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Minilift

Mini Lift Procedurep>The minilift or mini face lift is a plastic surgery procedure designed to tighten loose skin in the lower third of the face and neck. The lower face lift procedure can improve the appearance of jowls or heavy cheeks. Good candidates for the minilift procedure include healthy patients who have jowling and either minimal or no neck laxity.

Our Philosophy:

Dr. Moynihan performs the minilift procedure in an outpatient surgical center using local anesthesia or sedation. The procedure takes two to three hours to complete. The incision for the mini face lift is completely hidden in the area around the ear. Once the incision is made, permanent sutures are used to tighten the underlying musculature, and liposuction is used to remove excess fat in the neck.

There are many different terms used in the field of plastic surgery to indicate a procedure that is less complex and with less downtime then a formal rhytidectomy (facelift). The nomenclature can be as varied as safety lift, lunchtime facelift, S lift or cheek lift. Unfortunately, these phrases are often used for marketing purposes and do not accurately describe the minilift procedure that will be performed; the outcomes to expect nor the risk involved in the procedure. Corporate entities participate in this marketing with promises of procedures performed awake with no downtime. With such varied terminology out in the public, the problem that arises for the plastic surgery consumer is the inability to accurately compare and contrast various procedures and decide which one is right for them.

I prefer to keep things simple in my life. With that in mind, I offer two procedures to rejuvenate the lower half of the face and neck: Facelift and Minilift.

In general, the term facelift refers to lifting the tissues of the cheek, jaw line and neck region, whereas the term mini-lift or mini face lift refers to lifting the tissues of the cheek and jaw line. Individuals with stand-alone cheek laxity and little to no neck laxity are the ideal candidates for a minilift procedure. A minilift is not an option for individuals with neck laxity, as they will end up disappointed due to the simple fact that the neck is not addressed by the minilift procedure. In my practice, the difference between the two procedures is simply the extent of the incision but no difference in the extent of the muscle tightening.

Recovery after the minilift or lower face lift takes about one week. Patients may experience some bruising and swelling, and the skin may feel tight or numb. Any discomfort that patients experience usually fades quickly and can be controlled with medication. In one week, the stitches are removed and patients can return to work. Light exercise may also be resumed after one week, though more strenuous exercise will need to be postponed for about two weeks.

Preoperative Minilift Consultation

The decision on which procedure is correct for the patient is determined during the minilift consultation. The concerns of the patient are reviewed by the doctor along with relevant medical history and medications taken. Photographs are taken and imaging is performed, which allows demonstration of what possible outcomes are achievable with each procedure. It allows patients to confirm that the mini face lift procedure decided upon will alleviate the highest priority concerns.

Preoperative Minililft Preparation

To assure all patients are healthy enough to undergo a minilift procedure, their primary care physician performs a history and physical. Appropriate laboratory and diagnostic testing are performed on a case-by-case basis. A list of prohibited medicines is provided and should be stopped two weeks prior to the lower face lift procedure under the guidance of the patient’s physician. It is recommended that a patient purchase Arnica Montana and Brome lain (found in pineapple/pineapple juice). Both of these homeopathic, natural supplements assist in the postoperative healing process by reducing swelling and bruising. The night before the procedure and the morning of, the patient will shower with an antibacterial soap and not to be followed by the application of lotion.

It will be necessary to have several prescriptions filled (pain medicine, antibiotic, nausea prevention medicine, and sleep aid) as well as several post-op care items (hydrogen peroxide, witch hazel. Vaseline; Q-tips and medical gloves). The use of these medicines and post-op treatments will be discussed in a later section.

Anesthesia and Facility

Both the facelift and minilift are performed in an operating room for the safety and sterility of the patient. The facility used is most often an outpatient surgical center that affords both convenience and privacy of the patient. The outpatient center is often more economical for the patient as well. I perform both facelifts and minilifts under sedation (often referred to as Twilight or MAC anesthesia). Sedation refers to the use of medicines delivered intravenously, which provides relaxation and amnesia for the patient while allowing the patient to breathe on their own (no breathing tube necessary). An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist delivers the anesthesia. The clear advantage of sedation is in the recovery period. The sedated patient wakes up very quickly with little to no nausea while also avoiding the oft recounted ‘washed out’ feeling of general anesthesia, which can take several days to clear.

A ‘patient sitter’ (retired surgical assistant who has worked with me in the operating room for several years) will accompany the lower face lift patient from the recovery room to a hotel room across the street from my office. I will check up on the patient at the hotel room on the evening of the mini face lift surgery. The sitter will bring the patient to my office the next morning to remove dressings and review post-op wound care.

Minilift Surgical Procedure

As mentioned above, the actual difference between a facelift and a minilift procedure is the length of the incision and the amount of surgery performed on the neck tissues. The minilift procedure requires an incision that is placed where the ear interfaces with the plane of the face and extends into the temple a few centimeters and behind into the post-auricular (hidden behind the ear) crease. There is no such thing as scar-less surgery but it is possible to hide the scars in areas of the face that the human eye expects to see a line, such as the interface between the front of the ear and the face.

Once the incision is made, the skin is carefully dissected off the underlying tissue. Following the dissection, the muscular layer is positioned into its natural anatomical position (slightly higher and further back towards the ear). The lift is created with tension on the muscle and not with tension on the skin. This is an important differentiation to highlight since this technique produces a natural result without the ‘pulled’ or ‘wind swept’ look. The neck region is typically not addressed when performing a mini face lift or minilift although if there is some mild laxity present some light liposuction is performed.



Minilift incisions are closed with sutures and stainless steel clips in hair-bearing regions of the scalp to protect and preserve the hair follicles. There is a compressive dressing placed around the face and neck to prevent collections of blood. The dressing is removed the next morning; when returning to the office with the sitter. Sutures and clips are removed one week after the lower face lift procedure. A significant amount of the swelling and bruising resolves at the end of the first week; and certainly by ten to fourteen days, the patient is ready for re-entry into society.

Additional Minilift FAQs

What is Minilift?

The minilift is a plastic surgery procedure performed to tighten loose skin in the lower third of the face and neck thus improving the appearance of jowls, or heavy cheeks.

Who is a good candidate for a Minilift?

Healthy men and women who have jowling and either minimal or no neck laxity are the ideal candidates for a mini face lift.

What happens during the Minilift consultation?

During your minilift consultation, Dr. Moynihan will thoroughly examine your face to have a clearer understanding of your particular facial anatomy as well as have a more accurate evaluation of your specific skin laxity condition. On top of this, your medical history will also be taken and assessed. Dr. Moynihan will likewise discuss with you your treatment goals and expectations. The details of the minilift procedure, including the technique, the anesthesia, the recovery, the risks and the costs, will also be explained at this time.

Where is Minilift performed?

Dr. Moynihan performs minilifts in an outpatient surgical center.

There are many different terms used in the field of plastic surgery to indicate a procedure that is less complex and with less downtime then a formal rhytidectomy (facelift). The nomenclature can be as varied as safety lift, lunchtime facelift, S lift or cheek lift. Unfortunately, these phrases are often used for marketing purposes and do not accurately describe the procedure that will be performed; the outcomes to expect nor the risk involved in the procedure. Corporate entities participate in this marketing with promises of procedures performed awake with no downtime. With such varied terminology out in the public, the problem that arises for the plastic surgery consumer is the inability to compare and contrast the various procedures and decide which one is right for them.
I prefer to keep things simple in my life. With that in mind, I offer two procedures to rejuvenate the lower half of the face and neck: Facelift and Minilift.

In general, the term facelift refers to lifting the tissues of the cheek, jaw line and neck region, whereas the term mini-lift refers to lifting the tissues of the cheek and jaw line. Individuals with stand-alone cheek laxity and little to no neck laxity are candidates for a minilift. A minilift is not an option for individuals with neck laxity, as they will end up disappointed due to the simple fact that the neck is not addressed by the minilift procedure. In my practice, the difference between the two procedures is simply the extent of the incision but no difference in the extent of the muscle tightening.

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