As a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and facelift specialist, Dr. Konstantin sees many women and men who are interested in the mini facelift at his Manhattan, NYC, practice. While not appropriate for every patient, the rugical mini facelift is a great procedure for those with early signs of facial aging that primarily involve loss of jawline definition and early formation of jowls. On this page Dr. Konstantiin describes how the procedure came about and answers the questions he is most commonly asked.
History of the Mini Facelift
The mini facelift is likely to be the oldest surgical rejuvenation procedure that is still in use today. The first such mini lift was performed over 100 years ago by a famous German surgeon Jacque Joseph. A polish noblewoman convinced the surgeon to tighten the skin of her face by pulling sagging tissue towards the ears, mimicking the effect of a very tight pony tail. The surgical “pony tail lift” tightened the sagging skin of her face and made her appear years younger. Excess skin was removed, and the incisions were held together with silver wires and horse hair. Hence the mini facelift was born.
Subsequently, a great number of surgeons attempted a similar rejuvenation procedure and great many variations on mini facelift were developed to fit the needs of different patients. However, limitations of such mini procedures became quickly apparent. Only small amount of skin could be removed through limited incisions. Also, the results of small-scale facelifts were short lived with most patients developing skin laxity within one to two years of their procedure.
Improvements Brought Along Drawbacks
To overcome these limitations, surgeons began to invent more complex and elaborate facelift techniques. In addition to removing lax skin, these methods involved tightening underlying tissues in order to increase the longevity of the facelift results. Also, extending the incisions farther around the ear to the temple and into the hairline became necessary in order to correct significant skin laxity. Facelifts became bigger, more extensive, and more complicated; however, these improvements brought along drawbacks:
Increased longevity of results came at the price of increased healing time.
More extensive surgical techniques frequently made the face appear overly taut and the skin look pulled.
Neither of these changes were met favorably by the patients who were seeking shorter, less traumatic procedure and more natural results. This lead many surgeons to revisit old mini facelift techniques in attempt to shorten the length of the incisions and reduce healing time.
“New & Improved” Mini Facelifts
In the early 2000s, a great number of “new” facelift techniques became household names with patients seeking facial rejucenation. Quicklift®, S-Lift, Y Lift®, and Lifestyle Lift are just a few names of re-invented mini facelifts. All of these procedures promised to combine significant rejuvenation with minimal recovery time and limited incisions. However, the enthusiasm around the new and improved mini facelift was short lived. It turned out that that these new techniques still had the limitations of their older counterparts such as limited correction of skin laxity and shorter lasting results. Many patients who were quick to get mini facelifts became quite dissatisfied with the results and returned for more complete facelift procedures just a few years later.
So, did the mini facelift fail to deliver what it promised? Not quite. When performed correctly and used for the right patient, it remains a great procedure.
The results of a typical mini-facelift by Dr. Konstantin
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the most common questions and suggestions to help you decide whether mini-facelift is right for you:
Who is the best candidate for a mini facelift?
The best candidate is usually a person in his or her 30s to early 40s with early signs of facial aging and good skin elasticity. Loss of definition around the jawline and early formation of jowls would be the most appropriate indications for a mini facelift. Correcting significant jowling; sagging, hollow cheeks; or lax soft tissue of the neck all require a more extensive facelift procedure.
How is a mini facelift performed?
Most mini facelifts are performed under lighter forms of anesthesia than with a full facelift. Local anesthesia with mild or moderate sedation is commonly used. This type of anesthesia makes the procedure much safer and the recovery easier for the patient.
Once the anesthesia is administered, local anesthetic is injected, and incisions are outlined. The typical mini facelift incision curves around the ear and extends upward at an angle to the temple and into the hairline behind the ear. The length of the mini lift incision is usually much shorter than with a more extensive facelift procedure. Once the incision is made, a skin flap is elevated to expose the underlying SMAS (Submuscular Aponeurotic System) tissue. Tightening sutures are subsequently placed into the SMAS to secure the elevated tissue and flatten and tighten the jowls. Once the contour of the jawline is established, the excess skin is removed, and incisions are closed with small sutures. Bandages may be placed after the procedure to keep the facial tissue in place.
How quickly will I heal after a mini facelift?
Healing time can vary greatly from patient to patient. However, most mini facelift patients can expect to take 5 to 7 days off work for healing. Typically, the signs of recent surgery are greatly diminished by the end of the first week and not easily noticeable by a casual observer. Some creative hair styling and occasional make-up application helps hide the residual signs of surgery.
What are the complications of a mini facelift?
After mini facelift, just like with any other facial rejuvenation procedure, swelling and bruising are normal initially. With mini facelift these side effects are usually mild and diminish within a week or two. Two additional side effects of a mini facelift are numbness around the ears and a feeling of tightness around the jawline. These sensations fade more quickly and are less intense with mini facelift than with other more extensive forms of facelift. Other complications such as hematoma, infection, poor skin healing and hypertrophic scars are possible but rare after a mini facelift.
How long will the results from a mini facelift last?
The longevity of the results from a mini facelift varies greatly from patient to patient and depends on an individual's tissue quality and extent of aging, and the amount of soft tissue removed. In general, improvements from a mini facelift last 3 to 5 years and then gradually diminish.
After having a mini facelift, can I have another facelift in the future?
Yes. Another facelift may be done once the rejuvenating effect of a mini facelift begins to diminish. It is not advisable for someone who needs a more extensive procedure to “try” a mini facelift first. This strategy would certainly fail, and result in unnecessary additional surgery and possibly diminished overall results. Also remember: two mini facelifts do not equal one complete facelift.
If I don't like the results of a mini facelift, how long should I wait to have another facelift?
In most cases, it is recommended to wait for at least 6 to 12 months before considering another facelift procedure.
Dr. Konstantin is one of the leading facelift specialists in New York City and is sought by patients throughout the world. To learn more about the mini facelift, contact us online to schedule a consultation, or call us at
to speak to a member of our team.
See how Dr. Konstantin blends art and science to help you reach your aesthetic potential
Dr. Konstantin is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon specializing in artful treatment of the aging face, eyelids, and neck. He performs more than 1,000 facial cosmetic procedures annually, making him one of the busiest facial plastic surgeons in Manhattan.