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The Long & the Short of It: Facelift and Neck Lift Surgery

The Long & the Short of It: Facelift and Neck Lift Surgery

A surgical neck lift is often accompanied with a surgical facelift to help achieve a wholly, cohesive lifted look.  This cosmetic combination is a strategic way to achieve a youthful-looking appearance from the neck up.  However, neck lifts can also be performed as a standalone procedure for those who are seeking to solely revitalize the contours of their neck, jawline, and jowl regions. Today’s cosmetic innovations offer patients a wide variety of choices to help them achieve their personal beauty – and body – goals. Many procedures can be combined to target and correct specific areas for a seamless approach without undergoing multiple surgeries. Facelifts and neck lifts are no exception and one of the original cosmetic combinations that aims to turn back the hands of time.

What is a Facelift?
To recap, a facelift is the surgical procedure that seeks to lift and tighten lax facial skin and its underlying tissues and muscles for a more sculpted, smooth, youthful-looking appearance. Facelifts reduce sagging, as well as smooth folds in the cheeks and jawline areas using multiple surgical techniques. There are “full facelifts” that rejuvenate the entire face, as well as “mini facelifts” that aim to correct the lower third of the face and are usually combined with a neck lift for seamless rejuvenation. However, not every mini facelift is combined with a neck lift. As with every cosmetic approach, each patient is different with their own unique needs and desires.

A neck lift aims to treat:

  • Excess fat and skin laxity in lower face that creates jowls
  • Excess fatty deposits under the chin that causes a “double chin”
  • Muscle “banding” in the neck or unsightly horizontal lines, colloquially
    referred to as “turkey neck,” or more recently, “tech neck”

The reasons for the diminishment of youthful contours in the neck area can be contributed to any or all of the following:

  • Sun damage/environmental stress
  • Heredity
  • Gravity/natural aging process
  • Injury
  • Lifestyle

Patients should be advised a neck lift will NOT stop the natural aging process or fundamentally alter the neck’s structure – it is simply a procedure that seeks to lift, tighten, smooth, and sculpt for a more youthful, desirable visage and profile.

Results, Risks, and Recovery

Results from a surgical neck lift typically last 10-15 years before a “refresher” procedure may be required to maintain youthful results.  Though considered a permanent procedure, the skin will continue to age.  However, with proper skincare, avoiding excessive sun exposure, and making healthy lifestyle choices, patients can considerably prolong the look of their neck lift.

As with any surgery, regardless of whether cosmetic or otherwise, there comes a set of risks that must be assessed. 

The following risks have been associated with neck lifts and facelifts:

  • Bleeding under the skin (hematoma)
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Skin loss
  • Inability of wound to heal
  • Adverse reaction to anesthetic
  • Undesirable results that may require revision surgery

Recovery from neck lift surgery will take approximately 2-3 weeks with swelling fully subsiding within a few months, by which time full results will be revealed.  Patients have reported very little pain/discomfort and scars are discreetly hidden under the chin or around the contours of the ears.  Patients should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for the first few weeks following surgery or at the discretion of their doctor.  

No Knives?  The Nonsurgical Neck Lift

While not as effective, dramatic, or sustainable as its surgical counterpart, there are nonsurgical treatments that can temporarily revitalize the neck area.  Nonsurgical options can be a great way to “test drive” or “try on” a neck lift before committing to a more invasive, permanent approach.  Nonsurgical neck lifts require little to no recovery time and carry virtually no risks.  The following methods are used to perform nonsurgical neck lifts:

  • Botox – temporarily relaxes muscles to reduce wrinkling
  • Fractionated laser treatment – refines texture of the skin on the neck due to photoaging
  • Dermal fillers – restores depleted volume to the skin for plumper, bouncier skin
  • Kybella – breaks down accumulated fat deposits, eliminating a “double chin”
  • Radiofrequency with microneedling – helps stimulate skin-supporting
    collagen production in the neck area for a more youthful effect
  • Ultrasound technology – stimulates youthful collagen synthesis to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, as well as tighten lax skin tissue

Am I a Good Candidate for a Neck Lift?

The best candidates for any cosmetic surgery are those who possess good general health, including:

  • Non-smokers
  • Having realistic expectations, a positive outlook, and a healthy physical image
  • No underlying medical conditions that can impede on the body’s natural healing process

If you have been struggling with the appearance of your aging face and/or neck and would like more information regarding a facelift, neck lift, or a facelift/neck lift combination, we invite you to contact our office today to speak with any one of our talented and highly knowledgeable team members who can help answer any questions you may have or to set-up a personal consultation with Dr. Galanis. We look forward to meeting you!

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