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Discover the individualised approach Dr Sharp takes for every facelift patient, utilising his significant experience to tailor the procedure. Scroll down for benefits, risks, recovery and to find out how skin-only facelift surgery differs from a standard facelift.

How is a mini facelift different to a standard facelift, and who is it for?

A mini facelift is a colloquial term for a skin-only facelift, which is a modified or minor rhytidectomy  / meloplasty, specifically reducing a small or moderate amount of loose skin along the jawline. Standard or ‘full’ facelifts involve a range of variations that dissect and lift underlying tissues, while at the same time reducing moderate or significant amounts of loose skin in the mid and lower face and upper neck. When considering having facelift surgery with a specialist plastic surgeon in Brisbane, it is important to consider their experience performing this complex procedure. Specialist plastic surgeons undergo extensive training, supervision and assessment of facial anatomy knowledge. Dr Sharp frequently performs facelift surgery and is experienced in both standard SMAS and deep plane, as well as ‘mini facelift’ techniques.

Modern facelifts involve the mid and lower face, reducing loose skin around the mouth and refining the jawline and upper neck. A ‘mini’ or ‘s’ lift removes a small amount of skin between the jawline and ear, but does not extend up to the mid face, or down to the upper neck. It also does not tighten or lift the underlying facial structure as a standard facelft does.

To understand the difference between facelift techniques, it is helpful to understand the origins of facelift surgery.

Coined from the Greek word ‘plastikos’, people have been practicing the science of altering body tissue since ancient times. And despite forms of plastic surgery being used for thousands of years, the first facelift was not documented until the early 1900s. Early facelift surgery did not involve the dissection of the underlying facial structures, now commonly known as SMAS and ‘deep plane’ techniques.

How to full and mini facelift incisions differ?

Contemporary facelift techniques involve an incision that runs within or adjacent to the hairline from nape of neck, behind and in front of the ear lobe fold and into the temple hairline. A mini facelift usually involves the ear component of this incision only, although sometimes it may be modified depending on the patient’s specific concerns.


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How do I know if a mini facelift is suitable for me?

If you have the early signs of ageing; typically a small amount of loose skin along your jawline, the smaller ‘s’ lift or mini facelift surgery might provide sufficient skin tightening. 

Drawing on his extensive facelift experience, Dr Sharp tailors each facelift procedure to suit each patient’s aesthetic objectives. 

What does mini facelift surgery cost in Brisbane?

Mini facelift surgery costs will depend on a number of factors, including hospital stay, anaesthetic fees and how long the operation takes to complete. As this is not a ‘cookie cutter’ procedure, these costs are provided after a consultation with Dr Sharp, so the suitable technique and above mentioned factors can be determined.

What doesn’t mini facelift surgery do?

This facelift removes small amounts of excess skin along the jawline, but won’t tighten the underlying facial structures or improve the cheek or neck – like a SMAS facelift can – so it is only designed for earlier signs of ageing along the jawline. It will not address mid face, jowls or upper neck.

What is an S lift or mini facelift and what age group is it for?

Dr Sharp takes a holistic approach to cosmetic facial surgery, using plastic surgery principles to create changes that work in harmony with your natural facial anatomy.

Our facelift patients range from people in their early 40s seeking our minor facelift technique, which firms and adds definition along the jawline, with the optional of also having micro fat grafting to add volume – through to men and women in their 70s.

Image, right: before and six weeks after mini or ‘S lift’ facelift with blepharoplasty, performed by Dr Sharp. Results vary between patients; scroll down for more information. 

before and after mini facelift with plastic surgeon Dr Sharp
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Scroll down to read more about mini facelift surgery with Dr Sharp. When viewing before and after images, please note they are only indicative of the individual patient’s result and outcomes vary depending on a number of factors including genetics, nutrition, natural body habitus and adherence to post operative instructions. To view surgery scarring and learn more about their optimisation, please click here

above: before and four months after mini facelift surgery with Dr Sharp
Before and 2 years after mini facelift, neck liposuction and lip lift surgery with Dr Sharp

Dr Sharp’s approach to facelift surgery respects the aspects of your appearance that are uniquely you.

During a standard facelift procedure, Dr Sharp surgically tightens facial muscles to improve their tone. Excess fat may also be removed or repositioned as part of the surgery – or fat grafting used – to replace volume in the mid face. We recommend patients undergo Fraxel laser rejuvenation, lymphatic drainage massage and scar optimisation as part of their post operative period. Dr Sharp performs this procedure under general anaesthetic at hospitals in Brisbane.


The aim of a facelift is to tighten and lift the face and neck. 

But it does not improve poor skin condition, discolouration or pigmentation commonly experienced as we age. For this reason, we our patients have a full face Fraxel treatment – if the treatment is appropriate for their skin – when they have facelift surgery.

This medical grade laser stimulates collagen production, plumping the skin while its dual laser function also resurfaces and removes pigmentation, sun damage and pre cancerous solar keratosis.

Our holistic approach considers not only changes made below the skin during surgery, but also long term overall skin health, skin cancer prevention and reducing the effects of high UV exposure in the Queensland climate, which can prematurely age the face. Contact us for more information!


What a mini facelift won't do

Minor facelift surgery does not change your fundamental appearance and cannot stop the ageing process. A mini facelift won’t address mid face ageing, nasolabial folds or the neck.

A facelift can only be performed surgically; non-surgical rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results but may help delay the time at which a facelift becomes appropriate and complement the results of surgery.

Is a mini facelift right for me?

The best candidate for a mini facelift is a man or woman whose face and neck have begun to descend (sag), but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well-defined. Most patients are in their forties, with standard facelifts more common among people in their fifties plus.

Before you decide on mini facelift surgery, there are some important issues to keep in mind:

  • It will not raise ptotic (sagging) eyebrows, remove deep frown lines in the forehead, change your upper or lower eyelids, or remove of wrinkles around the mouth. Other forms of treatment may be more appropriate for you
  • The results of a mini facelift do not last forever. Most people can have two facelifts in a lifetime, depending on the extent of each procedure and the amount of scarring that occurs with each facelift
  • The normal ageing process will continue after the surgery
  • Smokers are at increased risk of complications. If you are serious about undergoing surgery, you should quit smoking


Mini facelift surgery may be a good option for you if:

  • You have a small amount of early jowling (loose skin) along the jawline
  • Your BMI is under 30
  • You are physically healthy and you do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery
  • You have realistic expectations of what face lift surgery can accomplish
  • You are a non-smoker or have stopped smoking


How do I choose my surgeon?

When performed by plastic surgeons in appropriate Australian facilities, facelift surgery has low morbidity and mortality rates. However it is a major procedure – and therefore, choosing the right surgeon is of utmost importance. Facelift surgery should be performed by a qualified specialist plastic surgeon who is registered as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. You can confirm your surgeon’s credentials here.

Dr David Sharp is a qualified specialist plastic surgeon with a special interest in reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery. His personalised approach means that you receive plenty of preoperative time with him to discuss your specific facial objectives and ask any questions.

It’s normal to feel both nervous, and an excited sense of anticipation when planning your facelift. Dr Sharp takes the time to ensure you have as many consultations as you require, to ensure your treatment is customised to suit your face, age, and expectations – and address any concerns you may have.

What kind of anaesthetic will I have?

Most facelifts are performed under a full general anaesthetic. A specifically selected range of medications are administered during the surgery to ensure your post-operative comfort. Dr Sharp works with an experienced team of trusted anesthetists.

The procedure is performed in accredited day hospital and inpatient facilities. Some patients go home a few hours after surgery, while others prefer to stay in hospital for a day or two following their procedure.

How much time should I take off work?

You should avoid strenuous activity for at least six weeks. Depending on your work, you could need to take one to three weeks away from work, although many people return to work – particularly if it involves sedentary activity – after 9 to 14 days.

How much do mini facelifts cost?

Potential costs include:

  • Dr Sharp’s fee
  • Anaesthetist fee
  • Assistant’s fee
  • Theatre costs
  • Support garments

Facelift is not covered by private health insurers.

After your consultation with Dr Sharp, you will be provided with a written estimate of fees.

It is important to understand that, in the case of complications or revision surgery, the cost of your facelift might extend to future surgical procedures and hospitalisations. We encourage patients to think about how they would fund further treatment beyond the immediate costs expected.

How long do the results last?

Your result will not last forever; facelift does not stop the ageing process. You may wish to undergo further facelift surgery again in years to come.

Dr Sharp’s experienced team of medical professionals can assist you in maintaining and complimenting your results with a range of non surgical solutions, including:

How do I know if I need a necklift or mini facelift?

Often, patients think they need a neck lift to address their jowls and sagging skin in this area, however the cause of their lower face concerns actually began with the loss, and migration of their fat pads, skin and underlying facial support in their mid face – causing skin and tissue to descend lower face. In this case, a facelift may be sufficient and a neck lift might not be required.

If there is excess skin below the jawline, on the neck – or small deposits of fat accumulated under the chin area – a neck lift procedure may also be required. This procedure is tailored to the patient’s individual anatomy, fat deposits and skin laxity. In some cases, liposuction may be used to remove excess fat, while in others only the platysma muscle is tightened and excess skin removed. The neck lift incision is made across the front of the neck, and the scar is often integrated into the lines of the skin to reduce its prominence. Scars are always visible, but usually improve in appearance over a 24 month maturation period, when the patient engages in good scar care practices.

Facelift: words to know

  • General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
  • Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.
  • Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.
  • Tear trough: Deep creases below the lower eyelids.
  • Nasolabial fold: Deep creases between the nose and cheek
  • Jowls: A jaw line that sags into the neck, usually caused by loss of muscle tone in the lower face.
  • Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.
  • Rhytidectomy and Meloplasty: A surgical procedure also known as facelift, to reduce sagging of the mid-face, jowls and neck.

What is involved in mini facelift surgery?

A minor or mini facelift explained

A mini facelift procedure includes the following steps:

Step 1 – Anaesthesia

Mini facelift surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic; you will feel nothing during surgery.

A variety of other procedures can further enhance the outcome of a mini facelift. They include:

Step 2 – The incision and procedure

Incisions usually run in a natural line in front of the ear – or inside the cartilage at the front of the ear – and continuing behind the earlobe.

Step 3 – Closing the incisions

Once healed, the incision lines from a facelift are usually sit around the natural folds of the ear; Dr Sharp aims to integrate these into the natural contours of the face and ear. This article by Dr Sharp explains more about standard full facelift incisions and scar positioning.

Step 4 – See the results

The visible changes of a facelift appear as swelling and bruising subside over several months following surgery. Incisions take 24 months to fully mature. Your post op team will provide a recommended scar care routine to assist you during this period. 

What do mini facelift surgery scars look like?

Minor or mini facelift surgery scars

Generally, a mini facelift will involve an incision that is similar to a neck lift, running from in front of the ear, under the earlobe and up behind the each ear – ideally running as close as possible to the ear itself, neatly tucked along the tragus, directly under the earlobe and in the crease behind the ear. The closer the incision can be kept to the natural ear and lobe creases, the less visible the scar will appear once fully healed.

facelift scars S liftIncision lines may vary, depending on the surgeon of your choice and their chosen technique. The amount of lax skin that requires excision along the jawline, and the varying ear shape amongst patients will have an impact on the length and placement of the incision line.


How a scar develops on each patient is different though, and is dependent upon a patient’s age, skin condition, genetics/skin type and overall health. Scars continue to heal and develop for up to 24 months following surgery and, in this time, they can stretch, widen and sometimes thicken before settling into their final appearance.
scarring for mini faceliftGood post-surgery scar care is vital to the development of an optimal surgical scar. If you are prone to poor scaring, daily massage with topical prescriptive creams, microneedling and laser can assist.
To discuss mini facelift surgery with Dr Sharp, book a consult by calling 3202 4744.
These images show facial plastic surgery (neck lift) scars 3 months after surgery with Dr Sharp. Note the patient’s skin condition, age and ear shape are particularly conducive to good scarring. Results vary between patients. 


What are the risks and complications with Facelift?

Like any surgery, you must weigh up whether the benefits out way the risks for you. While mini facelift surgery is common, it also carries risks. Your pre-operative consultations with Dr Sharp will enable him to discuss potential complications with you, and help you determine whether the surgery is right for you

Facelift risks include:

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing and skin loss
  • Facial nerve injury with weakness
  • Temporary or permanent hair loss at the incisions
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
  • Persistent pain
  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Prolonged swelling
  • Skin irregularities and discoloration
  • Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
  • Unsatisfactory results may include: asymmetry, unsatisfactory surgical scar location and unacceptable visible deformities at the ends of the incisions. It may be necessary to perform an additional surgery to improve your results.
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications

Complications are rare, and Dr Sharp and his team manage each of these risks with the upmost care to further reduce the likelihood of them occurring. In the event they do occur, most can be treated with prompt intervention.

Everyone’s body responds differently to surgery. In some cases, post-operative revision surgery might be required.

Some factors, such as weight, lifestyle or health problems can increase the chance of a complication occurring. Dr Sharp will take time to learn about your potential risk factors during your pre operative consultations, and will determine if they are relevant to your surgery.

What can I expect during Mini facelift recovery?

Mini facelift recovery: what to expect

During your facelift recovery, a support garment will be in place around your face. It will minimise swelling and bruising.

There isn’t usually significant discomfort after facelift surgery; if there is, it will be reduced by the use of pain medication, prescribed by your anaesthetist at the time of surgery.

Some patients report a very tight sensation around the upper neck in the weeks following surgery, which can be distressing if they are prone to anxiety, panic attacks or suffer from PTSD. It is important to consider this preoperatively when weighing up the pros and cons of having surgery at all.

If you and your surgeon agree that you are a suitable candidate for surgery, we recommend having good mental health support in place postoperatively, to assist you through this period and any feelings that may arise.

Severe or persistent pain or a sudden swelling of your face should be reported to Dr Sharp immediately. Some numbness of the skin is quite normal; it will disappear in a few weeks or months.

Dr Sharp will tell you to keep your head elevated and as still as possible for a couple of days after surgery, to keep the swelling down.

Your bruised and puffy appearance may concern you, but it is temporary and will subside significantly over the coming weeks. Deeper swelling can take several months to disappear completely, which is why any exertion is not recommended during the first 6 weeks post op.

Most of your stitches will be removed after about five to seven days.

You will begin to return to activities within two to three days, with just gentle activity around the home, slowly increasing over the first post operative week. Take special care when touching your face and hair; your skin will be tender and numb, and may feel strange. Resist the urge to itch or touch the incision areas – remember these are wounds that can become infected if strict hygiene standards are not followed.

Dr Sharp will give more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities. These include avoiding strenuous activity, including exercise and heavy housework, for at least two weeks (walking and mild stretching are fine); avoiding alcohol and vigorous exercise for several months. Most importantly, eat healthy nutritious food to fuel optimal healing and get plenty of rest.

In the weeks following surgery your face may look and feel strange. Your features will be distorted by swelling and bruising, your facial movements may feel unusual, you will most likely experience some numbness and you will feel self-conscious about your scarring. Some bruising may persist for two or three weeks, and you may tire easily.

By the third week, you’ll look and feel much better. Most patients are back at work about ten days to two weeks after surgery. If you need it, special camouflage makeup can mask most bruising that remains.

Healthy nutrition and regular physical activity, including gentle core strength exercises and practicing good posture, are integral to obtaining and maintaining optimal long term results.

Dr Sharp and his team can also medically support your results after facelift through the non surgical treatments available at his Brisbane and Ipswich clinics, including:

Contact our experienced clinicians on 07 3202 4744 to find out more.

Facelift results and expectations

It is important that your surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion or movement during the healing period.

It may take a few months for swelling to fully dissipate and for incision lines to mature. As swelling and bruising subside, the visible changes of a facelift appear. 

Remember that facelift results may not be immediately apparent; even after swelling and bruises have dissipated, your face may not feel ‘settled’ for months. Men whose beards or skin have been repositioned may find they have to shave in new places, behind the earns and on the neck.

You will have scars from your facelift, however, Dr Sharp endeavours to place these in the hair or natural creases of the face and ears wherever possible. With good care and patience, these scars will mature over the next 24 months. Talk to our skin team if you have any concerns regarding scaring, as our scar optimisation protocol can assist with accelerating your scar healing and reduce their prominence.

Having a facelift does not halt the aging process. Your face will continue to age with time, and you may wish to repeat the procedure in the future. 

Ongoing sun protection and a healthy lifestyle will help extend the results of your surgery. 

Facelift: words to know

  • General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
  • Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.
  • Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.
  • Tear trough: Deep creases below the lower eyelids.
  • Nasolabial fold: Deep creases between the nose and cheek
  • Jowls: A jaw line that sags into the neck, usually caused by loss of muscle tone in the lower face.
  • Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.
  • Rhytidectomy or Meloplasty: A surgical procedure also known as facelift, to reduce sagging of the mid-face, jowls and neck.

Would you like to know more about mini facelift? Contact our friendly patient support team.