What is a ‘Mini’ Facelift?


The term “facelift” has come to be known to the general public as any cosmetic overhaul, whether it’s the outside of a building, a company logo, or an actual human face. This widespread use of the term “facelift” certainly communicates its intended message, but it may also have created a mistaken impression of the nature of a surgical facelift. Ohio-based double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Hartman regularly encounters people who believe that a facelift rejuvenates the look of everything from the forehead to the chin—which is not exactly the case.

The uppermost portions of the face, including the forehead and eyelids, are not included in a typical facelift. Instead, a facelift focuses on the midface area, where the “apples” of the cheeks sit, and on the lower portion, home to the jawline and neck.

Either of these areas can be lifted on their own in what is known as a “mini facelift,” because its scope is smaller than a more comprehensive lift.

The appropriate procedure for any given patient depends mostly on where the signs of aging—presenting as lax, sagging skin—are visible, and how severe they are. The average age of a facelift patient is 57 years old, but the range of ages for patients of today’s modern facelifting procedures extends from 30s through 80s.

Who Are Getting Mini Facelifts Today, and Why?

  • The 35- to 55-year-old man or woman who has some mild to moderate upper cheek looseness, jawline jowling, or neck looseness, but not all three. These patients want rejuvenation, but are not quite ready for a full facelift.
  • The healthy 50- to 80-year-old woman or man who had a facelift procedure in years past, still looks pretty good, and now would like to freshen up a bit.
  • The 35- to 65-year-old who wants the dramatic restoration that only a facelift can provide, but is willing to accept less restoration compared to a full facelift in exchange for a reduced recovery time.
  • The cosmetic client who is mainly concerned about having some other cosmetic procedure done—such as a browlift, eyelid rejuvenation, or body sculpting/fat transfer to the face and/or breasts—and is therefore already going to have some downtime for the primary concern anyway and feels that now is the perfect time to do something for their secondary concern: their cheeks, jowls, and/or neck.


Aging is often first visible in the face/neck area, where a loss of collagen, descent of facial fat pads, and sun damage cause the tissues to wrinkle and sag. This leads to a more tired look that replaces the firmer, tighter contours of a person’s teens, 20s, and 30s.

The cheek area is one of the first places the passage of time may make itself known. There, subcutaneous fat that provides a pleasant roundness starts to diminish. What fat cells that remain begin to be pulled down by gravity. This downward trend leaves areas in the middle of the face thin and hollow, while the now-unsupported tissue is left to sag, creating a jowly jawline.

Women and men facing one or the other of these facial scenarios can opt for a mini facelift to focus on only the region where skin needs to be tightened the most. Benefits of a mini facelift include shorter recovery times and reduced surgical fees.

Despite the possibility of a mini facelift, the fact remains that most people see their face and neck age at roughly the same rate, with lax tissue growing increasing apparent all over the face as the years go by.

Patients who do choose a facelift—mini or otherwise—and who also want to gain a more youthful upper third can opt for a brow lift to address a heavy forehead, blepharoplasty surgery to correct drooping lids, or both.

The goal of any facelift or related facial plastic surgery is to generate natural-looking results that give the patient a refreshed appearance without making the skin appear to be pulled. A good plastic surgeon will accomplish those results based on a patient’s requests, but a great one will work closely with the patient to develop a plan that takes their entire face into account—now, and years into the future.

In some cases, it is possible to arrange a “package” deal that combines a facelift, brow lift, eyelid surgery, and body work. These may also be customized to feature a mini facelift, if, for instance, a patient’s neck appears fine, but surgical tightening is desired from the upper cheeks to the hairline.

It is also important to note that a mini facelift addresses contours, but optimal improvements to skin tone and texture—fine lines and wrinkles—are better addressed with rejuvenating laser treatments combined with your surgery done by an experienced and talented plastic surgeon. These various options can make a person appear 7 to 15 years younger. Of course, the skin and other tissues will continue to age from the point of the surgery onward, prompting some patients to opt for a periodic laser treatments and/or new surgery about 8 to 15 years later.

For more information about a mini facelift or other facial surgery, contact the Ohio-based practice of Dr. David Hartman. Reach Fine Arts Skin & Laser by calling 330-440-0499 or visiting fineartsskinandlaser.com and sending an online message.

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Categories: Beauty Lifestyle