Q: I am 46 years old and I have some loose skin along my jaw line. I don’t know if I am ready for a facelift, but the idea of a mini facelift sounds nice. What is the difference between them and how long is recovery?
A: A mini facelift means something different to each surgeon. It is performed by way of an incision placed in front of the ear and in many medical practices this is where the similarity ends. In my practice, a multi plane procedure is done with repositioning of the SMAS*, as in a standard facelift, resulting in a long lasting improvement of the jaw line and the mid face region. There is little improvement of the neck region so this procedure is appropriate for those with early signs of facial aging without significant neck changes. Mini facelifts as performed by some other surgeons involve elevation of the skin only with placement of traction sutures to suspend the midface and jowl followed by skin closure. This is the “lunch hour” facelift. The results are short lived because one is relying on stitches and the skin to achieve a lasting result. The recovery time for the “lunch hour” face lift is about a week and for the multi plane procedure, ten days to two weeks.
*SMAS: A fibrous membrane underneath the skin that is attached to the jowls and superficial neck muscles, when pulled up, it pulls the sagging areas along the jaw line.