When you think “face lift,” you probably don’t think “customizable.” However, that is one of the most exciting aspects of surgical facial rejuvenation. Face Lift procedures are one of the most flexible and customizable procedures available, and can help address each patient’s unique aging progression. For some patients, the full face lift procedure is not needed for adequate facial rejuvenation, and instead, a mini lift may be more appropriate. But what is the difference between a mini face lift and a full face lift? Which procedure is right for you?
What Is a Mini Lift?
While a mini lift may sound less intensive than a face lift, the term refers to a more concentrated area of focus rather than a less in-depth procedure. A mini lift may refer to a number of different procedures, depending on the area of concern. Common mini lifts include a submental platysmaplasty (upper neck & chin), necklift, cheeklift, or midface lift. The techniques used depend completely on the mini lift in question and typically involve an operation performed under general anesthesia or IV sedation to access the underlying facial structures and tighten muscles as well as reposition facial skin for a rejuvenated look. It is all about patient selection. The right patient will get as effective, long-lasting results using these methods as with a full face lift. The “sweet spot” age-wise is 45-55, but some people in their early 60’s may also be candidates. Our most common mini lift tightens the SMAS (subcutaneous muscular aponeurotic system) under the skin and the muscles under the chin.
What Is a Face lift?
A face lift (rhytidectomy) is more accurately known as a full lower face lift, as it involves the rejuvenation of the lower face and neck area. Essentially is it a full neck lift plus a cheek lift. It simply involves more work on the neck than with our mini lift. Many people start to notice sagging in the chin and neck area with aging, and a face lift helps to combat this problem by comprehensively addressing the sagging skin and musculature all at once. While many people believe that a face lift specifically addresses wrinkling, this is not the purpose of this type of rejuvenation. Face Lift procedures are more for addressing sagging/excess skin, excess fat, and loosened muscles/facial tissues.
Accessing the SMAS (subcutaneous muscular aponeurotic system) while the patient is under general anesthesia, the surgeon can tighten the jaw, neck and cheek area, reposition facial fat, and remove excess skin/fat as needed. Full face lift results can last for years and can make the patient look refereshed.
Many people are excited about the prospect of a mini lift, because it is a much shorter procedure, While recovery time may be a bit shorter, a quality mini-lift procedure is as in-depth as a full face lift, but simply accessing a smaller area. Mini Lifts performed under oral sedation and local anesthesia cannot give patients the lasting, effective results that a quality mini lift addressing the underlying tissues can with appropriate anesthesia. Shortcuts are not recommended for this type of facial rejuvenation.
Results are mostly dependent on a combination of the surgeon’s skill and the quality of post-operative care during the recovery period, so patients should take care to follow all instructions given by the surgeon as closely as possible to facilitate good results. For most face lift procedures, patients will have stitches removed in about 7-10 days, and often return to work about two weeks after surgery. Bruising will resolve gradually over a few weeks, with swelling often taking several months to resolve. Patients should avoid the sun and strenuous activity for a period of time following surgery and take it easy during the initial recovery period to encourage proper healing and good results.
Remember, though there are standard types of face lift procedures, your own procedure will be completely tailored to you and your needs. Everyone’s aging progression is different, and your face will show signs of aging more quickly in some areas than in others. Whether you need just one type of mini lift, a combination, or a full lower face lift, you will have the opportunity to plan your perfect treatment with your surgeon before you move forward.
Your consultations with prospective surgeons are very valuable, and you should make sure you prepare properly to make the most of them. You should only consult with experienced, board certified facial plastic surgeons for the best advice and results.
Talk to an Expert
So how do you find potential surgeons? Take a look in your area first, and see if there are any face lift specialists near you who have shown their skills in facial surgery and have produced results you find impressive. Then, be sure they are board certified and experienced, as this will further set you up for success in your eventual results. Prepare specific questions for your consultations so you use your meeting time wisely, and remember to never choose a surgeon you do not feel comfortable with.
If you are looking for an expert surgeon in the Boston area, come to Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA to meet with acclaimed facial surgeon Dr. Stuart Bentkover. Dr. Bentkover is a face lift expert and has been helping patients get great results for over 25 years. Call either location today to schedule your consultation.