A facelift is an effective plastic surgery procedure for treating typical facial aging symptoms such as facial folds, severe wrinkling, and jowls. This popular cosmetic treatment helps smooth away wrinkles, reposition facial muscles, and eliminate excessively sagging skin. If you are considering a facelift surgery, one question to ask is whether your procedure will be a full facelift or a mini facelift. Dr. Heffelfinger, a cosmetic surgeon at Jefferson Facial Plastics, explains the difference and the expected results.

What are the differences between a mini facelift and a full facelift?

The primary difference between a mini facelift and a full facelift is the areas focused on and the level of invasiveness.

A mini facelift is a less invasive procedure that reduces minor sagging around the cheeks, jawline, and neck. The procedure focuses incision points behind the ears and underneath the chin. Since the procedure is miniature, the incisions are smaller, and the recovery process is shorter.

A full facelift means the entire face is lifted. It is a major surgical procedure targeting your forehead, brows, eyes, jawline, and neck. During the procedure, different surgical techniques may be used for specific anatomic areas. Because it is a highly invasive procedure, the recovery process tends to be extended. 


Full facelift vs. mini facelift head-to-head comparison


The following is a detailed comparison between a full facelift and a mini facelift:

  • Procedure: With a full facelift, the doctor makes incisions near the ear to separate the skin from deeper tissues. The excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is tightened with sutures and redraped. In a mini facelift, the doctor inserts surgical instruments via minor cuts before excess fat is removed and muscles reshaped.
  • Restrictions: Before a full facelift, patients are advised not to smoke for weeks before or after the surgery. They should not also take aspirin or blood thinners for one week before. There are no restrictions with a mini facelift.
  • Procedure time: A full facelift takes several hours. A mini facelift typically lasts 40 to 90 minutes.
  • Recovery time: With a full facelift, stitches are removed in one week, and bruising resolves in approximately two weeks. In a mini facelift, a patient wears a bandage for 48 hours, and the doctor removes the sutures after one week.
  • Return to work: In a full facelift, a patient usually needs 2 weeks before resuming work and social activities. However, most patients who have undergone a mini facelift return to work a few days after surgery and the sutures removed.


Which facelift is right for me?


The right facelift procedure depends on your aging symptoms and expected results. A mini facelift may be ideal if you have minor jawline and neck sagging. However, if you have significant sagging, folds, jowls in the neck, or wrinkles on the forehead, you should consider full facelift surgery.


Reinvent your appearance with a facelift at Jefferson Facial Plastics


If you are worried about the effects of aging on your lower cheeks, neck, and jawline, a facelift may be an effective solution. At Jefferson Facial Plastics, our board-certified Dr. Heffelfinger and his team specialize in mini and full facelifts that roll back years of aging to help you achieve smooth and youthful skin. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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