What Is The Difference Between A Mini-Facelift and a Full Facelift?

Q: I am tired of looking older. My jowls are getting bigger and my neck is starting to really sag. I hate to consider the thought of a plastic surgery procedure like a necklift but I am going to have to do something in the near future. I don’t mind getting old per se, I just don’t want to look old! I have read that there are different types of facelifting procedures. How do I know which one will work for me?

A: A facelift is a plastic surgery operation that changes the lower third of the face, the neck and jowls only. So it is a good match for the jowl and neck issues which bother you. Like many plastic surgery procedures, there are different ways to do them and they come in different ‘varieties’. No one type of facelift is right for everyone. Your plastic surgeon must ‘match the solution to the problem.’

Fundamentally, a full facelift changes both the neck and jowls and is best for someone whose primary problem is their neck. The jowls get improved as well and get swept alone in the changes that occur far away in the neck. The mini-facelift, aka Lifestyle Lift as called by some, changes the jowls primarily and a little bit of the neck. Any limited improvement in the neck is the result of the changes that have occurred in the jowls. The mini- or limited facelift is best for someone whose primary concern is in their jowls. Since jowling proceeds any significant changes in the neck, one can appreciate why a limited facelift is for younger people who have less signs of facial aging.

Another way to think about it is by looking at the incisional pattern around the ears. Mini-facelifts have use an incision that runs into and around the front the ear. Pulling upward from there only impacts the jowls primarily. A full facelift uses incisions in front of and behind the ear. By moving tissue upward from behind the ear, excess neck skin can be worked out to be cut off behind the ear. 

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana