Facelift vs. Neck Lift: What’s the difference?
Facelift and neck lift surgeries are two of the most effective procedures for dramatically reducing the visual appearance of aging on face, neck, and décolletage areas. How do you know if you need a facelift or a neck lift?
There are some similarities between a facelift and neck lift procedure. They accomplish similar results: both procedures result in significant improvements to saggy skin and weak muscles around the face and neck. The outcome of either procedure is an instant and significant reduction of the signs of aging. Respondents in a 2012 study determined that face lift surgery, for example, makes patients look an average of 6 to 8 years younger. Whereas neck lift surgery is typically thought to remove 10 to 15 years’ worth of aging effects. It is important to note, however, that the procedures are often combined into a single, very powerful procedure yielding all the benefits of both.
In addition to results, both procedures share similar degrees of invasiveness and recovery periods. Further, both procedures have the ability to produce long-lasting results, especially if the patient follows all aftercare instructions from their physician and leads a healthy lifestyle post-procedure.
Facelift: While there are various types of facelift surgeries, generally speaking, when plastic surgeons describe a facelift procedure they are referring to the technique of pulling up the skin at the cheeks towards the forehead. Incisions are made primarily in front of the ear. Thus, the facelift focuses on improving the cheeks, lower face (marionette lines), jowls, and jawline to reduce wrinkles and correct sagging skin in the area.
Neck Lift: In contrast, neck lift surgery uses a technique that pulls excess skin under the chin, jawline, and jowls. Incisions are generally placed behind the ears and below the chin to hide them effectively. A neck lift pulls the hanging skin under the chin, the jowls and the jawline. Neck lift procedures correct the area below the chin and correct “turkey neck” (draping skin on the front of the throat).
Do I need a facelift or a neck lift?
Depending on specific issues and desired results, sometimes determining which procedure is a better fit can be difficult for a patient without expert input. Here is an interesting at-home technique:
- To mimic a facelift: put your fingers at the top of your cheekbones and push your skin upward and back.
- To mimic a neck lift: place your forefingers below the jawline, outside your jaw and push upward and back.
- Most patients that would benefit from a neck lift also show the signs of aging on the face which would improve with a lower facelift. For this reason, the most commonly performed procedure is actually a combination lower face and neck lift. The incisions are placed around the ear (both in front and behind) and occasionally a small incision below the chin.
The best way to determine which procedure is right for you is to schedule a free consultation, where our cosmetic consultants can properly diagnose facial and aging characteristics and design the best course of treatment. Depending on your needs there may also be other non- or less-invasive treatment options such as neck facial liposuction, dermal fillers, or Kybella.