Facelift, Neck Lift, or Both?

Posted March 20, 2018 in Facelift

The prospect of getting a facelift can be intimidating. After all, not only is this procedure somewhat costly, it’s known for requiring a fairly lengthy recovery period. At Gilpin Facial Plastics that this is not always the case. When most people think of a “facelift,” what they’re really envisioning is a procedure wherein both the mid-face region and the neck are lifted.  This is what we call a Facelift. For some patients, we will do a total face rejuvenation that combines the brow and eyes. While these extra steps are necessary for certain individuals, not everyone needs them. Some patients can choose a facelift and some choose to expand it to their whole face.

Here’s what you need to know about weighing up both of these options:

How Does a Facelift Compare to a Neck Lift?

The main difference between facelift and neck lift surgery is the area they primarily target. This is where most patients get confused: Because a facelift will also tighten the skin of the upper neck, and a neck lift will also create a more distinct jawline, these procedures can seem similar. That is to say, a facelift will include the correction of the loose face skin, jowls, neck skin and fat in the neck, whereas a neck lift will target only loose skin and fat in the neck. In the same vein, while a face lift will lift the skin around the jaw as well, a neck lift will not correct smile lines, sagging cheeks, or other issues of the mid-face region.

Who is a Good Candidate for Facelift Surgery?

Good candidates for facelift surgery are usually 40 years of age and older. They usually show distinct signs of mid-face aging, such as drooping jowls, and a mouth that has begun to turn down at the corners. They often have distinct “smile lines” around their mouths as well. A facelift can correct all of these issues while also giving a corrective lift to the neck.

Who is a Good Candidate for Neck Lift Surgery?

Those who only need a neck lift have firm cheeks and a lack of significant smile lines or “drooping” around the mouth. Instead, their primary issue is what is commonly known as a “turkey neck.” They have a loose fold of neck skin that visibly hangs down below their chin, making their jawline look much less distinct. These patients can range widely in age (though they are usually older); they may be as young as 35 or as old as 70. This is because a “turkey neck” is sometimes caused by genetics or lifestyle factors. Patients who have had extra weight in the past, for example, may have had their neck skin loosened by the weight of fat beneath their chin. Once this fat is gone, a flap of skin remains in place. Other patients were simply born with a receding chin and small jaw, making them more prone to developing an indistinct jawline. Regardless of the cause of the patient’s “turkey neck,” the only viable solution for it is neck lift surgery. At present, there is no nonsurgical treatment that will tighten the skin well enough to define these patients’ chins and jaws.

Finally, some patients are successful at using nonsurgical facelift techniques (such as Ultherapy, Botox, and facial fillers like Juvederm) to combat the signs of mid-face aging, but still have loose neck skin they want tightened. These patients may choose to forgo having a surgical facelift and just have a neck lift instead.

Who Can Benefit from Combined Facelift And Neck Lift Surgery?

We feel that the vast majority of our patients benefit from what we refer to as a facelift, the combination of a face and neck lift. This is because the skin of our faces and necks typically ages at about the same rate, meaning that most older people have just as much skin laxity on their necks as their faces. As such, in order to get a smooth and balanced result, both a facelift and neck lift must be performed.

As a final note, you must be aware that all facelift and neck lift patients need to be in good overall health and be current nonsmokers. (If you smoke, you will need to stop at least three weeks prior to your surgery.) We also recommend that you reach a healthy weight before having either of these operations, as this will allow for optimal skin tightening. By meeting these criteria, you help to ensure a safe and successful surgical experience for yourself.  We look forward to taking this journey with you.

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Dr. David Gilpin is an award-winning, board-certified facial plastic surgeon and a leader in facial plastic surgery in the Nashville, TN area. Dr. Gilpin performs surgeries at our accredited surgical suite for a private, welcoming experience. During a consultation, Dr. Gilpin will work with you to explore your cosmetic options and achieve your most confident self yet. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Gilpin and learn more about your facial cosmetic surgery options, contact our office by calling or filling out our online form.

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