Facelift surgery comes in several techniques and terminologies, which differ from surgeon-to-surgeon. Nevertheless, good results are only achieved by customizing the surgery based on the patients’ cosmetic goals and their underlying anatomies such as skin quality and bone structure.
A standard facelift primarily targets the sagging cheeks, jowling, and turkey neck appearance. It has no effect on the upper third of the face, which requires a different procedure called forehead lift. Meanwhile, combining these two surgeries or other techniques that aim to rejuvenate the entire face, or at least most of its area, is called full facelift.
On the other hand, a mini lift procedure is a very broad term that may describe a mid facelift, lower facelift, brow lift, forehead lift, or short-scar lift. But despite the confusing terminologies, it is generally used in patients with early features of facial aging or “isolated” problems such as sagging cheeks, jowling, neck bands, or laugh lines (nasolabila folds).
Also, a mini lift typically uses shorter incisions than a standard or full facelift wherein the scar lies behind the hairline near the temple and then goes around the ear, specifically within its natural skin creases to hide any telltale sign of the surgery.
In mini lift, a scar is typically hidden just behind the ear or around it.
While a mini lift procedure can deliver impressive results, it is only suitable for patients who have maintained a good amount of skin elasticity, with just mild changes in the lower third of their face, specifically the jaw line and neck area.
Performing mini lift surgeries on individuals who have more noticeable signs of facial aging is like under-correcting the problems. In worst case scenario, it leads to unfavorable scarring or skin asymmetries, which are telltale signs of plastic surgery. Simply put, proper patient selection is crucial to achieve impressive results from any type of facial rejuvenation surgery.
Regardless of the facelift technique used at the time of surgery, it is always crucial to go deeper into the facial structures to achieve more rejuvenating effects and longer lasting results. The idea is to lift the SMAS, which is a layer of skin where the soft tissue and muscle are attached, and not just the skin alone.
A skin-only lift, while it provides immediate rejuvenating effects and shorter facelift recovery, almost always leads to short-lived results because the skin will eventually sag due to the “weak” or loose SMAS that has not been reinforced.