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mini face lift procedure

Mini Face Lift – Is it for You?

What is a Mini Face Lift?

A mini face lift targets a smaller area than a full face lift.  The procedure focuses primarily on the jaw, lower cheeks, and neck area of the patient.  This procedure involves smaller incisions and generally a shorter recovery time.  Some people refer to this procedure as a “weekend face lift”, due to the  shorter recovery period. This is a deceptive nickname.  While the recovery  is shorter than that for a full face lift, it does take longer than a weekend.

Benefits of a Mini Face Lift

This face lift procedure option  is excellent for patients that are beginning to show signs of aging in their neck and lower jowls.  The procedure is less involved than a full face lift, with shorter surgical and post op recovery times, and it provides significant improvement in appearance.  Benefits of a mini face lift  include:

  • Improved Self Confidence  – Patients feel an increase in self confidence as a result of  looking rejuvenated and younger.  Feeling confident affects all areas of your life.
  • Conservative Treatment–  This treatment is less invasive than a full face lift, addressing the lower region of the face, jawline, and neck.  The procedure complements your natural features and restores a more youthful appearance proportionate to your skin laxity and degree of wrinkles.
  • Short Surgical Time – This procedure takes approximately two hours.
  • Minimal Scarring – Incisions from a mini face lift are easily concealed within your natural facial contours and hairline.
  • Less Side Effects – Mini face lift procedures result in less swelling, bruising, and tenderness than a full face lift.
  • Local Anesthesia – A mini face lift can be done with a local anesthetic, allowing the patient to remain conscious during the procedure without feeling pain.  This minimizes the side affects of general anesthesia.

The Procedure

The mini face lift procedure treats the neck, jawline and lower third of the face.  This procedure is common among somewhat younger patients who are showing the first signs of aging.  Placement of the incisions depends on the condition and extent of skin laxity. Incisions placement options are along the hairline, behind the ear, and along the tragus or behind the tragus. The size and shape of the cartilage structure in front of the ear canal (tragus) determines if the incision goes behind this
structure or before it in a natural skin crease.  Read more about face lift procedures and techniques.

These incision considerations are part of your discussion with your surgeon during your consultation.  A mini face lift provides significant results, as it alters the patient’s skin and the underlying muscles and fat. Through the incisions made,  the doctor lifts the underlying  muscles, called the SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system) and removes unwanted fat and eliminates excess skin. This allows the surgeon to enhance your natural facial contours and provide significant, natural looking results.

Mini Face Lift Recovery

Recovery and healing times vary by patient.  Some patients  return to work within seven days from the surgery.  Others may require several weeks to heal from the swelling and other side effects.  It may take up to a year for the final results to be apparent.

Mini Face Lift procedures, depending on patient health factors, can be performed on an outpatient basis.  The patient returns home to rest the day of the surgery.  You may be given a compression bandage to wear.  And, the surgeon may place drains at the surgical locations to prevent fluid build up.  Typically your surgeon will want to see you in their office the next day.  Follow up appointments are then scheduled, and typically, after a week, your sutures are removed.

Common side affects include:

  • Sensation of tightness of the skin
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Sensitivity
  • Redness
  • Loss of sensation
  • Discomfort

Post Surgery Limitations

Each patient’s health and recovery is unique, so follow your doctor’s directions regarding any limitations on returning to normal activities.  Typically though, patients return to work within 7-14 days. Other limitations include:

  • Refrain from strenuous activities that might raise your heart rate for the week following the surgery.
  • Discuss with your surgeon when it is appropriate to resume normal exercise and strenuous activities.

Typical Candidates for Mini Face Lift

The mini face lift procedure is common for patients that are experiencing the first signs of aging in their neck and jowls.  Mini face lifts are appropriate for both women and men.  Men seeking facial plastic surgery should find a surgeon that is well trained and experienced in male facial plastic surgery, as the anatomy and skin considerations are different from women’s.

Planning Your Mini Face Lift

Patients should research general information about face lift procedure options and what is involved with each one.  This is informative, and it also creates a starting point for conversations with your surgeon.  Select a surgeon that specializes in facial plastic surgery and one that is certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery .

Read Dr. Woods’ blog on Plastic Surgery Planning Tips for additional information and considerations for planning your procedure.

Your Consultation

Schedule a consultation appointment with the surgeon you are considering for your procedure.  Select a surgeon that consistently delivers excellent, natural looking results and has extensive experience as a facial plastic specialist.  During your consultation use this time to discuss procedure options best suited to your circumstances,  health issues, and concerns.

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