What’s the Difference Between a Mini Facelift & Full Facelift?

Published: December 19, 2022
Category: Facelift, Dr. Robert Wilke, Blog

The power of plastic surgery to transform your appearance and reverse the visible signs of aging is undeniable. Facelift surgery is the most effective procedure for this, perhaps, helping to turn back the clock on aging skin up to a decade or more! But what if you feel that you aren’t quite ready for a full, traditional facelift yet, but would still like some of the benefits of this surgery? In this case, a “mini” facelift may be the ideal solution to help refresh and rejuvenate your appearance with minimal downtime while still achieving results with impact!

Why is the skin on the face and neck so prone to aging?

“Unlike the more resilient skin on our bodies, the skin on our face and neck is very delicate in nature,” explains Dr. Robert Wilke, a board-certified plastic surgeon and partner at Edina Plastic Surgery. “This heightens its vulnerability to gravity, UV damage, collagen loss, and other common factors that may expedite facial aging, like genetics and smoking. Wrinkles and sagging skin are a natural part of the aging process, but when they become especially prominent, they can cause many patients to feel as though they look decades older than they feel inside. Facelift surgery can help reverse these signs of aging and dramatically impact a patient’s appearance and overall confidence.”

What is a “Classic” or “Traditional” Facelift?

A full facelift, sometimes called a “classic” or “traditional” facelift, is a surgical procedure that repositions the underlying soft tissue layers of the face and neck to a more youthful anatomic position in addition to tightening the skin. A more natural outcome is achieved by including these deeper layers of tissue in the lift, not just the superficial skin we can see. Incisions for a traditional facelift are placed along the hairline and around the contours of the ears to minimize the visibility of postsurgical scarring. This technique offers the greatest access to the underlying structures. As such, a classic facelift is ideal for patients who wish to address advanced signs of aging, such as jowling and sagging of the neck.

“A traditional facelift is frequently performed in tandem with other procedures, like brow lift surgery or eyelid surgery, to enhance the overall result and ensure an attractive balance between facial features,” says Dr. Wilke.

What is a “Mini” Facelift?

“A mini facelift is less invasive than a full facelift,” states Dr. Wilke. “This technique has the advantage of shorter surgical scars, a shorter recovery period, and less discomfort overall. A mini facelift is an ideal option for patients who no longer see the results they want from dermal fillers and neurotoxins alone but don’t feel ready for a full facelift. Good candidates for a mini facelift have mild to moderate tissue laxity in the lower portion of their faces but no extensive sagging throughout the neckline. At Edina Plastic Surgery, I see patients as young as their early 40’s requesting a mini facelift. Patients who have already had full facelifts and need a “touch up” after ten years or so may also be good candidates for a mini facelift.”

Is the Recovery Faster with a Mini Facelift Compared to a Full Facelift?

The recovery after a mini facelift is generally faster than a full facelift, allowing patients to return to work within 1-2 weeks. Because a full facelift addresses the neckline far more extensively and accesses deeper layers of tissue, the recovery is more extensive. Swelling and bruising are also more prominent with a traditional facelift. Most patients return to work two to three weeks after a classic facelift.

“Many of the patients I work with opt to have other procedures performed at the same time as their mini or full facelift surgery,” says Dr. Wilke. “This approach not only optimizes your time under general anesthesia but can also lead to a more balanced and harmonious result to the overall appearance of your face. Because neither facelift surgery addresses the upper quadrant of the face, eyelid surgery is frequently performed simultaneously to lift and rejuvenate the eye area. Fat transfer is also quite popular and convenient to perform during a mini or full facelift, as your surgeon can enhance your skin’s volume as they lift and tighten tissue. Keep in mind, having additional procedures performed during your facelift may lead to a longer recovery time.”

How Long Do the Results of a Mini Facelift Last Compared to a Full Facelift?

“There are a multitude of factors that influence the longevity of ANY plastic surgery’s result,” explains Dr. Wilke. “How long you enjoy the results of your mini or full facelift will depend on your sun exposure, fluctuations in your weight, whether or not you’re a smoker, and how healthy your overall lifestyle is. In general, the results of a mini facelift or full facelift can last about 8-10 years.”

Would you like to see if you are a good candidate for a mini or full facelift? Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss either procedure with Dr. Robert Wilke or another board-certified plastic surgeon at Edina Plastic Surgery by calling (612) 688-3177, texting (952) 925-1765, or CLICKING HERE!

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