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What is a Mini Facelift?

With the popularity of minimally invasive procedures in cosmetic surgery, more people are seeking ways to look younger and better without depending on major surgeries. Perhaps the most common complaint we see is displeasure with seeing yourself looking older. Options will be based on what parts of your face is contributing to the aged look.
As we age, we will lose volume and elasticity of our face, which will lead to sagging of tissue. Volume can best be improved with dermal fillers. There are a variety of fillers available in the market today. By far, the most popular ones are hyaluronic acid fillers.

The two major manufacturers are Allergan and Galderma, makers of the Juvederm and Restylane lines respectively. But fillers or facial resurfacing can’t re-suspend sagging tissues. To improve your sagging jowls and recreate a stronger, more youthful, jawline, a facelift is the best option. But what is a mini facelift? And can it achieve the same result as a normal facelift?

Mini Facelift Procedure

A mini facelift is a surgical procedure that uses a smaller incision to re-suspend your sagging jowls. But with a limited incision, comes limited exposure to your underlying SMAS (Superficial MusculoAponeurotic System) —the key structure that must be suspended to achieve a good result.

Some people think a mini facelift is better than a formal facelift because you get the same result but benefit from a much smaller incision. What you have to realize is the smaller incision means less exposure, which then means less ability to dramatically rejuvenate the face since the surgeon is operating through a smaller opening.

There are numerous techniques available to re-suspend the SMAS. These range from simply pulling to folding over, to removing and suturing this layer. So if you have more advanced aging, a mini facelift will not be able to provide the surgeon with the needed exposure to adequately rejuvenate your face. A mini facelift is best indicated if you have early mild jowling that will improve with simple pulling back of the SMAS.

In these cases, a mini facelift will work fine. Since you have mild sagging, the limited exposure is enough for the surgeon to resuspend the sagging area of the jowls. The surgeon may elect to resect a small ellipse of SMAS and suture the layers. Or he / she may elect to pull the SMAS up and tie to itself (often known as plication).

Because a mini facelift uses a smaller incision and entails less manipulation of the deeper SMAS, this surgery can be performed in a surgeon’s office procedure room or operating room. Depending on the surgeon’s office set up, oral or intravenous sedation may be administered to make you as comfortable as possible.

The surgery should take about two hours or so. You may also have a snug dressing placed after surgery is completed. Some surgeons may place a drain; although with the more limited dissection, a drain is not necessary.

Mini Facelift Recovery

The recovery after a mini facelift is usually a little quicker than a formal facelift. You should still expect some swelling and bruising, but these are typically less than a facelift. I tell patients a good facelift should last about ten years.

A mini facelift probably won’t achieve this, but you can expect your results to last at least five years. For many patients, this is a good option over repeatedly coming back for fillers. Finally, a mini facelift doesn’t prevent you from having a formal lower facelift later.

For more information about facelift surgery in San Antonio, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kenneth Yu Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. We are a qualified team of facial plastic surgery experts serving the San Antonio, Texas area.