Mini Facelift? Midface Lift? Thread Lift? What’s the Difference?

Many of the patients who are considering a facelift at my Sacramento or Granite Bay practice say that online research about the procedure can be confusing. One of the main reasons is because it can be difficult to distinguish between the facelift terms and techniques that produce legitimate, long-lasting results— and those that are really not facelifts at all.

Facelift Types

Let’s sort out the terms plastic surgeons use when discussing facelifts and discuss how they differ from minimally invasive procedures. The latter are generally less costly and have little downtime, but they create only short-term results. Here are 3 of the most popular facelift terms:

  • SMAS facelift: If you’ve spent any time researching facelifts, you’ve probably seen the term SMAS several times. SMAS is short for superficial musculoaponeurotic system, the layer of tissue and muscle supporting the skin, which the plastic surgeon repositions in any good facelift procedure. This technique, when performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, avoids the “windswept” look that can occur if a surgeon simply pulls the patient’s skin tight without lifting the SMAS layer.
  • Short Scar/Mini Facelift: Not all patients need or want the comprehensive results of a SMAS facelift, and I do recommend mini facelifts for certain patients. But the development of advanced minimally invasive options, such as BOTOX® Cosmetic, dermal fillers, and lasers, has reduced the number of mini facelifts I perform.
  • Midface Lift: A midface lift addresses aesthetic concerns about the cheeks and areas below the eyes. Traditional facelift techniques (such as a SMAS procedure) improve the appearance of the lower one-third of the face, such as jowls and the jawline. A midface lift elevates sagging tissue, and it may include replacing volume that is often lost in this area as we age.

Additional Options

I routinely use fat transfer for my facelift patients, as well, because the majority of them benefit from this technique. Sometimes, I also recommend that my patients combine their facelift with a neck lift for more dramatic results.
Your plastic surgeon should discuss all of these options with you during your consultation. To help guide your discussion,  I provide some tips for asking the right questions in this blog post.

Nonsurgical “Facelifts”

In the past 15 years, the popularity of minimally invasive facial rejuvenation techniques has increased dramatically. Now let’s take a quick look at these methods, which are sometimes marketed as “weekend” or “lifestyle” lifts, and emphasize the convenience of the procedure.

  • Thread Lift: The thread lift uses barbed sutures to lift sagging tissue, a technique developed in the late 1990s. Research shows, however, that this procedure provides short-term results, and it can lead to complications and discomfort for the patient.
  • Silhouette InstaLift™: Similar to the thread lift, the InstaLift re-contours the face with a minimally invasive technique that relies on absorbable sutures to reposition and elevate the skin. Again, the results are short-lived, and this procedure shouldn’t be considered a facelift alternative.
  • Liquid Facelift: The phrase “liquid facelift” denotes a combination of aesthetic injectable treatments, such as BOTOX and fillers, that work together to create a “lifted” appearance. Combining injectables in this way can be effective for patients who are not ready for facial plastic surgery.

If you are interested in the rejuvenating and confidence-boosting effects of a facelift, take a look at my patients’ before-and-after photos to see the type of results you can expect. And when you’re ready to discuss your own facelift options, contact my Sacramento or Granite Bay offices online or call us at (916) 929-1833 (Sacramento) or (916) 773-5559 (Granite Bay).

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