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Understanding the Benefits of a Mini Facelift Over a Full Facelift6 min read

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The facelift has long been a gold standard of cosmetic surgery. 

However, as the field evolves, so do the options available to those seeking to turn back the clock. 

So, make way for the mini facelift! 

But, what exactly is a mini facelift, and how does it compare to a full facelift? 

Let’s dive in and explore these questions together.

What is a Mini Facelift?

A mini facelift, also known as a “weekend facelift” due to its shorter recovery time, is a minimally invasive procedure focusing on the face’s lower half. It’s designed to address early signs of aging, such as mild sagging and wrinkles around the cheeks and jawline.

The human face is a complex structure composed of skin, fat, muscle, and connective tissue. These components can lose their elasticity and volume as we age, leading to sagging skin, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. 

A mini facelift aims to counteract these natural aging signs by tightening the underlying structures and removing excess skin, restoring a youthful appearance.

The Procedure

The mini facelift procedure begins with the surgeon making small, discreet incisions around the ears. These incisions are carefully placed within the skin’s natural creases to minimize visible scarring. Through these incisions, the surgeon can access the underlying facial structures.

The next step involves tightening the sagging muscles and connective tissues. This is achieved by pulling these structures upward and securing them in a lifted position. This process restores the natural contours of the face and reduces the appearance of sagging skin and wrinkles.

Your surgeon will remove any excess skin once the underlying structures have been tightened. This step further enhances the lifting effect and helps smooth wrinkles and fine lines. The surgeon then carefully repositions and sutures the remaining skin in place.

What is a Full Facelift?

A facelift, medically known as a rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that aims to give a more youthful appearance to the face. It’s a comprehensive approach to treating facial wrinkles and sagging caused by aging. The procedure involves the removal of excess facial skin, with or without the tightening of underlying tissues, and the redraping of the skin on the patient’s face and neck.

Did you know that over 230,000 facelift procedures were performed in the U.S. in 2020 alone?Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons

The Procedure

A full facelift procedure begins with the administration of anesthesia to ensure the patient’s comfort throughout the surgery. Next, the surgeon typically starts the incisions in the hairline at the temples, extend down in front of the ear, and continue behind the ear into the lower scalp. In some cases, an additional incision under the chin may be made to address aging concerns in the neck.

Once the incisions are made, the surgeon separates the skin from the underlying connective tissue and muscles. This allows the surgeon to reposition the deeper facial tissues, eliminate jowls, and create a firmer foundation for the skin. The excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is gently laid back over the newly rejuvenated facial tissues.

Mini Facelift vs. Full Facelift: The Key Differences

Several differences stand out when comparing a mini facelift and a full facelift.

The Scope of the Procedure

First, the scope of the procedures varies significantly. 

A mini facelift is a less invasive procedure that primarily targets the lower third of the face, specifically the cheeks, and jawline. It’s designed to address early signs of aging, such as minor sagging and wrinkles. 

On the other hand, a full facelift is a complete procedure that addresses aging signs across the entire face and neck, including deep wrinkles, significant sagging skin, and loss of muscle tone. It’s ideal for those with more advanced signs of aging.

Potential Scarring

Secondly, the recovery time and potential scarring differ between the two procedures. 

A mini facelift, being less invasive, has a shorter recovery time, often within a week. The incisions made during a mini facelift are smaller and more discreet, resulting in less noticeable scarring. 

In contrast, a full facelift requires a more extended recovery period, often several weeks, due to the more extensive nature of the surgery. The incisions made during a full facelift are more significant, and while they’re strategically placed to be as inconspicuous as possible, there’s still a more significant potential for visible scars.


A mini facelift is less expensive than a full facelift. 

However, it’s important to remember that the cost of any cosmetic procedure can vary widely based on factors such as the surgeon’s experience, geographic location, and the patient’s specific needs.

Who is a Good Candidate for a Mini Facelift?

A good candidate for a mini facelift is typically someone beginning to notice signs of aging, such as mild to moderate sagging skin, wrinkles, and loss of definition in the cheeks and jawline. 

A mini facelift is often a popular choice among middle-aged patients, typically those in their 40s, who want to address these early signs of aging and maintain a youthful appearance.

Who is a Good Candidate for a Full Facelift?

A good candidate for a full facelift is typically someone who has significant signs of aging that affect the entire face and neck. These signs may include deep wrinkles, significant sagging skin, loss of muscle tone, and perhaps a lack of definition in the jawline due to excess skin or fat. 

A full facelift is often the choice for patients in their 50s or older, although this can vary depending on the individual’s circumstances and extent of facial aging.

The Longevity of Results

While a mini facelift can provide impressive results, it’s important to note that these results may not last as long as those from a full facelift. A mini facelift typically lasts several years, while the results of a full facelift can last a decade or more.

Safety and Risks

Like any surgical procedure, both mini and full facelifts have potential risks, such as bleeding. However, the risks associated with a mini facelift are lower because it is less invasive.

The Importance of a Consultation With a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

Before deciding on a mini or full facelift, it’s crucial to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. They can assess your needs and goals, discuss the pros and cons of each procedure, and help you make an informed decision.

Ultimately, the choice between a mini facelift and a full facelift comes down to your individual needs, goals, and lifestyle. By understanding the benefits and limitations of each procedure, you can make a decision that will help you look and feel your best!

Ready to Turn Back the Clock on Your Facial Aesthetic? Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Meet us at 19500 Sandridge Way, Suite 350, Leesburg, VA 20176, or call us at (703) 574-4342 for a complimentary consultation with Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Phillip Chang before proceeding with your procedure! If everything matches up, our team will help you navigate the entire process from beginning to end! Also, remember to check out our blog and social media for more information on plastic surgery and plastic surgery trends!


  1. 2020 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report — Access date: 18 July 2023.

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