What is the Difference Between Facelift, Mini Facelift & Deep Plane Facelift?

Facelift surgery has remained one of the most popular plastic surgeries for several years. Even with an ideal skin routine, little sun, and good genes, aging is inevitable and often distressing. Therefore, as people reach their fifties, they may consider plastic surgery to address sagging and extra skin plaguing the lower face.

Most people know that a facelift helps you look younger and have heard of the procedure. However, many do not know that a traditional full facelift is not necessarily one size fits all. While aging affects everyone, it also will affect everyone differently. Some people may have more extra skin than others, while some patients may have thinner or worse quality skin.

This can lead to a plastic surgeon recommending a different type of facelift, or even an added procedure. There are many options for a facelift, but three types tend to get recommended more than others: a mini facelift Raleigh NC, traditional facelift, and deep plane facelift. But, what is the difference between these facelifts?

Mini Facelift

Mini facelift surgeons often tout the benefits of this smaller and less invasive version of a traditional facelift. It is usually recommended for patients under 55, but occasionally may benefit older patients as well. Sometimes patients in their late thirties can even benefit from mini facelift surgery.

This type of facelift includes incisions behind or near the ear like all facelifts. However, they tend to be smaller than other facelift surgery incisions. Also, the SMAS, or superficial muscle structures, are not also tightened during a mini facelift. This means that mini facelifts may not last as long as regular facelifts.

However, a mini facelift is a great option for prolonging a larger facelift surgery. Some patients may also need small skin removal, which is easily necessitated by mini facelift surgery.

Traditional Facelift

A traditional facelift—sometimes referred to as a full facelift— involves lifting both the skin and superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) structures.

First, the skin is lifted from the SMAS, and the SMAS is tightened. Your Raleigh plastic surgeon then tightens the skin over the newly tightened muscle and tissue before stitching it into place. This creates a natural look for most patients while keeping the scars as hidden and thin as possible.

Plastic surgeons usually remove more skin with this facelift method than when compared with a mini facelift. Surgeons and patients no longer favor the “windswept” facelift results of the past.  To avoid this, the procedure simply suspends the skin and tissues naturally to achieve a more natural looking contour.

Traditional facelifts last an average of ten years. Though, according to many mini facelift surgeons, it is possible for any facelift to last ten years or longer. When the right facelift is performed, this is absolutely true.

Also Read: Benefits of a Facelift surgery

Deep Plane Facelift

A deep plane facelift modifies the SMAS facelift technique. Instead of separating the skin and SMAS layer, a deep plane facelift lifts them at the same time. Many plastic surgeons believe this creates a more natural-looking appearance because the structures remain attached to each other like they normally are.

The technique may still need to release a few ligaments, but overall it keeps the structures together. Slowly, a deep plane facelift is becoming the new standard for a traditional facelift. However, there are some cases where separating the structures will provide a better and more natural result. This is evaluated during a consultation with a Raleigh plastic surgeon.

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Determining The Right Facelift For You

Ultimately, a professional plastic surgeon will need to evaluate you to determine the right facelift procedure. However, you can get a rough idea by examining your own anatomy.

First, how pronounced are your jowls? If they hang prominently, a full or deep plane facelift will likely be required. If they are just starting to form, a mini facelift may address this. Second, how much loose skin do you have and how far does it extend?

If extra skin is dragging down your cheeks and extends to your neck, a full facelift may be necessary. If you have minimal (but still visible extra skin), you may be a mini facelift candidate.

As mentioned above, mini facelift surgeons or other qualified plastic surgeons can make a more educated recommendation upon examining your face and discussing the results you want to achieve.


Facelift surgery of any kind allows patients to look consistently younger than their peers for the rest of their life. It turns back the clock on aging to give patients the opportunity to reverse some of the aging processes and essentially “start over” from about a decade before.

Additionally, patients can choose to have their facelift performed under local or twilight anesthesia. This helps reduce the risk of surgery, recovery time, and post-operative pain.

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