Mini-facelifts and neck lifts are designed to reverse facial age-associated changes such as sagging excess skin along the jawline (jowls) and bands in the neck. These procedures are great for patients in their late 40s and 50s who are seeking maintenance rather than a sudden dramatic change. Mini-procedures offer rejuvenation but are less extensive than full facelifts or neck lifts: less skin is removed and muscles are tightened less. Most facelifts also incorporate some degree of a neck lift depending on the severity and location of excess skin and vice versa.

Good candidates for this procedure:

  • Patients with sagging and loss of muscle tone in the lower face, resulting in jowls

  • Patients with fine wrinkling and skin excess in the cheeks

  • Patients with sagging skin in the midface and/or jawline

  • Patients with deep creases extending from the nose to the corners of the mouth (nasolabial folds)

  • Patients with lines extending from each corner of the mouth down the chin (marionette lines)

  • Patients with fallen or displaced facial fat (volume)

  • Patients with excess skin and fat in their necks

  • Patients with folds and lines in their necks

  • Patients who desire a sleeker neck with a more distinct jawline

  • Patients with a double chin, resulting from loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw

What to expect: Consultation

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All cosmetic consultations are complimentary and serve as a great opportunity to gain further insight by voicing your concerns and having questions answered. During the initial consultation, Dr. Hsu will ask some questions to get to know you and determine if you are a good candidate for a mini-facelift or neck lift.

Dr. Hsu will first ask you about your specific goals for the procedure, including what areas of the face you would like to improve. He will examine the face together with you, so that you can point out the specific areas of the face where you would like improvement or maintenance. He will also ask you about your general health history, including any existing medical problems, prior surgery, daily medications, allergies, and any smoking habits.

Dr. Hsu will then give you his assessment on whether you would be a good candidate for the procedure, and if so, how the surgical plan should be individualized for your anatomy. Since each patient's anatomy and surgical goals are different, you and Dr. Hsu will work together to reach optimal aesthetic results. 

Surgery Details:

On the day of surgery, Dr. Hsu will meet you in the pre-operative area before surgery to make markings on the areas planned for surgery and answer any last minute questions you may have. These procedures are performed under local anesthesia for a duration of approximately four hours. Dr. Hsu will make an incision where the ear meets the cheek, ensuring it will be well-hidden. Depending on the severity of the lift, the incision can trace from the hairline in the temple, along the front of the ear, and might even extend to the back of the ear. The main difference between a full and mini-procedure is the amount of dissection and pull needed. Dr. Hsu will remove excess skin and will tighten the weakened muscle underneath to create a more natural and rejuvenating result without making skin appear pulled.

Recovery & Post-operative Instructions:

After the surgery, Dr. Hsu will wrap dressings around the surgical area which will remain there for the first week during healing. You must keep your head elevated during recovery periods, making sure to sleep on two pillows at night. We also recommend wearing a handkerchief or shawl to cover the area so that you will be more comfortable going outside. For most patients, by two weeks after surgery, bruising and swelling has subsided enough for makeup and concealer to cover any remaining bruising.

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Most importantly, you should keep the surgical area dry until Dr. Hsu gives his approval to shower. To clean the rest of your body, you can bathe from the shoulders down. Dr. Hsu will usually remove stitches during your first week follow up appointment. Swelling & bruising will peak about 48 hours after surgery but will then decrease significantly in the first two weeks. Most patients can return to work after two weeks, but many patients return even sooner. The biggest limitation for post-operative patients is driving, which should be avoided while taking pain medication. Patients usually stop taking pain medication after five to seven days and plan their work schedules accordingly. Six weeks is usually an appropriate time to gradually return to full exercise and activity.

During the recovery period, we recommend walking within the house several times per day to speed healing and minimize the possibility of developing blood clots. If you have any issues after surgery, Dr. Hsu is available 24 hours for any immediate concerns. For an extended period of time after surgery, Dr. Hsu will see you in follow up to make sure you are healing well. Follow up appointments are scheduled one week, two weeks, and several months to a year afterward.

Mini versus Full?

  • Mini-procedures are not as extensive. The results are still rejuvenation but not as substantial as a full facelift or neck lift. Usually targeted for younger women in their 40s to 50s that are looking for a lift for maintenance and not for a sudden dramatic change.
  • Mini-procedures are gaining popularity due to the decreased downtime and recovery.
  • Mini-procedures are done under local anesthesia in our clinic.

Dr. Hsu's view on a Mini-Facelift/Mini-Neck Lift.

The mini-face/neck lift and upper eyelid surgery are the two most popular procedures I perform.  Its popularity probably stems from the fact that patients can get a rejuvenated appearance without all of the downtime of a full facelift, and without the need for general anesthesia.  In most cases, it is done in conjunction with upper eyelid surgery, which can be done either on the same day as the mini-facelift, or on a separate day, depending on the patient.

The mini-face/neck lift is designed to be a slightly quicker recovery procedure than a full facelift.  The steps performed during surgery are similar, again requiring individual customization, but everything is performed in slightly more conservative fashion in order to allow for quicker healing.

Nearly all patients who come to me for facial rejuvenation will ask if they are candidates for mini-facelift or if they need to undergo a full facelift.  I need to examine each face to determine what is most appropriate, but in practice, I would say nearly 80% of patients are candidates for mini-facelift.  In the remaining 20%, the degree of improvement required really requires a full facelift.  This is probably my favorite procedure to perform because the results can be truly astounding in some patients.