10 Types of Facelift And Neck Lifts: Which Is Best For You?

Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery Blog 10 Types Face And Neck Lifts Which Best For You Woman Feeling Sensation Scaled

Types of Facelift and Necklift to Rejuvenate your Face

Your face is the first thing people notice about you. It tells them about your personality, as well as, how you’re feeling. But, most importantly, it tells them roughly how old you are.

A few decades ago facelifts and neck lifts were not really a ‘thing’. Not only were they too expensive but they also left visible scars and the results were unnatural. Today, face lifting is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures for both women and men. A facelift can rewind the clock and give you back your younger, tighter face.

Over the years, plastic surgeons have developed several variations of the facelift procedure to provide more personalized options for patients. If you’ve been researching either face or neck lifts to try work out which one is best for you, you’ve probably come across infinite and confusing terminology. So, if you want to understand the different types of facelifts and figure out which one is best for you, keep on reading.

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Why are there different types of facelifts?

The problem with the confusing terminology is that many of the facelift terms used are not standard terms and their meaning differs from one surgeon to another. For example, the term “S-lift” might mean a skin-only facelift with one surgeon, while with another surgeon it might include deeper tissue (SMAS) lifting.

The key to understanding the different types of facelifts is by understanding the basic anatomy of the face, and particularly the SMAS. Your face is made of; skin, muscles, and fat pads. You can think of the SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system) as the framework holding all of these tight together. The SMAS, running right beneath your facial skin, is basically what keeps your face perky and all its components in place. When the SMAS and the skin overlying it lose elasticity and become lax, you start showing signs of ageing.

So, what are the different types of facelifts?

We can categorize Facelifts depending on the degree of SMAS lifting, the size and location of the scar, as well as, the part of the face they address. Here’s a simplified list of the different variations of facelifts:

1. Skin-only Facelift

As the name implies, the skin-only facelift (or cutaneous), lifts only your facial skin. It is a superficial facelift procedure that does not involve facial muscles and SMAS lifting. Historically, this type of facelift was common during the ’90s, however, with the advancement of facelifting procedures, it’s rare nowadays.

By only lifting the skin, the cutaneous facelift ignores the most important part of a facelift; lifting the SMAS. Since the SMAS’ laxity and weakness is the actual reason behind facial sagginess, skin-only facelifts provide only minimally satisfying short-term results that are not really comparable to a full facelift.

The procedure involves a small 1-2 cm incision in front of your ear. The surgeon will pull the skin tight and cut out any excess. The skin-only facelift is offered to patients where only excess skin is the problem, but this is rarely the case.


  • Quick procedure (around 30 mins to complete)
  • Small scar (1-2 cm) in front of the ear
  • Minimal downtime
  • Minimal Swelling


  • Short-term results (6 to 12 months)
  • Results are not very natural
  • Limited aesthetic improvements

2. Mini Facelift (Also called S-lift, mini-lift, or short scar facelift)

The mini-facelift is becoming a very popular procedure among our patients not only for its rejuvenating effects, but also for its minimal downtime, and smaller scar. The S-lift is perfect for men and women who have mild to moderate signs of facial ageing, specifically in the middle and lower face. This includes patients with facial wrinkles, saggy cheeks, droopy jowls, and lax skin in the upper neck. The mini-facelift addresses all of these to outline your jawline, perk up your cheeks, and get rid of your wrinkles and lines.

During a mini-facelift, your surgeon will perform a small incision in front of each ear and extend it a little bit around and behind your earlobe. After that, the surgeon will pull up and lift the SMAS into a perky position. Any excess skin will be cut out and the wounds will be closed with fine sutures. Compared to the traditional facelift, the mini-lift offers a smaller incision and quicker healing time. However, the results are less dramatic than those you would expect with a full or deep plane facelift.

Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery Blog 10 Types Face And Neck Lifts Which Best For You Perfectly Beautiful Woman Scaled


  • Acceptable downtime
  • Smaller scar
  • A perfect solution for mild to moderate facial and neck ageing
  • Long term results


  • Less dramatic results compared to a full facelift
  • Does not address upper face wrinkling
  • Does not address lower neck

3. Traditional (SMAS) Facelift

The traditional facelift also called full facelift or SMAS lift has it all. It offers those with moderate to severe signs of face and neck ageing a chance to get their young tight face back.

A full facelift can lift your whole face and neck. It will restore your cheeks’ perkiness and rid you of wrinkles, droopy jowls, marionette lines, and saggy cheek lines. Moreover, a SMAS facelift can tighten your whole neck and contour your jawline and chin.

The procedure can take 3-4 hours to complete. Your surgeon will start by performing a skin incision on each side of your face that starts at your temple along the hairline, back and down in front of your ear, around the earlobe, upward behind your ear, and a little back along the hairline.

Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery Blog Types Face And Neck Lifts Which Best For You Traditional SMAS facelift Illustration Scaled

Your plastic surgeon will release the skin from the underlying SMAS, muscles, and fat. They will then pull the SMAS and deep tissue up to their normal perky position. This lifts your whole face and platysma (neck muscle) it also flattens any lines, wrinkles, and tightens any sagginess.


  • Best cosmetic results possible
  • The scar is well hidden along the hairline
  • Lifts the whole neck and platysma
  • Long term results


  • Slightly longer recovery time
  • Longer scar
  • Does not address the forehead (additional forehead lift needed)

4. Deep-plane Facelift

Deep plane facelifts, also called composite facelifts or subperiosteal lift, is the most invasive type of facelifts. This procedure involves extensive dissection of the tissue beneath the SMAS. Since there are many blood vessels, nerves, and other structures running in the deeper layers of your face, these might be injured during a deep plane facelift. The only advantage of a deep plane facelift is that it offers slightly more lifting of the cheeks.

In fact, studies have shown that a deep plane facelift offers very minimal improvements as compared to the SMAS full facelift. On the other hand, the rate of complications and injuries is much higher. This has led many surgeons to avoid deep plane lifts since they don’t offer any valuable benefit over other types of facelifts.


  • Slightly better outcomes, especially in the middle face region


  • Longer recovery time
  • High risk of nerve or vessel injury
  • More postoperative pain, bruising, and swelling

5. Mid Facelift (Cheek Lift)

The cheek lift is perfect for women or men who only want to tackle saggy cheeks (nasolabial folds). A cheek lift is a focused facelift that aims to lift your cheeks and make them perky again. A mid facelift does not tackle droopy jowls, saggy neck skin, or any other areas of your neck. So if all you want is prominent cheekbones, this surgery is for you.

The procedure starts with two small vertical incisions on each side of your face behind your hairline. Through this incision, your surgeon will grab the SMAS, pull it higher up, and fix it with sutures. They will also remove any excess skin and then close the incisions with sutures. The whole procedure takes around 2 hours to complete. The cheek lift is very similar to the mini-facelift, however, the latter offers more extensive results that involve the jawline and upper neck.

Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery Blog 10 Types Face And Neck Lifts Which Best For You Mid facelift Cheek lift Illustration Scaled


  • Shorter surgical time
  • Focused at restoring perky cheeks
  • Small scar


  • Does not address the lower face (jawline)
  • Does not address any neck sagginess
  • Much less dramatic results compared to a full facelift and mini-facelift

6. Liquid Facelift – A Non-Surgical Facelift

A liquid facelift is a non-surgical alternative to rejuvenate your face using injectable dermal fillers. Your surgeon will inject dermal fillers under your facial skin to plump up the volume and flatten any wrinkles. Dermal fillers can contour your face and augment your cheeks, giving you a tight and young appearance. A liquid facelift can combat aging and will flatten any wrinkles around your lips, eyes, cheeks, temples, and jowls. Moreover, dermal fillers can augment and contour your lips, cheeks, and even your chin to your desire.

Nevertheless, liquid facelifts are not suitable for those with moderate or severe signs of aging. If you have excess skin that is fading your jawline, a liquid facelift is unlikely to cause any satisfying improvements.


  • A quick procedure (20-30 mins)
  • No surgery involved, so no scars are left
  • Cheaper than a facelift
  • Perfect to reverse mild signs of aging


  • Less dramatic results compared to surgery
  • Does not address excess skin
  • Short-term results only (6 to 8 months)
  • Only suitable for those with minimal signs of aging

7. Thread Lift – Non-Surgical Face Rejuvenation with PDO Threads

Thread lifts have been gaining popularity as another non-surgical alternative to the traditional facelift. This procedure offers patients with mild to moderate signs of ageing (mild sagginess, soft wrinkles, droopy jowls, and hollow cheeks) outstanding results. A thread lift can give you a tighter and fuller face and flatten out any wrinkles.

Compared to surgical facelifts, a thread lift is minimally invasive, so it requires much less time to perform and a significantly shorter time to recover. It is usually performed using a local anaesthetic. A thread lift is done using a specialized set and suture lines available in different brands. A needle, with a biocompatible thread attached to its end, is inserted through your skin, into the deeper fat planes, and then out of your skin. The thread is pulled tight to straighten the skin and pull up the underlying tissue. These threads are specially designed to hold their position tight, and within a few months, they get dissolved. However, during this time, they will stimulate your body’s natural healing response to bring in more collagen to your face and help reverse the signs of aging.


  • A quick procedure (20-30 mins)
  • No surgery involved, so no scars are left
  • Cheaper than a facelift
  • Suitable for those with mild and moderate signs of ageing


  • Less dramatic results compared to surgery
  • Does not address excess skin
  • Short-term results (12 to 18 months), but still longer than a liquid facelift

8. Brow Lift lift or Forehead Lift

A brow lift is practically a type of facelift, in the sense that it lifts an important part of your face – your forehead. Since the different types of facelifts do not address the eyelids and the forehead, a brow lift might be a good addition for some patients. A brow lift gets rid of forehead wrinkles and folds and pulls up your upper eyelids to give you more alert eyes.

There are several techniques to browlifts, however, the “coronal lift” is the most commonly performed. A horizontal skin incision is done along your forehead hairline. The subcutaneous tissue is pulled up and fixed with sutures. The skin is pulled tight, any excess is removed, and the incision is closed with fine sutures.

Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery Blog 10 Types Face And Neck Lifts Which Best For You Elderly Woman Model Having Brow Forehead Lift Scaled

What are the different types of neck lifts?

Another name for a neck lift is platysmaplasty or lower rhytidectomy. Since the platysma (neck muscle) is part of the SMAS, neck lifting is an automatic part of the full facelift. However, it can be done as a separate procedure, or combined with one of the less extensive facelift types. A neck lift gives you a strong jawline, outlines your neck angle, and rids you of excess skin, neckbands, and droopy jowls. There are 2 types of neck lifts:

9. Full Neck Lift

The full neck lift is perfect for people who have moderate to advanced signs of ageing showing on their necks.

A neck lift incision compromises a segment of the full facelift incision. It usually starts vertically in front of your ear and extends around your earlobe, and then upward and backward along your hairline. Your surgeon will pull the subcutaneous tissue and fix it higher up to flatten the neckbands and give your neck a tight look. Any excess skin is then removed and the incisions are closed.

Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery Blog - Types Face And Neck Lifts Which Best For You Full Neck Lift Illustration Scaled


  • Full rejuvenation of the neck with dramatic improvements
  • Automatic part of the traditional facelift


  • Longer recovery time compared to the mini-neck lift
  • Longer scar compared to the mini-neck lift

10. Mini Neck Lift

A mini neck lift (also called submental platysmaplasty or single incision neck lift) is ideal for women and men who only have an isolated problem on their necks. Patients that would benefit from a mini-neck lift are those who have a small double chin, mild signs of ageing on their neck, some excess fat, and minimal skin sagginess. Those who have advanced signs of ageing and excessive skin would need a full neck lift (or a full facelift).

The mini neck lift is less invasive compared to the full neck lift. A single incision is made right under your chin prominence. Through this incision, your surgeon will pull the platysma muscle and deeper layers up and fix them with sutures. No skin is removed during the single incision neck lift, and the skin is left to redistribute itself.


  • Less recovery time
  • Single small incision
  • Less costly


  • Less dramatic improvements
  • Not suitable for those with moderate to severe signs of neck aging
  • Does not address excess skin

Regardless of the type of face or neck lift, liposuction, dermal fillers, and skin rejuvenation therapies are frequently combined with the procedure to achieve the best possible cosmetic outcomes.

Let’s face it, signs of ageing, although unavoidable, are never a pleasant sight. So, if you’re thinking of rewinding your cosmetic clock, our plastic surgeons in Melbourne and Facelift Surgeons Sydney will offer you a personalized experience to match your exact desires, ranging from liquid and non-surgical facelifts to full deep-plane lifts.

Further Reading and Medical Sources:

Last updated: 13/06/2022
Author profile image
Dr Richard Sackelariou - MBBS, BMedSc, FRACS (Plast)
Dr Richard Sackelariou, MBBS, FRACS/FRCS, is a leading Sydney Specialist Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgeon who sees patients in two locations: Double Bay, Sydney and Melbourne VIC (Australia). Dr Sackelariou offers extensive experience in attaining natural-looking, excellent surgical results for patients of all ages. Graduate of Sydney University, FRACS, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery plus additional training in Cosmetic Surgery in Paris at the Clinique Turin in 1994. BIO PAGE: Click here

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What to do next?

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Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.