Which Type of Facelift Is Right for Me? Let's Compare Your Options By Robert Singer on November 16, 2023

facelift patient being examined by surgeon

Are you interested in eliminating sagging facial skin, smoothing wrinkles, and getting back to a more youthful look? You’ve probably considered a facelift among your options.

The term “facelift” actually encompasses a number of cosmetic procedures with different specialized purposes. Here, I’ll explain each type of facelift offered at our La Jolla, CA, plastic surgery office and how to tell if it’s the right treatment for you.

6 Unique Lift Methods to Meet Your Needs

As a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing since 1976, I’ve performed thousands of procedures, many of them facelifts, for patients in La Jolla, greater San Diego, and beyond. These are the facelift techniques I’ve chosen to feature at my cosmetic practice.

Full Facelift

  • What It Targets: The full or traditional facelift can address significant sagging, deep wrinkles, and creases in the mid to lower face, roughly from the cheeks on down. 
  • Who It’s For: This type of facelift is meant to combat moderate to severe signs of aging, so it’s usually best for patients who are in their mid-40s or older. 
  • How It’s Done: I make small incisions along the hairline, ears, and lower scalp, ensuring they are carefully placed to conceal scarring. I then trim away excess skin and underlying tissue and reposition what remains so it sits smoothly, eliminating wrinkles. I can also perform targeted tightening on the underlying muscle layer for even more noticeable results.

Mini Facelift

  • What It Targets: Also called a mid facelift, this less-invasive type of facelift only addresses concerns in the central part of the face, between the lower eyelids and upper lip.
  • Who It's For: Mini facelifts are best for patients who just want to address concerns in this particular area of the face, like drooping cheeks or deep nasolabial folds. I usually recommend it for younger patients—in their 30s to 50s—who are not yet experiencing advanced signs of aging.
  • How It’s Done: I’ll make smaller incisions than I would for a full facelift hidden along the hairline. Mini facelift incisions don’t extend to the lower scalp. I then eliminate unwanted tissue and gently pull the remainder up and towards the ears, creating tighter contours in the middle portion of the face.

Lower Facelift

  • What It Targets: A lower facelift exclusively affects the area of the face below the upper lip. This includes the cheeks, chin, and jowls, but not the neck.
  • Who It's For: This type of facelift is best for patients who want to smooth marionette lines, lift their cheeks, or reduce a “jowly” appearance. Good candidates are usually in their 40s or 50s and understand that this method is meant to produce targeted rather than comprehensive facial results.
  • How It’s Done: There are several methods for a lower facelift. I’ll make careful incisions below the chin, by the ears, or within the hairline, depending on your specific case, and I’ll then remove any skin or fat that detracts from the appearance. The remainder will be pulled up and back to create a slimmer and more contoured look. 


Interested in a facelift? You’re far from alone. In 2022, facelifts were the second most popular facial plastic surgery in the United States.

Brow Lift

  • What It Targets: Also known as an upper facelift or forehead lift, this type of lift can improve the look of your eyebrows on up to your hairline, smoothing wrinkles and raising your brows to create a more alert look. 
  • Who It's For: A brow lift is for people who want to smooth deep forehead wrinkles or raise drooping eyebrows. While it does target sagging brow skin, it won’t change the appearance of sagging eyelids—that procedure is called blepharoplasty, and it can easily be combined with a brow lift. 
  • How It's Done: I can perform a brow lift in three ways. In the traditional method, I make incisions along the hairline and redrape the skin to relax creases. In the endoscopic method, I make even smaller incisions within the scalp and use a miniature camera and tools to work below the skin. When a brow lift is combined with eyelid surgery, I can make changes to the forehead skin and brows through the small eyelid incision.

Neck Lift

  • What It Targets: A neck lift is focused on tightening the skin under the chin and along the jawline and neck. It does not alter the appearance of the face.
  • Who It's For: A neck lift is best for patients who want to eliminate a double chin, loose neck skin, and drooping jowls. This can be an appropriate surgery for anyone from their 30s on up, depending on how pronounced their concerns are.
  • How It's Done: I’ll place incisions along the sideburns and/or under the chin if liposuction is included in the treatment plan. I’ll lift away the excess skin that causes a drooping look and reposition the tissue so it sits smoothly and tightly against the neck. If desired, I can also place a chin implant to create an even more pronounced change to the profile.

See What a Lift Can Do for You

facelift patient before and after
This patient received a combined facelift, neck lift, and fat injections. The end result is a plumper, more youthful face and a slim, smooth neck that beautifully highlights the patient’s chin and jawline.

Explore More Results in Our Gallery

Liquid Facelift

  • What It Targets: A liquid facelift can target wrinkles and lines just like a surgical facelift, but with dermal injectables rather than incisions and skin alteration. While fillers can address some degree of sagging, excessively loose skin is usually best addressed through surgical means. 
  • Who It's For: Injectables can be an excellent choice for people who want fuller facial features or minimized wrinkles and lines without undergoing a surgical procedure. I see patients as young as their mid-20s for dermal fillers at our La Jolla office.
  • How It's Done: Our practice offers JUVÉDERM®, JUVÉDERM Voluma® XC, and products from the Restylane® line for liquid facelifts. Each filler works a bit differently and has specific uses—I can help you figure out which is right for you during a consultation. 

For every dermal filler procedure, I will apply numbing lidocaine for your comfort and then inject the filler solution in the targeted treatment area, where it will quickly take action to fill out wrinkles or creases. The whole process usually takes less than 45 minutes. There is little to no downtime or recovery associated with injectables.

Hear Why I'm Committed to Continuing Education

Refresh Your Appearance With Treatment Tailored to You

As you can see, there are lift procedures for virtually any facial cosmetic concern you may have. Find out just how big of a transformation may be possible for you by contacting us online for an initial consultation. Our La Jolla practice welcomes patients throughout the San Diego, CA, area and beyond.



Robert Singer, MD

About Robert Singer, MD
Dr. Robert Singer is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has helped patients since 1976. A former president of the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, the San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, and the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation, Dr. Singer remains an internationally recognized authority in the field.

Read Dr. Singer's Full Bio | All Posts by Robert Singer

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Dr. Robert Singer

Robert Singer, M.D.

Dr. Robert Singer is a board-certified plastic surgeon and former President and Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Aesthetic Society who gives his patients life-changing results. His technical mastery and artistic sensibilities have helped thousands of patients achieve natural-looking rejuvenation through facelifts and other complex procedures. Dr. Singer is a member of several prestigious organizations, including:

  • Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation, Founder and Prior President
  • QUAD A, Prior President
  • San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, Prior President
  • California Society of Plastic Surgeons, Prior President
  • Chosen by his peers as the inaugural visiting professor of California Society of Plastic Surgeons (CSPS) for all academic plastic surgery programs in California: UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, Loma Linda University, Stanford University, UC Irvine and USC
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Prior Chairman of the Board of Trustees
  • International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Member of numerous task forces including Patient Safety
  • American College of Surgeons 

To discover what Dr. Singer can do for you, request your consultation online or call his plastic surgery practice at (858) 455-0290.

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