Full Facelift vs. Mini Facelift

A traditional, full facelift is a major surgical procedure designed to tighten the skin. A mini facelift is a relatively minor procedure that reduces minor sagging around the cheeks, jawline and neck.

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Full Facelift

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Mini Facelift

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Other Names Rhytidectomy, Traditional Face Lift Weekend Face Lift
Procedure Incision made near ear. Skin separated from deeper tissues, which are tightened with sutures. The skin is then redraped, and excess skin removed. Doctor inserts surgical instruments through three or more small cuts. Excess fat is removed and muscles and reshaped.
Tighten neck and jowls Yes Yes
Works for Eliminating loose skin in folds of neck and cheeks, as well as tightening up skin all over the face. Reducing minor sagging around the cheeks, jawline and neck. Focuses on specific target areas, and cannot affect the forehead or eyes.
Restrictions Cannot smoke for weeks before or after surgery; cannot take aspirin or blood thinners for one week before. None
Anesthesia General Local with sedation
Cost Approx. $7000-$15000 Approx. $3500-6500
Patient Status Some patients may need to stay in hospital overnight. Outpatient
Procedure Time Several hours. 40-90 minutes
Patient Awake during Procedure No Yes
Recovery Time <1 week (avg) No. Stitches removed in one week. Bruising resolves in approx. two weeks. Many experience numbness, which fades after a few months. No. Patients wear a bandage for 48 hours. Sutures are removed after one week.
Return to work in 5-7 days No. Usually 2 weeks to resume social activities. No. Most return to work a few days after surgery and sutures are removed.
Risks Bleeding, potential damage to facial nerves, necrosis of skin flaps, infection. Risks increased in smokers and diabetics. Bleeding, blood clotting, bruising, scarring and swelling
Immediate Results No Yes
Permanent Results Yes No. Lasts 5-10 years. Affected by continued aging, gravity, and the elements.
Removal of excess skin to avoid bunching of skin Yes Yes
Pre-Opt and Post-Opt appointments Varies by the doctor's/hospital's practice Varies by the doctor's/hospital's practice

Contents: Full Facelift vs Mini Facelift

edit The Procedure

A surgeon performing a facelift procedure
A surgeon performing a facelift procedure

A facelift involves removing excess skin, tightening underlying tissues and then redraping the skin on the patient’s face and neck. An incision is made in front of the ear, extending up into the hairline above and curving around the bottom of the ear to the hairline on the back of the neck. The skin is separated from the deep tissue with a scalpel or scissors. Deeper tissues can be tightened with sutures, and the skin is then redraped, with excess skin removed. Sutures and staples are used to close the incisions. Usually this operation is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia.

In a mini face life, the doctor inserts surgical instruments through three or more small cuts. Excess fat is removed and the muscles are reshaped. A small camera is inserted under the skin to allow the doctor to see his work without making large incisions. It is usually performed under local anesthesia.

edit Video explaining the differences

In the following video, Dr. Mark Hamilton, MD FACS, a cosmetic surgeon in Indianapolis, explains the differences between a full facelift and a mini facelift.

edit Effectiveness

A facelift is good at eliminating loose skin folds in the neck and cheeks, and tightening up the appearance of wrinkles in the face in general, such as around the eyes. Its effects are permanent.

The mini facelift reduces minor sagging around the cheeks, jawline and neck. It is intended for people who are beginning to experience signs of aging, in their 30s and 40s, and focuses on specific areas. It cannot target the forehead or the eyes. Its effects last 5-10 years.

Before and After pictures of a woman who has had a facelift surgery
Before and After pictures of a woman who has had a facelift surgery

edit Restrictions

Individuals undergoing a facelift should not take aspirin or blood thinners for a week before surgery. They must also stop smoking several weeks before the date of the surgery.

edit Cost

A facelift costs approximately $7,000 - $15,000 in the US. A mini facelift costs approximately $3,500 - $6,500.

edit Procedure Time

A facelift is an in-patient procedure that takes several hours. Some patients may have to stay in the hospital overnight.

A mini facelift is an outpatient procedure that takes approximately 40-90 minutes.

edit Recovery

The recovery time for a facelift varies between individuals. Stitches are removed after one week, and most of the bruising resolves after two weeks. Many patients experience numbness in the face, which fades after a few months.

Mini facelift patients must wear a bandage for 48 hours and keep their head elevated for 7 days. The sutures are usually removed after one week, and patients can return to work a few days after surgery.

edit Risks

The risks of a facelift include bleeding, potential damage to facial nerves, necrosis of skin flaps and infection, as well as the risks of general anesthesia. Risks are increased in smokers and people with hypertension and diabetes.

Risks for a mini facelift include bleeding, blood clotting, bruising, scarring and swelling, as well as a potential negative reaction to the anesthesia.

edit References

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