The New ‘Face’ of Facial Aesthetic Surgery: The ‘Mini Face lift’ Defined

One of the procedures I get asked about most is the “mini” face lift. Apparently, the traditional face lift is viewed as a major surgery, with extensive recovery and unnatural results. This isn’t acceptable to most people. While the concept of the”mini” face lift is becoming very popular, it’s a term I struggle with. There really is no standard definition of what this procedure entails. “Face lift” is a generic term and every surgeon has minor variations in his or her technique. After a lot of thought, I have concluded that the term”mini face lift” is used to describe a procedure that tightens the neck and jawline, has minimal recovery, and can be done under local anesthesia with or without sedation. Often, surgeons advertise”mini” face lift to attract patients who are afraid of the “real deal” face lift.

It may come as a surprise that a full face lift is remarkably similar to what the public thinks of as a”mini” face lift. There is a common belief that a full face lift involves making an incision all the way around the face and simply pulling the skin back. People are more concerned about the lower face and neck and therefore request a more minimal procedure. Actually, the incisions for both the face lift and”mini” face lift are nearly identical and hide very well along of the front and back of the ear. Attempts to make the incision any shorter actually end up looking worse, as there is a lot of bunching of the skin with shorter incisions. In both procedures, surprisingly little skin is actually removed…..perhaps an inch or so at the most. The real difference lies in what is done with the supporting layer beneath the skin. Full facelifts involve tightening this layer, also known as the SMAS.

Tightening this layer doesn’t result in any more swelling or discomfort. I’ve always felt that if you’re there already and have the SMAS exposed, why not do the right thing and tighten it while you have it in front of you? Doing so gives you a longer lasting, more natural result. Not doing this minor step will give you a result that will last a few years at the most. 

I perform most of my face lifts with local anesthesia with varying amounts of sedation. Full anesthesia is available in our state of the art operating room if desired. I do so many of them (about three hundred a year) that I have become highly efficient. The procedure takes about an hour and a half to two hours, and I’m somewhat disappointed if you aren’t back out in public within a week to ten days. I can consistently make most people look like they did a decade ago. Considering the result, the minimal time, effort, and recovery invested is well worth it. It is, in my mind, one of the most rewarding plastic surgery procedures for both patient and surgeon alike.

If you are interested in the ‘Lee Lift’ – or what I like to call ‘Better than Mini’ Face Lift under local anesthesia, call us today for your consultation.