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Mini Facelifts VS Facelifts: Exploring the Difference



In the world of cosmetic surgery, facelifts are often viewed as the hallmark of facial rejuvenation. However, as medical technology and techniques have evolved, variations on the traditional facelift have emerged: one such variation that has gained popularity over the years is the mini facelift; and while both procedures aim to restore a youthful appearance to the face, there are notable differences between them.

In the following article, we’re going to take a deep dive into the mini facelift vs facelift debate, highlighting key distinctions, benefits, and the costs associated with each. Let’s get started!


Mini Facelift vs Full Facelift

At a glance, the terminology suggests a scale of invasiveness – with the “mini” implying a less comprehensive procedure. And in essence, this is indeed the case. Here’s a brief overview of each procedure:


Mini Facelift

A mini facelift primarily targets the lower third of the face, including the jowls and the upper neck. The incisions made are smaller, typically located around the ears, allowing for the repositioning of underlying tissues and the removal of excess skin. Due to its less invasive nature, it boasts shorter recovery times and fewer potential complications. This procedure is often favoured by those in their late 30s to 50s who are starting to notice early signs of ageing but aren’t quite ready for a full facelift.


Full Facelift

A full facelift offers a more comprehensive rejuvenation, addressing not only the lower face and neck but also the mid-face, cheeks, and sometimes the brow. The incisions are longer, often extending from the temples, around the ears, and down to the lower scalp.

The procedure entails repositioning deeper facial tissues, redistributing fat and skin, and occasionally tightening underlying muscles. It’s designed for individuals who are experiencing moderate to advanced signs of ageing and wish to achieve a more dramatic transformation.

When considering any facelift procedure, consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon is essential; this discussion will provide valuable insights tailored to your unique needs and aspirations, and give you unique insight into what you can expect from either procedure.

You’ll also be able to examine facelift photos from previous clients, so you can be sure you’re working with someone who understands your skin type and who has a track record of getting results.


What is the Difference between a Mini Facelift and a Lower Facelift?

A lower facelift, much like the mini facelift, primarily focuses on the bottom third of the face. The distinction, however, often lies in the extent of the correction and the techniques used. A mini facelift might be seen as a subtler version, perfect for addressing initial sagging or loss of elasticity.

On the other hand, a lower facelift is more intensive and might be better suited for those with more pronounced ageing signs in the jawline and neck, but who don’t necessarily need adjustments in the mid or upper face.


Cost of Mini Facelift vs Full Facelift

Cost is invariably a determining factor when considering any cosmetic procedures, and unsurprisingly, given its less invasive nature, a mini facelift tends to be more affordable than a full facelift:


Mini Facelift

The cost of a mini facelift in the UK can range widely based on factors such as the surgeon’s experience, the geographical location of the clinic, and any additional procedures that might be performed concurrently. However, on average, one might expect the price to fall between £5000 and £6000.


Full Facelift

For a full facelift, the costs are understandably higher due to the complexity of the procedure, the lengthier operating time, and the materials used. In the UK, a full facelift might range from £7,000 to over £10,000, depending on the aforementioned variables.


Factors to Consider in Your Decision

Beyond cost, there are several other considerations to bear in mind when weighing the options of a mini facelift vs facelift, notably recovery time, the longevity of the results, and the risks and complications associated with each procedure.


Recovery Time

Mini Facelift

Given its less invasive nature, the recovery from a mini facelift is typically quicker. Most patients can expect to resume daily activities within a week, though some swelling and bruising may persist. Strenuous activities and exercise should be postponed for about two weeks.


Full Facelift

Recovery from a full facelift is understandably more extensive. While patients might be up and about within a week or two, the complete healing process, including the reduction of noticeable swelling and bruising, might take several weeks. Most surgeons recommend a waiting period of up to a month before resuming intense physical activities.
Longevity of Results
While both procedures provide rejuvenating effects, the longevity of the results can differ:


Mini Facelift

The results of a mini facelift are generally long-lasting, but given that it addresses early signs of ageing, some individuals may find they need touch-ups or a more comprehensive procedure in later years, particularly as ageing continues.


Full Facelift

A full facelift offers results that can last a decade or more, given its comprehensive approach. However, it’s crucial to note that while the procedure turns back the clock, it doesn’t halt the ageing process. Good skincare practices and a healthy lifestyle can aid in prolonging the effects.


Potential Risks and Complications

Whether it be a tummy tuck or a facelift, every surgical procedure comes with inherent risks, so it’s paramount to understand these potential complications before making an informed decision:


Mini Facelift

While the risks are generally minimal due to the limited invasiveness, complications might include infection, poor scarring, skin irregularities, or nerve injury.


Full Facelift

The risks of a full facelift mirror those of the mini facelift, but can be slightly elevated due to the procedure’s complexity. Hematoma (a collection of blood underneath the skin) is a more common complication in full facelifts, although with a professional and qualified surgeon like Dr. Ivo, you can be sure to be in good hands.


The Bottom Line

The decision between a mini facelift and a full facelift requires thorough consideration. It’s not merely about the extent of rejuvenation desired or the cost, but also about one’s tolerance for recovery time, potential risks, and how long they wish the results to last.

When contemplating a facial rejuvenation procedure, it’s essential to remember the value of expert guidance. Only a consultation with a skilled and experienced surgeon can provide a true assessment tailored to individual needs. Their advice, combined with a clear understanding of the differences between procedures, can guide prospective patients towards an informed and satisfactory decision.

Dr Ivo Gwanmesia

Dr Ivo Gwanmesia is one of Harley Street’s most experienced and renowned craniofacial plastic surgeons. With over a decade of professional experience, he has transformed the lives of countless patients from all over the UK & abroad.

Due to his vast and hands-on training in the UK and the US, Dr Ivo now specialises in more than a dozen different aesthetic, craniofacial and transgender procedures. Some of them include face, neck, and brow lifts, upper and lower blepharoplasty, breast reduction & breast uplift as well as facial feminisation surgery, to name a few.

Dr Gwanmesia has also conducted pioneering research, which led to the development of a new technique for the reconstruction of the middle vault of the nose, known as the ‘Fulcrum Spreader Graft’. He was also part of a study comparing the efficacy of the Sheen Spreader Graft and the Fulcrum Spreader Graft. The study has since been published on PubMed and the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.