A minilift is a facelift but minus some of the scarier risks of a more traditional facelift (or even of a “deep-plane” facelift).
That is because the skin that is being “lifted and shifted” occurs over a smaller area of the face. Most of the true “lifting” in a facelift really happens at the level of the muscle and supporting muscle fascia, not the skin. In the minilift, that deeper “SMAS” layer is tightened with sutures rather than extensively undermined, avoiding a great deal of the risks of nerve damage and possible scarring that are more prevalent in the more extensive facelift procedures.
Another benefit of less “undermining” is that the skin recovers quicker due to the fact that it remains attached to the lymphatics and veins. This helps to minimize swelling post-op and speeds recovery.
Patients are pleased with the very natural look they achieve, with less risk of the “pulled look” they are dreading.
As for when are you ready for it? Well, I have done this procedure on fairly young patients (40s) who want to look fresher, and plenty of older patients, who are hoping for a shorter procedure and a more natural look. Because of its brevity, it can also be done on much older patients (even early 80s) that are healthy and can be medically cleared by their doctor.
The next step is an evaluation, to see what is needed to help you meet your aesthetic goals.