Different Types of Facelifts – Which Technique Is Best For You?

Written by Cameron Craven, MD, FACS, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon on July 29, 2014 22 Comments

Facelift techniques

Facial rejuvenation is a very popular segment of cosmetic surgery. During the past decade much research has gone into advancing both the techniques and technologies used to reverse the signs of facial aging. Today, there are a number of treatment options that plastic surgeons can use to help their patients achieve a more youthful appearance in addition to traditional facelift surgery.

1. Liquid Facelift
Injectable dermal fillers made from hydroxyapatite, hyaluronic acid, or lactic acid calcium, can be used to non-surgically smooth creases and folds, plump lips, and fill hollowing areas. Today, some of the most popular fillers include Juvederm, Voluma, and Sculptra. Treatments with dermal fillers are a great way to prevent or delay the need for facelift surgery.

2. Jaw Line Rejuvenation
This procedure is especially good for revitalizing the area between the jaw and upper neck. Excess fat is removed from the neck via liposuction in order to sculpt the jaw line. This harvested fat can then be used as natural filler, if desired, by injecting it back into the cheek and mid-face area to add volume. This is most appropriate for people with minimal skin laxity as skin is not removed with this procedure.

3. Mini Face Lift
The mini-lift (or mini-facelift) is a facelift surgery technique that uses smaller incisions than traditional facelift techniques and thus it’s less invasive. During the procedure, small incisions are made under the cover of the hair line. These incisions allow the surgeon to tighten the skin and remove excess tissue; improving the appearance of the jowls and neck. Mini-lifts are often called “weekend facelifts” because patients can undergo the procedure on Friday and get back to work (and normal activities) on Monday. In general, the mini lift provides less dramatic results compared to a traditional facelift and is ideal for individuals with early signs of aging who might not be ready for a full lift.

4. S-Lift

The S-Lift procedure is sometimes used for treating the lower third of the face (neck and jowls). In this procedure an s-shaped incision is used to separate the skin from underlying tissue. The skin is lifted allowing the surgeon to tighten the muscles and tissue. Lastly the incision is closed with sutures. Like the mini-lift, the S-Lift is less invasive and requires a shorter recovery time compared to traditional technique.

5. Mid-Facelift

The mid-facelift is very effective in treating the mid-face (cheek) area. During this procedure a surgeon makes small incisions in the hairline above the ears, as well as within the mouth. These incisions allow the surgeon to reposition the fat pads in the checks over the cheekbones while also tightening skin in the area.

6. Cutaneous Lift (Skin Only)

Cutaneous facelifts address issues in the neck and lower face area. During the procedure incisions are made around the ear and within the hair line to allow doctors the ability to dissect the skin from underlying muscle. The surgeon trims excess skin and stretches remaining skin to the incision point before closing with sutures. Due to the skin’s ability to stretch over time, this technique is considered to be less durable than other facelift techniques that use forms of muscle tightening.

7. Temporal Facelift or Browlift

Temporal lifts focus on improving the eyebrow area. For individuals with slightly drooping or lowered eyebrows this type of lift can be a great alternative to give the eyebrow area a slight lift without having to undergo a full browlift procedure which is more invasive and requires a longer recover period. The procedure consists of the surgeon making small incisions (typically at the hairline for patients with high foreheads or within the hair for patients with lower hairlines) to lift the skin on the sides of the brows.

8. MACS Lift / QuickLift

Both the QuickLift and the MACS are modifications to the S-Lift technique discussed earlier. These procedures fall between the S-Lift and traditional facelift technique in both invasiveness and results. These procedures require more recovery time than the S-Lift but do provide more dramatic results; making them a good choice for candidates with mild to moderate facial aging.

9. Deep Plane Facelift

A Deep Plane Facelift is an advanced technique where the SMAS (the muscular layer of the face) along with fat and skin are lifted as a single unit. A deeper pull underneath the muscle allows deep plane lifts to address most areas of the face simultaneously – including the midface, marionette lines, and neck. In general, the surgery includes platysmaplasty and neck liposuction if needed.

10. Traditional Facelift

The traditional facelift is an appropriate procedure for patient’s seeking optimal correction of moderate to significant facial aging. Incisions are positioned around the ears and into the hairline as well as a small incision below the chin. The skin is dissected from the underlying muscles allowing tightening of the muscles of the face as well as the neck. Bands of muscle in the front of the neck are sutured together and divided to help provide a smooth contour and defined neckline. Excess fat of the neck and jowels is removed as needed and the skin is re-draped in a natural fashion with excess skin removed both in front and behind the ears. This provides the surgeon optimal exposure and yields the most dramatic and long lasting results for the patient in most cases. Sutures are removed in 6-7 days and patients usually return to work within 10 days. Patients can resume light exercise 2 weeks after surgery.

With any of the above procedures, additional procedures are often performed such as blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), rhinoplasty (nose job), facial implants (such as chin implants), and fat transfers. These can further enhance the results achieved by the patient and allow the surgeon to better meet the needs and goals of each individual.

It is always important to consult with a skilled plastic surgeon regarding which technique would best produce the desired result given your individual characteristics and goals.

Cameron Craven, MD, FACS

Cameron Craven MD, FACS is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Craven specializes in the full spectrum of cosmetic surgery including breast augmentation, liposuction and body contouring, facial rejuvenation, laser surgery, eyelid surgery, and rhinoplasty, as well as reconstructive surgery for skin cancers.

22 Responses to “Different Types of Facelifts – Which Technique Is Best For You?”

  1. Avatar Yelena says:

    Nice post, i did not know there were so many different facelift techniques.

  2. Avatar Jacky says:

    very good information . i need to know an average price for a full facelift please.

  3. Avatar Susan H. says:

    Thank you very much for this information on facial cosmetic surgery. The procedure I found most interesting was the S-lift. I have a really problem with my neck and jowls because they make me look so old. A procedure that could help lift them really appeals to me.

  4. Avatar Alisha says:

    Thanks for sharing this informative blog!

  5. Avatar Rick says:

    I’m really interested in a mid-facelift. Do you have more info about that specific type of facelift (or can you point me in the right diredtion)?

  6. Avatar Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for sharing the information on different types of face lift procedures!

  7. Avatar Deby says:

    I had liposuction 3 years ago under my chin and after 6 months it started to look like a turkey neck, the doctor took way too much. In the first year I looked a lot older than I wanted to. The mid lift is what I’m interested in. How much would that be? I’m tempeed to go to Costa Rica for a fraction of the price. Do you finance? How much is a mid lift?

  8. Avatar Julie says:

    The cost of jawline rejuvenation? Recovery time?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Julie, Thanks for reading our post and submitting your question. While the exact cost and recovery time can differ from patient to patient, here are some typical ranges:

      Recovery: Typically 5 days to 2 weeks for full recovery
      Cost: $2,500 – $6,000 (this is a range via

      If you are in the Austin area, you can come in for an in-person consultation and we can give you specific cost and recovery info for your individual needs and desired goal.

      WD Staff

  9. Avatar Hazel says:

    Thanks for the information on what a mini facelift is and how it can be done on a Friday and you can go back to work the following Monday since the incisions are small and less noticeable.

  10. Avatar Lilia says:

    As I get older my face shows my age more dramatically. Thank you for sharing the different options I have for a face lift. I love the idea of getting a traditional face lift. I don’t want to have a dramatic change, just one that helps me with my aging. I appreciate you sharing that patients usually return to work within 10 days once sutures are removed in 6-7 days. I will need to find a good surgeon who can help me reach my beauty goals!

  11. Avatar Taylor says:

    Thanks for helping me learn more about face lifts. i actually didn’t know that there was a mini-lift where it’s less invasive. You mentioned that these are ideal for those with early signs of aging and I’m also curious if younger people can get it if they want to change just a small feature of their face.

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Taylor,

      Thanks for reading our post and submitting your question. A mini-lift is ideal for younger patients looking for addressing earlier symptoms of aging. I think it sounds like a good fit for the issues you describe. However, you will need to visit a plastic surgeon for an in-person consultation to be sure it can provide the results you desire. Please give us a call if you are in the Austin area!

      WD Staff

  12. Avatar Joy says:

    I didn’t know that there were different types of facelifts. I have been interested in a facelift for a while now so this is very helpful 🙂

  13. Avatar Kells says:

    Interesting in learning more about the mini-facelift. Do you have any further info on that technique?

  14. Avatar Paula says:

    I had buccal fat removal surgery, which doesn’t seem to have a counterpart in your list here. The procedure really did a lot for my self-esteem, which is really the most important part of any facial rejuvenation options. I’m in California so I went to Dr. Nazarian ( otherwise I would have chosen you guys 🙂

  15. Avatar Kate says:

    Hi Cameron,

    Can you please tell me more about “Jaw Line Rejuvenation’?
    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Kind Regards,
    Kate Johnson

  16. Avatar Taylor says:

    It’s cool that mini-facelifts use smaller incisions. The skin around my jaw is kinda loose, so I’d kind of like a facelift. Thanks for explaining the different types of facelifts.

  17. Avatar CNS says:

    People often forget we have nerves on the superficial layer that is exposed during an eyelift. It can cause long-term chronic nerve pain, numbness, and sagging eyelids in a very inexperienced surgeon’s hands. Always good to go to someone who is board-certified and does this surgery on a regular basis

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