What’s the worst thing about facial aging, and why is it jowls? As we age, the muscles in our lower cheeks weaken and our skin loses its elasticity. Gravity pulls the skin, fat, and muscle down, creating bags that soften the jawline. While a few wrinkles or lines can be annoying, jowls tend to be the feature that truly bothers many of the men and women at our facial plastic surgery practice.
Patients often ask if a neck lift alone can get rid of the loose skin along their jawlines—in other words, does a neck lift include the jowls? It’s certainly possible, but it’s also important to understand what a neck lift won’t accomplish if it’s not combined with a facelift.
What Happens During a Neck Lift?
A neck lift performed as a standalone procedure involves making a small horizontal incision below the chin. By tightening the skin and soft tissues along the jawline, I can eliminate jowls and restore the jawline’s definition. I also remove excess skin and fat and tighten the platysma muscles in the neck, which cause the “banding” that contributes to facial aging.
Sometimes called platysmaplasty, a neck lift creates a smoother, slimmer neck and adds definition to the jawline.
Combining a Facelift With a Neck Lift
I usually combine a facelift with a neck lift to rejuvenate both areas and create seamless results. That’s not to say that a standalone neck lift is never the best option for a patient. In most cases, though, women and men who come to their consultations with concerns about their necks realize that a lower facelift is needed to address sagging in the cheeks and other wrinkles and lines.
When combining a facelift with a neck lift, I make incisions in natural creases in front of and behind the ear, in addition to the incision below the chin. These discreet locations result in scars that are barely noticeable after the incisions heal. The goal of a facelift and neck lift is to take about 10 years off your appearance without looking like you’ve had “work” done. Instead of simply removing excess skin, the underlying layer of tissue and muscle (called the SMAS) is repositioned to create a natural look.
You can learn more about the differences between a facelift and a neck lift in my related blog post.
Complete Facial Rejuvenation
A facelift and neck lift addresses the lower two-thirds of the face. This is often enough to accomplish a patient’s goals. As a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, I want to ensure that my patients are happy with the results after undergoing cosmetic surgery. That’s why I discuss the relationship between different facial features with patients during the consultation and describe how combining procedures can result in comprehensive facial rejuvenation.
If you’re concerned about jowls and want to learn if a neck lift alone is enough to accomplish your goals, request a consultation to discuss your concerns at our Denver plastic surgery practice. You can also call us at (303) 253-7686 to schedule an appointment.