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Mini Facelift Recovery: What To Expect

Home » Blog » Mini Facelift Recovery: What To Expect

Mini Facelift Recovery: What To Expect


    How Long Is Mini Facelift Recovery?

    The mini facelift is often known as the short-scar facelift, as it involves shorter incisions than more invasive facelift techniques. The mini facelift goal is to refresh the lower face and jawline by removing, repositioning, and tightening early drooping skin and fat along the lower face and jawline.

    With a shorter recovery period than other facelift techniques, the mini facelift can address the following:

    • Early signs of saggy jowls
    • Moderate volume loss in the lower face that has progressed too far for fillers to restore but not quite enough for a full lift
    • An undefined jawline and chin
    • Excess, droopy skin and tissues in the lower face (but not severe skin laxity)
    • Fine lines and wrinkles along the lower face and jawline

    A mini facelift is an excellent option if you don’t want to deal with the downtime, cost, or pain involved with a full facelift but want some subtle rejuvenation. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends it only for younger individuals with mild skin laxity as it does not provide the same level of rejuvenation as a full facelift.

    The mini facelift can be done without the use of general anesthesia. Patients can remain awake during the procedure with only local anesthesia or twilight sedation and safely and comfortably leave their plastic surgeon’s office soon after. Being awake does not mean you will feel any pain during the procedure, twilight or local anesthesia are still powerful for minimizing any discomfort caused by the mini facelift procedure.

    So, what is a mini facelift recovery like? The fact that no general anesthesia is needed allows for a speedier recovery than a traditional facelift, as general anesthesia has side effects such as fatigue that can last two weeks or so and hinder your ability to resume regular activities. 

    The lower-third facelift takes about two hours in the operating room at a plastic surgery center compared to a full facelift procedure that can last three or more hours. 

    With shorter incisions, a less complex procedure, and no general anesthesia, the mini facelift recovery is typically half the time of a traditional facelift. Our patients usually feel comfortable returning to work within a week of surgery if their jobs are not physically demanding.

    Although the mini facelift is less invasive than a full facelift, it still targets the underlying framework of the face to deliver a noticeable, lasting refresh, and it is normal to have some initial swelling, bruising, and feeling of tightness. This should be mild compared to the side effects of a full facelift and the majority should subside within the first two weeks. Here at The Kaplan Center, our patients find the mini facelift recovery practically painless.

    Some plastic surgeons call it the “weekend facelift” for a reason. Some patients get their mini facelift on a Friday and feel ready to return to their usual schedule by Monday.

    When Can I Resume Normal Activities After A Mini Facelift?

    As mentioned above, the mini facelift is typically followed by a shorter, less painful recovery time compared to a full facelift. Any initial swelling or bruising is mild and short-lived in comparison, and most patients feel comfortable going out in public again within just a few days of their surgery.

    Most patients can return to normal activities such as working, socializing, and grocery shopping within one week of their mini lift, as swelling and bruising typically fade quickly and they don’t have the fatigue from general anesthesia they would feel after a full facelift. Doctors on RealSelf say the one-week mark is the average point at which mini facelift patients feel presentable enough to go out and about.

    While most patients feel fabulous and ready to conquer just about anything at the 2-week mark, it’s important to let your body heal before jumping back into strenuous physical activity. Wait at least 3-4 weeks or as long as your doctor recommends to resume activities such as weight lifting or running.

    How Long Do Mini Facelift Incisions Take To Heal?

    Short-scar facelift incisions are typically hidden discreetly around the natural creases of the ears and in the hairline, so scarring is virtually undetectable once fully healed. When patients carefully follow their doctor’s aftercare instructions, their incisions typically heal dramatically within one month and continue to fade in the months to follow. By six months, your mini facelift scars should be practically unnoticeable.

    Best practices for making your mini facelift scars heal quickly and beautifully include:

    • Keep the crusties away! Be sure to clean and moisturize your incisions with saline and ointments such as petroleum jelly to avoid crusting from forming into poorly healed scars.
    • As an added boost to keep your incisions hydrated, use silicone gel or sheeting.
    • Minimize sun exposure as much as possible and wear broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen daily. Don’t forget to reapply as directed!

    Recovering From A Mini Facelift: Aftercare Tips

    While it is a less invasive procedure with a shorter, less difficult downtime period you should still take care of your body as it heals during mini facelift recovery. Here are our tips to help you get the best mini facelift result

    • Keep your head elevated for the first few weeks to reduce the risk of complications such as inflammation, pain, and infection.
    • Eat a healthy, balanced diet full of protein, vitamins and minerals. Getting proper nutrition speeds up your body’s natural healing process.
    • Avoid weight fluctuations as gaining or losing a significant amount of weight can negatively impact your results.
    • Follow your surgical team’s recommendations on minimizing physical activity. To prevent complications with your results or a longer recovery period, wait 3-4 weeks.
    • Get plenty of sleep. Your body repairs and regenerates as you rest.
    • Drink plenty of water.
    • Take care of your incisions by keeping them clean and hydrated.
    • Take any of the pain or infection prevention medications prescribed by your doctor as they suggest.
    • Don’t smoke. 
    • Avoid drinking alcohol for at least the first 2 weeks after surgery.
    • Wear sunscreen and protective clothing, and try to limit your exposure to the sun.
    • To maintain your results keep your face and neck moisturized with medical-grade skin care even after your initial recovery. 
    • Follow any other pre and post-op instructions from your doctor.

    Ready for a mini facelift and the recovery to follow? Request a consultation with NJ and NY board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Gordon Kaplan to get one step closer to a refreshed, more confident you.

    The Kaplan Center

    The Kaplan Center is a medical practice ran by board-certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Gordon Kaplan in Edgewater, NJ. With over two decades of experience, The Kaplan Center specialises in plastic and reconstructive surgery for the face and body, along with a number of non-surgical treatments.