In some people who have early signs of aging such as jowling and minimal laxity of the neck skin that they would like to address before these issues progress, a Mini Lift can be a great option. This procedure is less invasive than the typical facelift surgery and is therefore associated with somewhat less downtime, but it can still provide excellent results in the appropriately selected patient. This can be the perfect solution for the younger patient who has some hereditary changes of the jowls and neck that make them appear older than they really are or would like to prevent worsening of the aging process. In general, a Mini Lift is similar in many ways to a Facelift or Neck Lift, but usually involves a shorter incision in order to minimize any potential scars. This procedure is a great option for some patients, but is not right for everyone.
Dr. Cain and Dr. Richardson both have extensive specialized training and experience in the treatment and rejuvenation of the aging face and can determine which procedure will give you the most beautiful, natural results during your consultation.
What is a mini lift?
A mini lift is a variation of a facelift procedure, which involves lifting the cheeks and the neck into a more youthful position. A mini lift differs from a traditional facelift procedure in that the incisions are shorter and the amount of surgery performed beneath the skin may be less. While each surgeon has their own technique, in our practice, a mini lift still involves tightening the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS) layer under the skin in addition to tightening the skin. Most patients who are a candidate for a mini lift do not require extensive correction of muscle laxity in the neck with procedure such as a platysmaplasty. Some liposuction may be performed in conjunction with a mini lift, depending on the patient’s anatomy.
Other doctors may perform skin-only lifts, and these lifts may be “branded” under various names. We do not perform these gimmicky, short-lived procedures.
Brow lifts, eyelid surgery, lip rejuvenation, skin rejuvenation, etc are very commonly performed in conjunction with a mini lift, but are not technically part of the mini lift procedure.
How is a mini lift performed? What happens during a mini lift?
A mini lift is performed by creating incisions (hidden around the ears), and lifting and tightening not just the skin, but the fascia and muscle layers under the skin. We know that tightening the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS) under the skin provides excellent long-term results, and should be performed as part of every facelift procedure, even a mini-lift or any other “brand name” type of facelift. With this technique, the skin is lifted off the underlying tissue, the SMAS is tightened first, and then the skin is trimmed and tightened. In a traditional facelift, the incisions are generally carried into the temporal hair and into the hair behind the ear. With a mini lift, we generally stop the incision in the natural crease behind the ear. Also, a small incision is usually made under the chin in order to access the submental area with liposuction.
In a traditional facelift, we often have to divide the muscles under the chin and then sew them back together. This step is usually avoided in a mini lift because it is not needed in these patients. This portion of the procedure is known as a platysmaplasty. In almost every facelift procedure, some degree of liposuction is performed in the neck, but again, not every patient may need this.
Is a mini lift painful?
Mini lift procedures are generally not very painful at all. During the surgery, anesthesia is administered by our board-certified anesthesiologists in either the form of IV sedation (most commonly) or deep endotracheal general anesthesia (rarely). In all cases, patients are asleep and do not experience any pain or discomfort during the procedure. We supplement any systemic anesthesia with local anesthesia which keeps patients comfortable both during and after the procedure. Most patients take very little if any pain medication after surgery. Patients almost always describe a sensation of the cheeks and neck feeling “tight” or numb, but rarely complain of much pain at all. With a mini lift, all of these issues tend to be even less than with a traditional facelift.
What can I expect after a mini lift? What is the downtime and recovery after a mini lift?
Patients should expect some degree of bruising and swelling. While this obviously varies from one patient to the next, we tell most patients to plan for 7-10 days of downtime from social activities. Most patients are back to all normal activities, including exercise routines, within two weeks. In our practice, almost all sutures are removed at one week after surgery, but we ask patients to avoid strenuous activity like heavy lifting, exercise, etc for at least two weeks post-operatively. Patients can expect some numbness around the ears that can last several weeks to a few months. Some mild swelling can last beyond the two week mark, but this is usually only noticeable to the patient and our team, not to people in public or even friends and family. As a mini lift is less invasive than a traditional facelift, the recovery is generally faster as well.
How is a mini lift different from a facelift, a necklift, a “thread lift”, or any other lift?
A mini lift is a long-lasting surgical procedure with proven results. Many fad techniques or name brand lifting techniques are simply a matter of semantics or a marketing technique designed to trick the patient into thinking that a facelift is something else. A necklift is generally a part of any facelift procedure, including a mini lift, as described above. A mini lift differs from a facelift in that the surgery is less invasive, with shorter incisions, and less extensive surgery under the skin.
What are the contraindications to a mini lift?
Patients with serious medical conditions may not be candidates for an elective cosmetic procedure like a mini lift. We do not want to put a patient’s health at risk for an elective procedure. That being said, minor health issues like well-controlled diabetes, high blood pressure, etc are usually not a problem. These issues are less common in mini lift procedures because mini lifts are usually performed on younger patients.
We may require that you have a history and physical exam by your primary care provider to ensure that you are healthy enough to undergo a mini lift procedure under anesthesia. Wound healing problems like collagen disorders, vascular disease, and autoimmune diseases might preclude you from having surgery. Pregnancy, bleeding disorders, kidney failure, and high risk of heart attack or stroke are contraindications as well.
Is a mini lift safe for all skin types, ethnicities, and races?
Yes, mini lifts can be performed on patients of all skin types, colors, races, etc.
When should you get a mini lift?
There is no “right” age to get a mini lift. Most patients who are candidates for a mini lift are in their late 30’s to early 50’s. Most patients beyond the age of 50 (and many younger than 50) will require a more traditional facelift procedure due to more advanced laxity of the cheeks and neck. The most important factor is the patient’s anatomy and their desired goals for treatment.
Are mini lifts only for women?
No! Men may be a candidate for a mini lift as well, but this is totally dependent on the patient’s goals and their anatomy. Another similar procedure that is an option for a man is a direct neck lift procedure. Read more on our necklift page for more details.
Who is qualified to perform a mini lift?
Any type of facelift procedure, including a mini lift, should be performed by a board-certified doctor who is a fellowship-trained facial plastic surgeon or general plastic surgeon. There are many non-surgeons who perform all sorts of “non-invasive” thread lifting techniques and even some surgical facelift procedures. In our opinion, these procedures are unsafe in these situations, and are very likely to lead to unhappy patients who then come to use for solutions. Please look for surgeons who are fellowship-trained in the United States or Canada in plastic surgery or facial plastic surgery, not dermatology, “cosmetic surgery”, oral-maxillofacial surgery, ophthalmology, oculoplastic surgery, family medicine, or any other specialty. We recommend avoiding “brand name” procedures because of the gimmicky nature of these techniques that may sacrifice quality for quantity.
Is a mini lift safe?
Yes, in general, mini lifts have very low complication rates. Like any procedure or medication, there are some risks involved. Common risks include bruising, swelling, numbness, and mild discomfort. Scars are part of any surgical procedure, but are usually minimal and extremely well-hidden. In a mini lift, the incisions are shorter and the procedure less invasive than a traditional facelift, so the risks of noticeable scarring are decreased. Bleeding is the biggest risk after a mini lift, and this risk is minimized by patients following our post-operative instructions very closely. There are risks of permanent nerve injury, infection, and wound healing problems, but these are extremely rare and we do many things to minimize these risks before, during, and after surgery.
How long does a mini lift last? Is a mini lift permanent?
In many ways, a mini lift is permanent, in that a patient will always be better off than if they had never had surgery. The aging process continues over time, so patients will see some degree of return of cheek and neck laxity, but this process is very slow. Some patients will desire another “tuck up” lift procedure at some point, but this is rarely performed less than 10 years after a first facelift procedure.
Will I look different after a mini lift?
Yes and no. Yes, patients should look more rested and rejuvenated after a mini lift. Patients seek us out because they want to look like a younger version of themselves, not look like someone else. The primary goal with a mini lift is to tighten the existing tissues and prevent the aging process from worsening. When performed properly by an expert facial surgeon, a patient should not look “pulled”, “stretched”, or strange. Look at our before and after photos to see that our patients look very natural, not over-done or with an “operated” look.
How much does a mini lift cost?
Because surgical procedures and terminology can vary widely from one patient, provider, and location to another, it is almost impossible to give accurate surgical quotes over the phone or email. Keep in mind that there are many different factors that affect the cost of a mini lift, including the surgeon’s fee, the surgical technique involved, the facility fee for the operating room/staff/supplies, and the anesthesia fees. For most mini lift procedures, patients can expect to pay somewhere between $6,000 – $10,000. If other procedures are performed simultaneously, such as a brow lift, eyelid surgery, etc., additional fees are involved. After a consultation with Dr. Richardson or Dr. Cain, we will provide you with a detailed and exact surgical quote for the procedures that are discussed.
EMAIL US today or call us at (469) 362-6975 to schedule a consultation and find out more about how we can help you look your best.
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