The Mini-Facelift – Less Can Be More

There are many options to tighten loose skin in the neck and jowls, the most common aging problem in the bottom half of the face. One of the most significant developments in the past decade has been to limit the scarring that goes with the more traditional forms of facelifting. These procedures have become known by a lot of names including short scar facelift, S- lift, MACS lift and dozens of other catchy marketing names. But in the end, there are all ‘Mini-Facelifts’.

These smaller facelifts tighten up sagging jowls and droopy neck skin and do so with less scar. The scarring that is eliminated is in two specific hairline places, in the temples above the ear and in the crease behind the ear. Why is it important, if possible, to eliminate such scarring? The issue is one of scar widening and hairline displacement. When a facelift scar runs up into the temple hair, it will always move one’s sideburn hair up.  (not important for men who can just grow new sideburns) When scars are placed back into the hairline behind the ear, they will become noticeable if one has very short hair or wears a pony tail that may expose the scars.

The incisions for a mini-facelift starts at the top of ear, goes inside it behind the tragus (bump of cartilage in front of the ear), and then tucks around the earlobe. It stops in the crease of the ear just above the earlobe. This incision pattern (and ultimately the scars) prevents loss of the tuft of sideburn hair and eliminates scarring behind the ears. This allows one to wear their hair any way they want without being ‘discovered’.

While less scarring would be an important part of looking better, these mini-facelifts are not for everyone. The vast majority of patients that benefit by them are under the age of 60. Today many people seek neck and jowl improvement by age 45 or 50. These short scar procedures are designed to smooth out the jawline, soften the nasolabial folds and restore a more sinuous and curved facial shape. As one ages, sagging of facial skin and jowls create a more square or ‘bulldog’ look for some. A mini facelift reverses this facial shape change into a more triangular shape which is more synonyous with youth.

The one disadvantage to a shorter scar facelift is it is not as good as improving the significantly droopy neck as that of a traditional lift. This is why older patients with more advanced neck problems have to accept the trade-off of greater scars from more extensive facelifts.

Many mini-facelifts are done with other facial aging procedures as well to get the maximal benefit. When potentially combined with such procedures as liposuction of neck fat, removal of excess eyelid skin and chemical or laser skin resurfacing, that tired aging look can be completely wiped away in a few short hours.