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Is a Mini Facelift Less Risky? Here’s What You Need to Know

With more than 230,000 performed in the U.S. each year, facelifts are among the Top 5 most popular forms of plastic surgery. 

And it’s no wonder. A facelift can give the skin a younger, firmer appearance in just a few hours on the operating table. And with payment plans becoming commonplace, facelift surgery is more accessible than ever before.

However, traditional facelifts can leave scarring and may seem intimidating to many people seeking a fresh new look. That’s where the benefits of a mini facelift come in. Mini facelifts have a shorter downtime and produce less scarring than other forms of facial surgery. But are they really less risky than the traditional route?

Here’s what you need to know to choose the right facelift procedure for you.

What Is a Mini Facelift?

A mini facelift is sometimes called a “short-scar facelift” or “limited incision facelift.” Different plastic surgeons define the technique in various ways, but there are a few basic details that most mini facelifts will include.


Like a traditional procedure, a mini facelift corrects sagging, fine lines and wrinkles in the lower half of the face. However, it is considered less invasive than a traditional facelift and usually results in less scarring. 

A mini facelift does not lift the neck like a traditional procedure. If the neck area is also a concern, the patient may ask for a mini neck lift or other method to address the neck.

What Happens During Mini Facelift Surgery?

During a mini facelift, tiny incisions are made very close to the hairline, then around the front or back of the ear. 

The surgeon excises (cuts away) excess skin, then redrapes it for a tighter, natural look. 

Finally, the surgeon closes the incisions with sutures (stitches). 

What Results Can You Expect From Your Mini Facelift?

Patients choose a mini facelift because it:

  • Tightens lax, sagging skin in the lower face
  • Results in a younger and fresher appearance
  • Is performed on an outpatient basis
  • Uses shorter incisions 
  • Can deliver a more natural look than some facelift procedures

Pros and Cons of a Mini Facelift

The choice of whether or not to pursue a mini facelift is a personal one. Sit down and have a consultation with your plastic surgeon to discuss your options, your current and past medical history, and whether a mini facelift is the right choice.


  • A younger, more rejuvenated look to the lower face
  • Less scarring than a traditional facelift
  • More dramatic results than can be expected from fillers or injectables
  • Lasts much longer than injectables or fillers (up to 10 years in many patients)
  • Faster healing time than a traditional facelift (one week v. two weeks)
  • Can give a very natural, undetectable look


  • More subtle results than a traditional facelift
  • May last an average of five years fewer than a traditional facelift
  • Does not lift the neck area
  • Carries some of the same risks as most types of facial surgery (but generally to a lesser extent than a traditional facelift)

What Will Your Recovery Be Like?

One of the most attractive points about mini facelifts is that recovery time is usually shorter. 

A mini facelift is performed in five hours or less as an outpatient procedure. That means you can go home right afterward; no hospital stay is necessary.

You will be asked to walk right after your surgery. While you should take it easy for the first few days, being entirely immobile increases your risk of blood clots.

You should feel much better and your incisions should be closed in about a week. You may continue to have some bruising and swelling for a few weeks afterward, but you should be able to drive and return to work.

Stay in contact with your plastic surgeon during this time so they can assess how well your healing is going. 

How to Find the Right Plastic Surgeon

To get the most from your mini facelift, you will want an experienced, caring surgeon who is accessible for any questions you have.

Ask your plastic surgeon these questions:

  • “How long have you been in practice?” Experience matters. Ask how many years your doctor has been practicing plastic surgery.
  • “How long have you been doing this procedure?” A mini facelift is slightly different from a traditional facelift. Find a surgeon who has performed the procedure for a number of patients.
  • “May I see reviews?” Ask for testimonials so you can see how other patients feel about their mini facelift.
  • “What other types of plastic surgery do you do?” Your doctor should have a well-rounded roster of various parts of the human anatomy.
  • “Will you be reachable if I have issues after my surgery?” It’s important that your plastic surgeon be there for you when you need them.
  • “What result will I get?” The right doctor is the one who is willing to have a sit-down consultation to discuss what you want from the surgery and what results you can realistically expect.

A mini facelift isn’t for everyone, but more and more patients are seeking this rejuvenating procedure for its many benefits. 

If you’re looking for lower face tightening with less downtime and a lower degree of risk, a mini facelift might be for you. Talk to your doctor so you can find out when you can be on your way to a fresher look that matches how you feel on the inside.

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