Mini-facelift, Mini Results?

PHOTO: Common misconceptions about mini-facelift: Explained.

There always seems to be a bit of confusion when people are discussing a mini-facelift versus a full facelift. Online sites claim results between the two dramatically differ, the length of recovery is drastically longer with a full facelift, or even the full facelift takes much longer and costs twice as much as a mini-facelift. This information is not entirely accurate.

One thing to keep in mind is there is no strict definition of strict definition of what a mini-facelift is and, because of this, one mini-facelift may be very different from another. The only common theme with mini-facelifts is that the incisions are usually shorter than those of a traditional facelift. Some surgeons essentially perform the same operation in a mini-facelift as they do in a standard facelift, only through smaller incisions.

Two main things are happening with both a facelift and mini-facelift:

  1. The droopy volume of the face is being repositioned higher. 
  2. Extra skin is being removed.  

If a lot of extra skin needs to be removed, the incisions often will need to be longer to correct tissue bunching.  If there is not much skin that needs to be removed, then shorter incisions work quite well.

For all cosmetic surgery, price is based three main factors:

  1. Length of surgery
  2. Complexity of the case
  3. The level of talent and skill being provided by the surgeon.

Length of Surgery

There is no set rule for how long a mini-facelift or traditional facelift will take in terms of length of surgery. There cannot be a “one size fits all approach” because each facelift procedure is personalized to meet the goals of the patient. In general, a mini-facelift takes a little less time, but again depends on how close to a regular facelift the actual procedure is. If the underlying work is the same as a traditional facelift, it may actually take longer to work through smaller incisions. 


Operating through smaller incisions can make the operation more difficult for the surgeon and they may actually charge more for a mini-facelift than they do for a standard one.

Surgeon’s Talent and Skill

When undergoing surgery on your face, there are several factors to consider when choosing a surgeon beyond personality fit. Questions to ask include:

  • Is the surgeon board-certified in a relevant area of concentration (e.g. the head, face, neck)?
  • Has the surgeon completed a fellowship in facial plastic surgery?
  • Where did the surgeon complete his training? Where did the surgeon go to medical school?
  • Is the surgeon confident with advanced techniques?
  • When looking at before and after photos, do the results look natural?

Recovery Time

In general, all facial plastic surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis (meaning you can go home the same day) and typically takes up to two weeks of avoiding social outings. Recovery time is usually a little bit less for mini-facelifts, but it really depends on how close to a traditional facelift the procedure is. Obviously, the closer to a traditional facelift, the closer to the same recovery time.

No two facelifts are the same.

Keep in mind, each facelift procedure is customized on a case by case basis, and no two cases are ever the same. If you have a greater amount of excess skin that needs to be removed, the incisions will most likely need to be longer to avoid the skin from bunching, meaning you need a traditional facelift to achieve optimal results. If less skin needs to be removed, the incisions will be shorter, and you would be a suitable candidate for a mini-facelift. Each facelift is tailored to a patient’s anatomy and desires, which requires a personalized evaluation of your head and neck to determine whether a mini-facelift or full facelift is right for you.

As always, I would welcome meeting you in person to discuss your desired goals and provide you with a personalized evaluation. Learn more about scheduling a consultation or call us at (858) 381-4801 for more information.

Next You Might Like To: