Mini lift (S-Lift)
What is an S-Lift?
The S-Lift, also known as the mini face lift, is particularly good for people aged 45-55 years of age with the procedure not doing quite as much as a face lift for heavy / sagging necks. The procedure gets its name from the small ‘S’ shaped incisions made to the front of the ear, through which Dr Oates lifts underlying tissues and skin resulting in a more youthful appearance.
What are the advantages of an S-Lift over a conventional face-lift?
- Recovery time is quicker
- Less invasive
- General anaesthetic not required
- Opportunity to combine with other procedures to maximise results
- Lower risk of complication or risk
- Lower cost than a full face lift
Who are the best candidates for the S-Lift?
- Someone looking to tighten and lift the lower face
- Patients concerned with loss of definition of the jaw line
- Someone concerned with jowling
- Someone that may have impaired healing (smokers and diabetics)
- Someone that can’t have a lengthy downtime
Who is not a good candidate for the S-Lift?
- Someone with unrealistic expectations of the S Lift
- Older patients with high skin laxity in the lower neck
- Someone that needs more extensive cheek and neck lift results
The S-Lift is performed by Dr Jayson Oates at the Academy Day Hospital, a state government licensed theatre within Academy Face and Body’s Subiaco location. Twilight sedations combined with local anaesthetic is used for mini face lifts.
Incisions are made to the front-of-ear creases in the 2 hour procedure, allowing the deeper layer of soft tissue to be tightened and elevated. Bandages are applied on completion of the surgery.
How long do I need off work?
10-14 days should be taken off work following the S-Lift, dependent on the level of physical activity in your work.
Patients are kept in the recovery room for 1-2 hours following the S-Lift before being taken home by a family member or friend. You will return to the clinic the next day for our nurse to remove your bandages and apply a facial garment that is specifically designed for the S-Lift recovery purpose.
On the fifth or sixth day after surgery, stitches will be removed by the Academy team and at this stage makeup can be applied to cover any bruising or swelling that remains. If your swelling is higher, Dr Oates may recommend for the facial garment to be worn up to an extra week during sleep.
Is there discomfort?
Mild to moderate discomfort is described by Academy Face and Body patients as a result of the swelling. Most discomfort can be alleviated with pain medications available over-the-counter at chemists. In the rare case a patient has stronger pain we can provide access to stronger medications.
Pre and Post-Operative Care
The overall cost of the S-Lift includes your pre-operative care program that is delivered by our nurse and dermal therapist team. In this care program is a course of glycolic peels to prepare your skin for surgery. Following the procedure a maintenance program will be recommended by your dermal therapist.
Post S-Lift Information
The S-Lift is less invasive than a full face lift but remains a major surgery and it is essential that you understand how you will look and feel post-surgery, and any risks that are associated with the procedure.
A large bandage is placed around your head and under the chin in order to support, compress and minimise swelling, and removed the day after surgery. Once this initial bandage is removed it is replaced with an easy to apply elastic face garment that will be shown to you prior to the surgery. You can expect a slight discharge of blood-stained liquid for the first 48 hours.
Swelling & Bruising
Swelling and bruising varies from patient to patient depending on the extent of your surgery. Slight swelling may persist for up to 8 weeks.
All patients should maintain elevation of the head as much as possible and apply ice packs for 30 minutes of each hour for the first 2-3 days. Doing so will help to reduce swelling significantly.
Some bruising can extend to the neck which is normal, and bruising colours from purple, green and yellow are all to be expected.
After a week you may be presentable but we find most people don’t feel ready to return to work for two weeks.
As the S-Lift has a shorter incision, initially, there may be some gathering behind the ear with increased gathering associated with greater elevation. The skin can also become swollen and this is normal. If you are particularly concerned about the swelling and gathering we can inject it with a steroid which will flatten the skin sooner, although it always completely flattens out with time.
Skin gathering can be avoided by opting for a full face lift where incisions extend behind the ear and into the hair.
The Incision Lines
Keep incision lines clean is really important and you will need to wash them 3 times a day with cotton balls as in the first 48 hours discharge and crusting will occur around the incision lines.
We recommend avoid wearing of shirts that require being pulled over the head to prevent catching and pain of the treated area.
Dedicate a set of delicate face washers and towels to cleaning up your incision lines as they will likely be soiled and stained.
Somewhat surprisingly, pain is not expected from an S-Lift procedure. Tightness and numbness near the ears creates discomfort for some patients but this is an expected, normal part of the healing process and will return to normal after some weeks.
The feeling of numbness can be concerning for some as they feel they can’t lie on their ears at all, and any pain can be managed with Panadol and Nurofen if required.
Blood Collection Under the Skin
Haematomas are a collection of blood under the skin that is a potential complication of S-Lift surgery, although less common than the full face lift procedure.
Minor haematomas can be expressed through the suture line, however on occasion larger haematomas can occur which may require theatre for removal.
Haematomas occur in 1-2 days after surgery and if fluid accumulation occurs after this point it is likely a seroma, a collection of tissue fluid, which is easily treated by aspiration with a needle. Rarely multiple aspirations are needed for the seroma to settle completely.
Any surgical procedure brings the possibility of infection and antibiotics are used to minimise this risk.
Impaired circulation may make patients poor candidates for a full face lift due to the risk of skin loss, something that is rare with an S-Lift but increases in smokers, diabetics and people who’ve had facial radiation.
If this was to occur it will be dressed and allowed to heal, and may leave a more noticeable pale scar.
Please inform Dr Oates if you have a diagnosis that impacts your circulation.
Any incision will leave a scar but a facial surgeon should always hide the scars. In the case of the S-Lift the scars are hidden in the natural crease in front of the ears.
If you have a history of hypertrophic or keloid scarring please advise your surgeon prior to surgery.
Rarely, patients with no history or predisposition to abnormal scarring do experience this. Abnormal scarring can be managed with steroid injections to the scar.
Scar maturation (fading) takes place over 6-12 months and pink, thicker scars in the first 6-12 weeks are normal. You can gently massage scars that feel ‘thick’ to help them settle quickly.
Alteration of the Hairline
Dr Oates’ prefers an incision that doesn’t go above the ear, thus any alteration to the hairline is minimised.
Men undergoing an S-Lift can expect facial hair growth to be pulled closer to the front of the ear.
Numbness of the ears and cheeks is expected in the first few weeks, after which this will resolve itself.
The two sides of the face may appear slightly asymmetrical shortly after surgery as one side is completed before the other is started. One side may also experience more swelling due to the way people sleep and has no impact on the final result.
A slight lumpiness to the skin post-surgery is due to small pockets of swelling under the skin. This is normal and not a concern, and will fade in the first 6-8 weeks. As with scarring, gentle massage will help to settle the skin faster.
People with pre-existing asymmetry of the face can reasonably expect some asymmetry after the surgery.
Thanks to modern facial techniques, deep tissue layers are worked on as well as the skin, providing a natural, lasting result.
Working with deeper tissues does bring us closer to the facial nerve that controls all facial movement. It is extremely rare for this nerve to be damaged but it has been recorded.
Usually the nerve recovers spontaneously but it is possible for some permanent weakness to persist if the facial nerve is damaged.
I’m interested, what’s the next step?
Your first step to an S-Lift is an initial consultation Dr Oates. If you have a referral you will be able to claim some of the cost of the consultation from Medicare but a referral isn’t essential.
If Dr Oates decides you are a suitable candidate for an S-Lift and you want to proceed, surgery and pre-operative care is scheduled usually 3-4 weeks prior to your surgery date.
You may wish to speak with one of our nursing team prior to your consultation with Dr Oates. During the complimentary consultations, you are able to discuss surgical and non-surgical alternatives to treat your cosmetic concerns.