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Facelift versus Mini-Facelift

Cynthia Turner

The inevitable consequences of time leave many individuals, male and female alike, wondering how they can turn back the clock and achieve a more youthful look. For some, the answer is found in plastic surgery, specifically, a facelift or a mini-facelift. While it is true that these procedures can deliver astounding results, it is imperative to know the facts, so that an informed decision can be made.

What is a Facelift?

As we age, gravity takes its toll and our skin may begin to sag and hang in ways we would prefer it did not. Facelift surgery targets the entire face and neck and delivers dramatic overall results. The excess facial and neck skin is removed and the facial muscles and connective tissues are tightened. This ultimately leaves the patient with fewer wrinkles and a smoother, more youthful appearance. Many individuals opt for other simultaneous procedures complimentary to facelift surgery, such as a brow lift, chin augmentation, or eyelid surgery, to achieve a more uniform and complete look.

What is a Mini-Facelift?

Whereas the goal of facelift surgery is to give the entire face and neck a younger and firmer look, mini-facelift surgery is used to target specific areas of concern. A mini-facelift may be the more appropriate option for a younger surgical candidate and can be used in a more preventative manner, as the effects of aging first become visible. Some may notice deeper lines forming from their nose to their mouth (nasolabial folds), while others may be concerned with sagging skin around the neck area. Whatever the case may be, the surgeon can tailor the mini-facelift to the individual patient’s concerns.


Prospective patients will meet with the cosmetic surgeon and his or her staff before undergoing any facial rejuvenation procedure. It is imperative that patients be honest, voice all concerns, and ask any questions in order to achieve the best results possible. The cosmetic surgeon will often take this time to discuss the possible physical and emotional ramifications of undergoing such a procedure.

Most cosmetic surgeons will ask patients who smoke to consider quitting prior to the surgery, as quitting can substantially reduce the risk to the patient. Patients will also be asked to cease taking any anti-inflammatory medication, as it can thin the blood and cause increased bleeding during facial rejuvenation surgery.

The Facelift Procedure

Generally, the facelift procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning the patient will be released the same day as the surgery. In some higher risk or more involved facelift procedures, however, the patient will remain in the hospital overnight. General anesthesia is used, though is tailored specifically to each individual case. Small incisions are made at the scalp line, and above and behind the ears, to reduce the visibility of scarring. As mentioned above, excess skin is removed and the facial muscles and connective tissues are tightened. Stitches are used to close the incisions.

The Facelift Healing Process

Bruising and swelling are to be expected following facelift surgery. Tubes are usually left in place for a few days following the procedure to ensure proper drainage. In most cases, the patient returns to the cosmetic surgeon’s office a few days after facelift surgery so bandages and drainage tubes can be removed. Stitches will also have to be removed, usually four to seven days after the procedure. It is important for patients to rest as much as possible and allow themselves time to heal properly. It can take several months before the entire impact of the surgery is realized.

The Mini Facelift Procedure

The mini-facelift surgery is much like the traditional facelift surgery, though typically confined to one specific area. Fewer incisions are usually made and the duration of time in surgery is reduced. Where the incisions are made will depend upon the area being targeted. Again, depending upon all factors involved, most patients will be released the same day as the surgery, though some may need to stay in the hospital overnight.

The Mini-Facelift Healing Process

The healing process following mini-facelift surgery is similar to that of traditional facelift surgery, though typically more rapid, as there is often less work is being done. This may not be true in all cases, of course, as each individual situation is unique. Some patients may have work done in only one specific area, while others may choose to have several areas of concern worked on simultaneously. The cosmetic surgeon will discuss the projected timeline of recovery with each patient prior to the surgery.

Which One is Right for Me?

When contemplating either facelift or a mini-facelift surgery, it is important to consider the desired results. If you are looking for a more subtle change, with only certain trouble areas addressed, the mini-facelift is likely the better option. If, however, you are looking for a more dramatic change to your entire face and neck, a full traditional facelift may be the answer.

One excellent resource for helping make such a decision is found in viewing before and after photos of other patients. Become familiar with the general effects of procedures under consideration. Visit chat rooms and gain insight from talking with other individuals who have already gone through similar procedures. Do as much research as possible and most importantly, talk to your cosmetic surgeon. Do not be afraid to ask questions and voice concerns. Be open and honest. Your cosmetic surgeon will be better prepared to deliver the desired results if you provide him or her with as much information as possible. In the end, it is important that you feel confident and secure with whatever decision you make.



Disclaimer: The male cosmetic surgery information on this page is not to be taken as medical advice. If you are interested in male facelift surgery or any other cosmetic surgical procedure for men, please contact a cosmetic surgeon in your area.This website is not intended for viewing or usage by European Union citizens.
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