Should You Get a Facelift or Neck Lift?

Couple smiling in their Denver, Colorado home

If you’re taking a selfie, what’s the one facial feature that tends to draw unwanted attention? For most people, it’s the neck. Loose neck skin and vertical neck bands—the dreaded “turkey neck”—seem magnified by those photos taken at arm’s length with a smartphone. My patients often ask if they need a neck lift or facelift at our Denver, CO, facial plastic surgery practice.

The fact that these are actually 2 distinct procedures may surprise you. That’s understandable because there is definitely some overlap in the concerns addressed by a facelift and neck lift. That’s because one of the primary factors in facial aging is gravity, which pulls fat, skin, and muscle down where they settle at the jawline and the neck. Tissue accumulated in this area creates jowls and affects the neck’s appearance.

So, the question remains: Is a neck lift or facelift the correct procedure? Consider this old saying in facial plastic surgery—the best neck lift is a facelift. That’s not always true, of course, and some women and men are excellent candidates for standalone neck lifts. The fact is, though, that combining a neck lift with facelift surgery is often the best approach.

What’s the Difference Between a Facelift and Neck Lift?

Advanced facelift techniques no longer focus simply on removing excess skin and pulling the remaining skin tight. The procedure lifts and repositions the muscle and tissue below the skin to improve the appearance of the cheeks, jawline, and area around the mouth. When performed by a facial plastic surgeon with extensive training, a facelift results in patients looking like they did about 10 years earlier.

A neck lift, which is sometimes called a platysmaplasty, also creates a more defined jawline while also producing a slimmer, smoother neck. During the procedure, a surgeon removes excess fat and tightens the platysma muscle to erase concerns such as a double chin and the “turkey wattle” that bothers many of our patients.

Combining a Facelift With a Neck Lift

Even though there are some patients who can benefit from having only a neck lift, I typically combine a facelift with a neck lift. When I talk with patients who come in with aesthetic concerns about their necks, many realize they are also bothered by the jawline and the lack of definition of the jawline.

By combining a facelift with a neck lift, I rejuvenate both the face and the neck, so the results are seamless. I often compare facial rejuvenation to home remodeling: Updating your living room without renovating the kitchen will make the kitchen appear even more outdated.

In fact, facial rejuvenation often involves combining surgical and nonsurgical procedures to produce the optimal results because facial aging rarely occurs in one area at a time. Browse our photo gallery to see our patients’ facial rejuvenation before and after pictures.

If you want to discuss your concerns about facial aging, contact us using the online form to request a personal consultation or call us at (303) 253-7686 to schedule an appointment.

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