Face and Neck Lifts: An Overview

As we age, the face and neck begin to sag and crease, giving the neck, cheeks, and under eyes a droopy appearance; creating the illusion of a double chin, causing the neck muscles to band, and wrinkling under the eyes and from the corners of the mouth to the nose. This happens to all of us, but the rate and age at which it happens varies from person to person based on genetics, gravity, environment, and stress. Rejuvenation procedures like facelifts and neck lifts can help to reverse this process.

There are many misconceptions about facelifts and neck lifts that cause people to be wary of them, the most common of which is that patients who undergo facelifts and neck lifts end up with a tight, “stretched,” and unnatural looking appearance. It is true that on occasion, old facelift and neck lift techniques could give these kinds of results, but these results were extremely rare. Now, with new more effective techniques, artificial looking results are virtually unheard of, especially when the procedure is conducted by a highly skilled plastic surgeon.

About Facelift and Neck Lift Surgeries

Facelift surgery is used to correct signs of aging in the lower portion of the face, in the areas roughly level with the nose and mouth. In order to do so, a plastic surgeon begins incisions at the temple and continues down in front in the ear, below it, and then back behind the ear. The skin is then gently moved to tighten up sags and wrinkles. Excess skin and fat may be removed to create a smoother, more youthful final result. Incisions are closed with fine sutures or metal clips, allowing the surgeon to avoid shaving the incision site.

Neck lift surgery uses a similar process to tighten up sagging and correct muscle banding in the neck. Incisions for neck lifts begin similarly to those used for facelifts, going from the temple down in front of the ear, then curling below and behind the ear. For some neck lift procedures, these incisions may be all that’s needed and the skin can be repositioned. For others, additional incisions may be made below the jaw-line for further repositioning of the skin. Like with facelift surgery, excess skin and fat may also be removed. Incisions are closed with sutures.

Both procedures are performed under a combination of sedatives, general or mild intravenous anesthesia (“twilight sleep”), and local anesthesia. Incisions for both procedures are placed in natural contours of the face so that they are almost invisible.

Which Lift is Right for Me?

Though facelifts and neck lifts can be performed individually if patients are happy with the appearance of their lower face or neck, they can also be performed together. In fact, having both performed gives better results. This is especially true if the procedures are conducted simultaneously as it allows the surgeon to take a more holistic approach and create a more unified appearance.

Many patients interested in facelift and neck lift surgeries claim that their physical appearance does not match their mental age. Good candidates for either a facelift or neck lift are unhappy with the aging appearance of the area in question, have no health issues that could impede healing or cause complications during surgery, do not smoke (or can abstain from smoking for an agreed period of time), and have optimistic and realistic expectations for what their surgery can achieve. While these procedures can reverse signs of aging, they do not stop the aging process altogether. Patients will continue to develop symptoms of aging.

Additional Procedures

Because facelifts don’t modify the entire face, other procedures are often performed in conjunction with face and neck lifts in order to tighten up the brow and eye areas, in addition to giving more dramatic and comprehensive results in general.

If the upper area of the face only needs minimal improvement, dermal fillers and skin resurfacing treatments like chemical peels and microdermabrasion can be used to correct minor wrinkles, scarring, under eye bags and dark circles, and discoloration. However, the effects of these treatments are temporary and they can’t rival the results of surgical treatments, though they can prolong the need for them. Non-surgical procedures can also serve as alternatives for patients whose health does not allow them to undergo surgery.

Additional surgeries can also be performed in conjunction with facelifts and neck lifts. For more significant revision of the upper part of the face, patients may want to consider blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), brow and forehead lifts, or a combination of these. Surgeries can also be used to enhance the results of facelifts and neck lifts. Facial liposuction and fat grafting can be used, especially on the neck, to remove fatty deposits and bags. Facial implants and rhinoplasty can be used to provide additional augmentation to create a more pleasant appearance in general, or as reconstructive procedures following illness or an accident.

The Right Plastic Surgeon for Your Face or Neck Lift

Dr. William J. Binder is a double board certified facial and reconstructive plastic surgery specialist and one of the world’s leading plastic surgeons, with an office in Beverly Hills. If you want your lift procedure performed by one of the best, contact Dr. Binder’s office today to schedule your consultation.