Difference Between Short-Scar and Traditional Facelifts

Facelift, or facial rejuvenation, is a surgical cosmetic procedure that aims to restore a youthful appearance to the face. A facelift removes excess and distorting skin to restore a more harmonious and youthful-looking surface.

While some patients choose to have only a short scar at the surgery site, others are interested in having more traditional facelifts with more extensive scarring. This article will examine the difference between short-scar and traditional facelifts and provide insight into what you can expect from each type of treatment.

1. Downtime

While both procedures are done under local anesthesia, a traditional facelift may require general anesthesia to complete the procedure. The length of time needed for recovery is also determined by whether you have a conventional or short-scar facelift and can vary greatly depending on how well you heal and whether complications occur during your recovery period.

A short scar facelift takes less time to recover than a traditional facelift, with a few weeks of downtime needed before patients can return to work or social activities. The incisions are smaller, so they are more comfortable. These scars fade after several months, though some prefer to take advantage of scar treatment right after surgery.

On the other hand, traditional facelifts involve more extensive incisions, which results in a longer post-operative healing time. Traditional facelift scars take months to fade and may not be as invisible as short-scar incisions.

2. Length of Incision

A traditional facelift involves a longer incision that begins at the hairline and extends slightly below the earlobe. A short-scar facelift involves a smaller incision that starts at the temple or hairline and extends down to the chin.

The scar is not quite as long as a traditional facelift but can still be visible for several months. Additionally, the short-scar facelift is ideal for patients targeting to get rid of loose skin around their jawline and neck.

3. Length of Surgery

Another difference between a short scar and a traditional facelift is the length of surgery. A conventional facelift usually lasts 3 hours, allowing the surgeon to lift the face thoroughly. Depending on the doctor’s experience, a traditional facelift can sometimes last up to 4 hours.

In contrast, a short-scar facelift is done in less than 1 hour as it does not involve deep incisions. However, some procedures might take up to three hours for the surgeon to gain access to the deeper tissues. In cases like this, sedation or anesthesia is administered to ensure you do not feel any pain during surgery.

4. Potential Complications

Potential complications are also different between a short scar and a traditional facelift. A traditional facelift is associated with potentially severe complications, such as bleeding, breathing difficulties, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, etc., which may result in death.

The number of complications is directly related to the experience and expertise of the surgeon performing your procedure. In contrast, a short-scar facelift is primarily free of complications, though some patients may experience bruising and numbness around the face that goes away after a few weeks.

Choosing a reliable doctor with experience performing facelift procedures and a good reputation is essential. Also, make sure you are healthy before undergoing cosmetic surgery.

5. Cost

For many people, the cost is one of the most important factors when looking into cosmetic treatments such as facelifts. The cost of a traditional facelift tends to be higher, as the procedure involves more deep and costly incisions.

While this might not be the actual cost, it is estimated that the overall cost of a traditional facelift can range between $9000 and $15000. A short-scar facelift procedure might cost about $9,000, including the anesthesia and procedure-related costs.

6. Additional Procedures

Your doctor may recommend combining other procedures with your traditional facelift to help you enhance your results. These procedures may include a brow lift or eyelid surgery. A surgeon may sometimes recommend facial implants to help fill your face’s sagging areas.

Doctors tend to recommend light liposuction for short-scar facelifts to refine your results further. In most cases, a combination of the additional procedures provides excellent results that give you a youthful appearance that can last for several years. However, it is also essential to consider the risk of complications associated with these additional procedures.


Whether you are considering a traditional or short-scar facelift, you must consider the desired results. The benefits and drawbacks of both kinds of procedures vary significantly, so you should discuss matters such as recovery time or the potential costs with your doctor to make an informed choice. Remember that the quality of your results depends solely on your surgeon’s experience, expertise, and skills and not on the type of procedure they recommend for you.


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