesthesia, monitored sedation, or general anesthesia. The incisions are usually confined to the sideburn area and the front of the ear. Once the incisions are made, the skin is lifted off the underlying tissue and additional maneuvers are performed to tighten those deeper tissues. The skin is then gently redraped to avoid a pulled appearance. There will be some improvement in the neck but this is not a procedure for patients who have significant aging changes in the neck. Recovery is usually approximately 2 weeks. Most surgeons allow full activity including working out and sports after 3 weeks.

When does “mini” stop and “full” begin?

In reality, defining facelifts as either mini or full is an oversimplification. Plastic surgeons will always do the least possible procedure to give the patient the desired result. A mini facelift and full facelift lie at the ends of a continuum, and sometimes it is hard to define when a procedure is too big to be called a mini or too small to be called a full facelift. If you picture the aging changes in a 40-year-old vs. those of a 75-year-old there are many different maneuvers that a surgeon may employ. While a mini facelift generally focuses on the cheek and a full facelift on both the cheek and the neck, a particular patient may fall in between, requiring a lot of work in the cheek and a little in the neck. Your surgeon will do his/her best to describe what he/she thinks is the smallest procedure that will address your concerns.

Risks and Side Effects 

Like a full facelift, a mini facelift can be associated with complications. The most common complication is a collection of blood called a hematoma. This usually requires a return trip to the Operating Room to evacuate properly and completely.

What to Expect After the Procedure?

Sutures will be removed in stages, usually after approximately 5 days and after 8-10 days. After the surgeon removes the stitches, you may experience some initial swelling and bruising. These will disappear gradually over a period of 2 weeks. The doctor will also advise you to avoid certain activities, such as high-intensity exercise until approximately post-op day #21.

Consult a Plastic Surgeon with Expertise

A mini facelift is best performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon with expertise in cosmetic surgical procedures on the face. If you're considering a mini facelift or have questions about the procedure, schedule a virtual consultation with Dr. Charles Thorne.

With over thirty years of plastic surgery experience, Dr. Thorne can tell you if you are a candidate for a mini facelift. 

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