Length of operation: from 2 to 3 hours
Type of Anaesthesia: General
Length of stay in hospital: day case / one night hospital stay
Recovery time: 7 to 10 days for the bruising and swelling to subside. Full recovery is between 2 to 5 months
Time off work: 1 to 2 weeks after operation
About mini-facelifts: A mini facelift (short scar facelift) is a modification of a full facelift. In a younger patient with minimal skin looseness, a mini lift may be just the right thing. For patients with more drastic ageing changes like significant jowl and neck looseness, a mini facelift will generally not have the degree of pull necessary to tighten up the jawline and smooth the neck. The results will not be as dramatic or long-lasting as a bigger procedure. The expertise of the plastic surgeon determines which type of surgery suits your individual needs.
A mini facelift is usually associated with skin tightening and a minimal muscle (SMAS) tightening and a shorter amount of surgical time. It lifts less of the face than the full lift, as generally, less tissue is moved and removed than in a full lift. A mini-face lift might lift the skin and perhaps rearrange some underlying tissue on the middle portion of the face or the lower third, but not both, the way a full face lift can.
Suitable candidate: A mini-face lift may be the solution for someone who is younger, is showing fewer signs of ageing, or has a localised problem. It might also be suitable for people who have had a full face lift and are again seeing the effects of time on their face and might regard the mini-face lift as a touch up procedure. Other ideal candidates for a mini facelift include people who have lost a significant amount of weight and want to tighten their loose skin.
Reasons not to go ahead: patients on blood thinning medicine, active smoking, overweight patients.
Pre op: The consultation with your surgeon will be your opportunity to discuss your expectations, learn about the surgery and ask queries or clarify any doubts you might have. The surgeon will perform an examination in order to be able to assess your individual needs and discuss the results in length with you.
On the day: If you decide to go ahead with the procedure, you will receive advice about what to do and what to avoid, prior to surgery. Following the operation, there will be a padded bandage around the neck and face and small drainage tubes, which are inserted underneath the skin during surgery to remove any blood or fluid that may collect following surgery.
Post op: Both the dressing and the tubes are normally removed the day after surgery. Patients are usually able to shower before discharge from hospital with fresh dressings and an elasticated support for the neck and cheeks. An outpatient appointment is arranged for a few days after surgery for removal of sutures.
The patient will receive a complete list of postoperative care instructions before leaving the hospital including how to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in overall health, and when to follow up with the surgeon. You will also be advised to avoid certain activities like taking aspirins, as they are a blood thinning agent, and avoiding any vigorous sport/exercise for 5 to 7 days following surgery.
The sutures in front of the patient’s ears will usually be removed around 3 to 4 days after surgery. Other stitches are dissolvable and remain for approximately 2 weeks.
Convalescence: The scars from a mini facelift are usually limited to the hairline in the temple and in front of the ear without any scar behind the ear. The scars will usually be very faint at first. However they can be expected to thicken and redden for a few months after surgery before they return to a more natural skin colour and texture. Bruising should mostly disappear after 1 to 2 weeks, although it may take a few months for swelling to fully dissipate and up to 4 to 5 months for incision lines to mature. It is normal to experience numbness in the face and this will generally take up to 1 month to subside.
Risks and complications: A small percentage of patients can have complications just like for any surgical procedure. However, a mini facelift is a less extensive procedure than a facelift and therefore has fewer complications.
Infection: can be usually treated with an antibiotic.
Haematoma (blood clot under the skin) or bleeding: a re-visit to the operating theatre may be necessary.
Delayed healing of the wound: particularly true in case of diabetic patients or those who smoke. This needs to be discussed with the surgeon during the consultation stage.
Asymmetry and scars: usually visible in the early post-operative stage; normally fade over a period of months.
Loss of function or injury to the branches of the facial nerve.
Effects of the procedure: Although the effects of a mini-face lift do not last as long as those of a full face lift, they usually last about 5 to 10 years.
All results will be affected by your heredity and lifestyle factors.