“I got a question today, which was a very good one, and I wanted to get it addressed.

What is the difference between some of these mini lifts or mid face lifts, and a regular facelift?

It is extremely confusing. I’ll tell you that, I speak in a number of meetings and I’m on panels about face-lifting and aging face all the time, and even sitting at a table of expert panelists, there is a lot of discussion and dissension about what these terms, mean.

The original term facelift really described a lower face lift, with the lower two-thirds of the face being addressed. Whether it was done with the skin technique, or a skin and underlying connective tissue technique, or a deplane technique, really, that was the area that was addressed.

We started getting into this era of mini-lifts, and a lot of this is about marketing. The original mini-facelift is very similar to what’s been described with an S-Lift, and a Quicklift, and a Style Lift.

Many of these different lifts out there were described in 1908 by a French surgeon. A small incision was done right along the ear, and a small amount of skin elevated and pulled back, with or without tightening the underlying tissue, before a stitch line was placed.

This is a very typical approach in many of these so-called “One-Hour Lifts.” The outcomes are variable, they can help a little bit, but it’s certainly not a long-lasting result.

Some mini-lifts, on the other hand, are quality mini-lifts. When I divide them up, I divide them into two categories.

There is a mini-lift of the face, which addresses the check and jaw line area. Then, there is a mini lift of the neck, which addresses just the neck area, and to some extent will improve the jaw line.

In my procedures, a mini-lift of the face is done with the underlying connective tissue. We are using the SMAS layer, and I’m elevating the skin extensively, and we may even go into the temporal layer, depending on what the patients want. I’m using a local anesthesia, sometimes with sedation or deep sleep anesthesia if the patient desires.

Then I’m taking that SMAS layer, restoring contour to this region of the face (points to cheek), especially the jawline, the marionette line and the lower part of the nasolabial fold. Then, I’m elevating and bringing the skin back, in a gentle sort of way so it doesn’t look pulled or wind-swept, hiding the incisions behind the cartilage and hairline, as long as the patient’s hair line is OK, and then stopping right behind the ear. That would be the strategy for a mini-lift of the face.

A mini lift of the neck is very similar, in that we are hiding the incisions back behind the ear and into the hairline. I do liposuction through a tiny little incision under the chin, and if there are bands, we will address them. This is called Platysmaplasty.

From that point, I’m elevating the loose skin on each side, and gently pulling back and bringing the contour back to the neck. It is a lot like what you’d see with a neck lift, if you go to the mirror and pull your extra skin back slightly.

I encourage our patients, if they want to know what a mini-lift looks like, to get in the mirror and pull back on the neck. That’s similar to a mini lift of the neck. If they want to know what a mini-facelift looks like, gentle tension on the lower part of the face will show you the result.

There is a lot of confusion out there among patients and doctors, and I think it is not an unusual question. Something we should certainly address over the long term is to standardize this language so everybody can understand it.”

Ask Dr. Maas your own plastic surgery question

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Maas to discuss a facelift or mini-lift, please call (415) 567-7000

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