When it comes to aging, our faces and necks are often the first areas to give away our actual age. Sometimes during the aging process, we lose volume in our faces and then develop sagging skin. Other times, excess skin and fatty deposits cause us to have sagging jowls and “turkey necks.” Because our necks and faces don’t always age gracefully, people often question whether they should have a neck lift to accompany their facelift.
In a traditional facelift, an incision is made in front of the ear in the hairline, behind the ear and back into the posterior hairline. There is often an additional incision below the chin as well. This allows the surgeon to tighten the muscles of the neck. Liposuction is performed on the double chin area. The underlying layer of the muscles, known as the SMAS, is tightened and the excess skin is lifted and re-draped over the improved contours. The excess skin is then cut away. The incision under the chin may be used to further improve the appearance of the neck. In a limited incision facelift, shorter incisions are made at the temples and continue around the ear.
A neck lift helps improve the appearance of the neck by removing and redistributing excess fatty deposits, tightening underlying muscles, and removing sagging skin. In a traditional neck lift, an incision is started in the hairline near the ears and continues down and around the ear to the posterior hairline. Neck fat is then sculpted or removed from the neck. The neck skin tissue is repositioned and the muscle is tightened. Liposuction may be necessary to remove fat under the chin. Sutures or skin adhesives are used to close these incisions.
There is also a procedure called a direct neck lift in which a horizontal incision is made in the crease underneath the jaw. The excess skin and fat are then removed from there and sutured closed. This is best for someone who has excess skin or fat deposits under the chin, but not lower on the neck.
Should I Have Both a Neck Lift and Facelift?
Typically the face and neck can be treated as one unit with the traditional facelift because the standard facelift addresses the lower two-thirds of the face as well as the neck. However, muscle tightening in the neck can improve the effects of facelift surgery and should be considered in the following cases:
The lower cheeks and jaw are saggy
The jawline is poorly defined
The neck is wrinkled, saggy, or fatty
The best way to determine if you need to include a neck lift with your facelift is to have a consultation with your surgeon about all your areas of concern. They will be able to create a treatment plan that will maximize the benefits of each procedure either alone or combined.
“She is always smiling. She was friendly. She did a wonderful job on my neck. My turkey neck is no longer there. My procedure was a neck lift. She did a great job. I recommend Dr. Moenster. She cares about her patients.” *
If you are ready to pursue a facelift or neck lift, it is time to take the next step and schedule a consultation. Dr. Jamie Moenster at Dermatology & Plastic Surgery of Arizona would love to meet with you and help you begin your journey. Fill out the form on this page or call our Tucson location at 520-207-3100 or our Sierra Vista location at 520-458-1787. We look forward to meeting you soon.