The goal of a facelift is to surgically counteract the effects of aging and gravity on the skin by raising and tightening the underlying muscle and tissue. When performed by a double board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Dominic Castellano, a facelift procedure will IMPROVE decades of wrinkles, folds, and skin creases, while also adding body and volume to your appearance.

You might not know how many variations of the facelift procedure are available. Not only are there different facelift techniques, but plastic surgeons also classify facelift procedures by where they are performed on the face. This post will explore the different types of facelift procedures you can choose.


Cosmetic surgeons classify different types of facelifts by the location of the procedure. Here are four facelift procedures that affect different areas of the face.

Mini Facelift

A mini facelift – as the name implies – is a lighter version of the full facelift. During the mini facelift procedure, the plastic surgeon makes smaller incisions along the hairline above and behind the ear. The surgeon then redistributes fat and tightens deep facial tissues to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and jowls.

This procedure is performed with either local or general anesthesia, depending on the surgeon’s recommendation and the client’s medical history. It is a less invasive procedure that is perfect for addressing light to moderate signs of aging. To address moderate to severe signs of aging, you may want to consider a full facelift.

Mid facelift

A mid facelift targets the middle of the face – focusing primarily on the skin and tissue around the cheeks and eyes. This procedure is sometimes performed alongside a cheek OR SUBMALAR implant procedure, but they are not one and the same. During a mid facelift, cosmetic surgeons redistribute fat and tighten the muscles in the mid-face to reduce signs of aging through small incisions in the hairline and the mouth. 

The mid facelift is perfect for clients who want to remove wrinkles and add volume to the area around their cheeks but who may not need a full or mini facelift, which also addresses jowls and marionette lines. 

Full Facelift

A full facelift targets the entire face and is the most extensive facelift procedure. This procedure extends the incision of the mini facelift to behind the ear and into the hairline. This allows your surgeon the ability to tighten and improve the appearance of the face and neck.

In addition, the extended incision will allow excess skin to be removed and redraped so the incisions are not conspicuous. Your surgeon may recommend IV sedation or general anesthesia. 

Full facelifts will treat moderate to severe signs of aging, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, jowls, neck folds, and sagging skin.

Facelift Surgery Techniques

In addition to the area of the face affected, facelift procedures are also classified by the different techniques used during them.

Skin-Only Lift

The skin-only lift, also known as a cutaneous facelift, doesn’t focus on tightening and lifting the muscles of the face or redistributing fat. Instead, the plastic surgeon focuses exclusively on tightening and removing any unnecessary, extra skin. 

This procedure is not as permanent as other types of facelifts because it only focuses on the superficial skin and ignores the muscle and fat underneath. This procedure is not normally done anymore due to the propensity for scarring as well as lack of longevity.


The “superficial musculoaponeurotic system” or SMAS describes a supportive, fibrous layer of muscle that covers the deeper muscles and fat of the face. It functions as a compression shirt, and it helps to support the shape and firmness of the face. As a person ages, the SMAS loses its firmness and form, which leads to sagging in the lower part of the face, neck, and jowls. 

A SMAS facelift will tighten the SMAS, removing sagging jowls and “turkey neck.” It helps redefine the jawline and recontours the neck, reducing the appearance of aging in the lower face.

There are three variations of a SMAS facelift:

SMAS Plication

This variation folds and sutures the SMAS to make it smaller, which increases the tension in the face. This procedure doesn’t involve the removal of tissue.

SMAS Imbrication

Unlike plication, which folds and sutures the SMAS to produce tension, a SMAS imbrication involves the removal of part of the SMAS to reduce the overall surface area, increasing SMAS tension.


This procedure is similar to SMAS imbrication in that it removes a portion of the SMAS to help lift and rejuvenate the face. The difference lies in the angle and position of the resection (or removal) of tissue. This variation has a lower risk of facial nerve injury. 

Extended SMAS

These procedures are considered “extended” because they involve more dissection, which is the medical term for cutting and separating body tissues. These procedures are more complicated and affect a larger portion of the face – including the mid-face. 

Deep Plane

The deep plane facelift involves repositioning the SMAS in such a way as to leave the skin and soft tissues of the face. “Deep plane” refers to the fact that most of the cutting and repositioning happens underneath the SMAS, leaving the skin and subcutaneous tissues mostly unaffected. With this technique there is a higher possibility of facial nerve injury compared to the SMAS plication technique.

Subperiosteal Facelift

This procedure targets the mid and upper areas of the face. The plastic surgeon vertically lifts the soft tissues of the face and reshapes them, which adds body and volume, leading to a more youthful appearance. 


MACS is an acronym for “minimal access cranial suspension.” As the name implies, this procedure is less invasive and can be performed in about two hours. For comparison, the average facelift takes about  THREE TO four hours. Like a regular facelift, the MACS lift still tightens the soft tissues of the upper face. The difference lies in how the skin is draped. A MACS lift repositions the skin with a vertical lift, which more naturally addresses the effects of gravity. 

Schedule a Facelift Consultation with Elite Facial Plastic Surgery Today

Florida trusts Dr. Dominic, a double board-certified plastic surgeon, to deliver the best in facial aesthetics and cosmetic facial surgery. Whether you are interested in facelifts, rhinoplasty, or non-surgical cosmetic procedures, Dr. Dominic and the team at Elite Facial Plastic Surgery have the expertise to consistently deliver stunning results. Call Elite Facial Plastic Surgery today and schedule your free consultation. Your cosmetic revolution is one phone call away!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This