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​Facelift vs. Mini Facelift

facelift plastic surgery

Facelifts have been the go-to plastic surgery procedure for people who feel that they look older than they should. More recently, a procedure called a “mini facelift” has become very popular amongst those looking to lessen the signs of aging on their faces.

A mini facelift is just as it sounds: less work is done to your face than is required by a full facelift. The plastic surgeon will sit down with the patient in a consultation and listen to what they’re looking to do. Based upon the wishes and desires of the patient, and coupled with the amount of work that needs to be done, the surgeon will recommend either a full or mini facelift.

We’re going to look at a full and mini facelift and compare and contrast the two. You’ll walk away with a better idea of what each one is about. You will still need to sit down with your plastic surgeon for a consultation to hear their thoughts and recommendations.


A facelift is performed to correct (or minimize) wrinkles and jowls around the jaw line. Aging signs on a person’s face can be caused by stress, unhealthy lifestyle (smoking/etc.), genetics, exposure to the sun, and even gravity itself.

There are a few things that facelifts cannot correct. For example, the crow’s feet in the corners of the eyes cannot be remedied by a facelift. Thin vertical wrinkles around the lips and other wrinkles around the eyes also cannot be fixed. An injectable filler might help out in this case.

Facelifts are meant to help correct sagging skin, jowls, and wrinkles in and around the middle and lower face. If a facelift is done correctly, it can shave years off of your face and make you look noticeably younger than you really are.


The amount of results that you will see are entirely dependent upon how much wrinkling and aging you have on your face. If you have minimal signs of aging, then the improvement from a full facelift will most likely be subtle. If, however you have significant wrinkling and sagging then the results will be more noticeable.

Realistic Expectations

While facelifts are meant to rejuvenate your look, if you’re 60 years old, a facelift is not going to make you look like you’re in your early 20’s, but that is not what most patients desire anyway. Before undergoing the procedure, you will sit down with your doctor and they will give you a realistic idea of what you can expect. If you’re 60, then a facelift could potentially shave 10-15 years off your face. You should realistically expect an improvement in the way you look, not complete perfection. You can also combine facelifts with other procedures such as a neck lift, or facial skin resurfacing, or dermabrasion.

The Procedure

A full facelift can take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours, depending upon how much work the surgeon is required to perform. Prior to the surgery, the surgeon will use a felt tip pen to mark your face where he will make the incisions. An IV will be started and you will be hooked up to a machine to monitor your vital signs.

The vast majority of face lifts are performed under local anesthesia and a sedative. You might feel relaxed and drowsy and shouldn’t feel any pain. As the surgery proceeds, the doctor will remove excess skin or fat as agreed upon.

Incisions will be made around the lower half of the face. The skin of the lower and middle face is loosened, and excess skin will be removed. The surgeon will attempt to correct wrinkles, jowls and loose skin from the middle, and sides of the face.

Mini Facelift

A mini facelift is performed when someone needs a little bit of facial enhancement here and there. Less surgery is required and as such the entire procedure costs a little bit less than a full facelift. With a mini facelift, the incisions will be smaller as well.

Generally speaking, people who are younger tend to be best suited for mini facelifts. They may have a few wrinkles or a jowl that needs to be corrected. Everyone is different and we all age at a different rate. You can have two people who are 30 years old – and one of them looks like they’re barely out of their teenage years and the other one looks like they’re fast approaching “40”. Mini facelifts are intended for those people who tend to look like they physically age faster than others.


The results of a mini facelift can be less dramatic than a full one. They can remove wrinkles and that may dramatic in and of itself, but when you compare it to a person who is 50 and undergoes a full facelift, the results are much more dramatic with the 50-year-old patient.

The mini is intended to address sagging skin and wrinkles on the lower third portion of the face. Definition can be restored to the chin area by the removal of excess tissue and tightening of the remaining tissue. You can expect a refreshed, and more youthful appearance with a mini.

Mini facelifts also come with additional benefits. There is minimal scarring (as compared to a full) and the incisions are concealed within the natural facial contours and hairline. You’ll also experience less side effects such as bruising, swelling and tenderness in the facial area.

The Procedure

The prep for a mini facelift is much the same as a full. You will be undergoing surgery and all precautions/preparations must be taken. The only difference is the amount of incisions that the surgeon will make. The overall time will be cut roughly in half. Mini facelifts can be performed using local anesthesia, meaning the patient can be awake and conscious through the procedure (without feeling any pain). The will further reduce the cost (due to not having to hire an anesthesiologist to put you to sleep) of the procedure.

Pros and Cons of Mini vs. Full

There are two distinct advantages mini facelifts have over full ones. They cost less, and the overall recovery time is much shorter. Some surgeons have coined the term “weekend facelifts” because they allow the patient to return back to their normal lifestyle much quicker than had they gotten a full face lift.

There is a downside to the mini facelift: The effects of the mini will not last as long as the full. This is due to nature, gravity, your genetics, and such things as stress. A full face lift might last 10-15 years while a mini will last around 5 years. There are some people who opt for a full facelift, then in 10 years go back for a mini as a touch-up procedure.

One other key is to make sure surgeons who advertise the “mini-facelift” are true experts, and are actually trained surgeons! There are many doctors who go to weekend courses and learn how to market cosmetic procedures such as “The Mini-facelift” or ” Lunchtime Facelift” or “Weekend Facelift.” The problem is many of these physicians have not undergone formal surgical training nor do they actually understand how to assess a patient properly. The key for regular facelifts vs. mini-facelifts s is to know who will do best with a specific technique. This only comes with years of formal surgical training. Make sure your surgeons has under gone formal surgical training (minimum 5-6 years), and he/she has hospital privileges to do facelifts. Just ask the office where the doctor has hospital privileges for facelifts, and confirm with the hospital staff office.

Mini Facelift in Dallas, Texas

If you’re curious about getting some work done to your face, or looking to shave a few years off, give the offices of Dr. Adams a call at 214-965-9885 or schedule a consultation. Our offices are conveniently located in the heart of Dallas and are a few minutes ride from the airport.

Dr. Adams is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has the experience and know-how to make you look your very best. Give us a call to to learn how Dr. Adams can make you look younger and more beautiful!


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