How Is a Mini Facelift Different From a Facelift? 4 Differences You Should Know

What's the difference between a mini facelift and a facelift? Answering this question for our Chicago patients.

As you explore your options for facial rejuvenation, you may find yourself struggling to choose between a mini facelift or full facelift at our Chicago plastic surgery practice. It’s clear why people find the mini facelift appealing: It involves smaller incisions and less recovery time while still lifting and rejuvenating the face. For some men and women, however, investing in a full facelift is often more efficient and effective in the long run. The right choice is different for everyone.

The best way to start the decision-making process is to learn the key differences between the procedures. Read on to learn more about how they differ, what they have in common, and what you need to know before scheduling your consultation.


Mini facelift candidates are looking for more correction than is achievable via nonsurgical treatments but are not looking to dramatically reverse severe signs of aging. Many are also candidates for a laser facelift with PrecisionTx, which you can learn more about in this previous blog post.

Facelift candidates are looking to “turn back the clock” by several years by lifting and firming the cheeks, jawline, and neck. They want to look like a younger version of themselves, with a noticeably refreshed look that appears natural and not overdone or “worked on.”


Mini facelifts correct mild to moderate skin laxity, primarily in the neck and cheeks. This helps to delay jowling and more significant sagging in the face, maintaining a youthful appearance.

Facelifts address moderate to severe skin laxity and tissue drooping in the cheeks, lower face, and neck at a deeper level. Repositioning these tissues restores a more oval or “v-line” face shape, as opposed to the squarer shape that develops as a result of aging.

What’s important to note about both surgeries is that nothing can stop the aging process altogether. You’ll likely experience some signs of aging reappearing over the years. However, your procedure will keep you looking younger for longer, and nonsurgical treatments such as dermal fillers or BOTOX® Cosmetic may help extend your results even more.


Mini facelift incisions trace the lower part of the front of the ear and end in a small area behind the ear.

Facelift incisions begin in the hairline at the temple and end behind the ear.

Both types of incisions blend seamlessly with the natural creases of the face and fade to barely visible lines in the months following the surgery.

Recovery Time

Most mini facelift patients return to work and other everyday activities within 5 to 10 days.

Full facelift recovery is a bit longer. Most full facelift patients require between 10 and 15 days for a complete recuperation.

Dr. Sinno’s and Dr. Mustoe’s advanced quick-recovery approach limits bruising and makes recovery as short and comfortable as possible for both procedures. This approach involves advanced wound-healing techniques and the use of local anesthesia when appropriate to get you back to your routine quickly and efficiently.

To see examples of each procedure’s results, please visit our facelift and mini facelift before-and-after photo gallery.

If you would like to learn more about whether a mini or full facelift at our Chicago practice is right for you, please contact us online or call (312) 788-2560. We look forward to hearing from you.

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