For the uninitiated: the term “mini-facelift” does not refer to a facial procedure done on a person with a very small face. On the contrary it most often is a surgical answer for a person who feels that the merciless onslaught of gravity, time, and “life” have stretched or enlarged facial and neck skin. Over the past century cosmetic surgeons have treated the aging face on this premise: removal and resuspension of loose, inelastic redundant skin. It has been only in the last decade, thanks to insights of cosmetic visionaries like Dr. Val Lambros, that a new understanding of the aging process has evolved, that of loss in facial and neck fatty tissue volume coupled with loss of skin tone. Through studying sequences of his patients’ facial photographs he found that facial aging was akin to letting the air out of an inflated paper sack….a gradual falling inward and downward of facial skin being the end result. So although facial rejuvenation procedures still carry the foundation of skin tightening and lifting, we now know that the results often can be highlighted or enhanced by the injection into the surgically altered “sack” of either natural (e.g. fat, hyaluronic acid) or synthetic (e.g. hydroxyapatite, polymethylmethacrylate, poly-L-lactic acid) materials.

The performance of this surgery can be designed for a general anesthetic outpatient (or 23-hour stay) undertaking, with complete submersion of the patient in an unconscious state, or it can be “scaled down” to a surgery which can be tolerated quite readily with simple Valium-style sedation and numbing medicine in the office. It is in the latter scenario that the term “mini-facelift” has gained traction, for the extent of tissue space opening and skin redraping/tightening/filling, and ancillary steps such as neck, eyelid, and forehead rejuvenation are simplified as well.

As one might suspect, the mini-facelift is a scaled down version of the classic facelift uplifting and volumizing procedures: more limited incision, depth, and tightening-filling of the skin as its hallmarks. Typically these more restricted maneuvers confer less dramatic, and often shorter-term improvements, but with compelling trade-offs: avoidance of general anesthesia, usually more rapid recovery time, and often a softer impact on the pocketbook. Typically in a mini-facelift the incisions are designed around the ears, optionally beneath the chin (tiny one for liposuction, small one for direct tightening and thinning of the deeper tissues.

Two of the most important health prerequisites for undergoing this surgery is normal blood pressure and no nicotine. Emotional wellness also is essential and includes a sense of realistic expectations.

If you are seeking ways to improve the youthfulness of your face and its frame (neck/forehead), you should include the mini-facelift in your discussion with your cosmetic surgeon. At My Plastic Surgery Group, Drs. Sando and Aker, we not only have a thorough discussion with you of all these options, but we also include free consultation with our skin care specialists to educate you in the non-surgical ways to “turn back the clock,” toward a more youthful and relaxed appearance. Call for a consultation today.