Facelift, Mini Lift, And Neck Lift – Which One Is Right For You?

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Master1305/Shutterstock

Recently, social media has discovered the power of facelifts in enhancing the features of their favorite celebrities and are equally as amazed at the before-and-after photos of our patients at PURE Plastic Surgery who are everyday women because our results are natural-looking, and proof of surgery is undetectable. What used to be seen as plastic surgery for more mature women looking to turn back the hands of time, the facelift is now being recognized as a procedure for those in their last 30s and 40s who want to slow the signs of aging before they start and make corrections that give them a more youthful, polished appearance.

Wrinkles, bags, sagging skin, and puffiness can alter the appearance, change the facial structure, and affect how patients feel about their looks. Facelifts and neck lifts are popular procedures that have been around for many years. Having surgery on the face can be intimidating and many women wonder if they are better candidates for a face lift, neck lift, or both.

What is the difference between a facelift and a neck lift?

When it comes to facial plastic surgery, there are three procedures women typically ask about: facelift, mini lift, and neck lift. All three procedures can improve the appearance and take years off the face. However, which one will yield the intended results depends on patient goals, bone structure, collagen, and skin elasticity.

What Is a Facelift?

A complete facelift includes a neck lift. It is a surgical procedure that tightens the skin and soft tissue in the face from the cheek area to the collarbone. The goal of a facelift is to repair changes caused by aging including the loss of collagen and skin elasticity. When this happens, fat beneath the skin can atrophy, which results in a saggy or hollow look in parts of the face – specifically the jowls and neck.  The target areas for a facelift are the overall face, jowls, and neck.

Where are incisions located in a facelift?

Surgeons typically make incisions in the natural creases located around the ear for best results and to minimize the appearance of scars. During the procedure, excess skin is removed and the remaining skin is lifted off the soft tissue underneath and re-draped.

How long does a facelift procedure take?

A facelift requires a patient to be under either conscious sedation or general anesthesia and can last from two (2) to six (6) hours depending on the patient’s skin quality, bone structure, and goals. Patients are released and are able to go home the same day.

What is the age range for a facelift?

The optimal age range for a facelift is between 50-70 years of age. Patients seeking facelifts are generally unhappy with their appearance and want to improve their facial structure – with a focus on jowls, neck, brow, and cheekbones – that are often impacted by lifestyle and aging.

How long is recovery after a facelift?

Patients go home the day of the procedure and then begin recovery.  After 10-14 days patients can return to normal activity, including returning to work. However, some physical activity may still be restricted. Recovery time can be impacted by a patient’s lifestyle and health.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of PURE Plastic Surgery

What is the difference between a facelift and a mini facelift?

For those who don’t want a drastic change, a mini facelift can improve looks and make a patient appear younger. A mini facelift focuses on the mid-face area and does not include a neck or brow lift. Many patients prefer the mini facelift because it requires smaller incisions and can have a more natural appearance. The typical patient for a mini facelift has less saggy skin and is under 50 years of age. A surgeon will make incisions around the mid-face area only and lift the skin.

How long does a mini facelift procedure take?

Mini facelifts are less strenuous procedures than regular facelifts and can be done in two (2) hours or less depending on the patient’s goals, facial structure, collagen, and skin elasticity. Patients are placed under conscious sedation or general anesthesia and typically recover in three (3) to seven (7) days.

What Is a Neck Lift?

A neck lift focuses on the neck and jowl area and removes unwanted saggy skin – sometimes called a “turkey neck” – that can occur from aging and lifestyle choices. Unlike both facelifts that focus on the face, the neck lift solely targets the neck area and may include the jawline for better results.

During a neck lift, surgeons tighten the tissues around the jawline and lift the skin off the soft tissues underneath. Excess skin is then removed and re-draped to create a more contoured and youthful neck and jawline.

What is the recovery time for a neck lift?

Most neck lift procedures take two (2) to five (5) hours with the patients under general anesthesia or conscious sedation. Recovery time can take 10 days up to two (2) weeks.

Aging and lifestyle are the most common reasons patients seek facelifts, mini lifts, and neck lifts. A facelift includes a neck lift, but some patients may opt for a mini facelift or only a neck lift depending on the desired results. The goal of each procedure is to reduce the signs of aging and restore a more youthful appearance.

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