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Neck lift and Face Lift

Overview - Neck Lift & Face Lift

A neck lift is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess skin and fat around the jaw line, creating a more defined and youthful-looking neck. Results can be long lasting. But neck lift surgery can't stop the aging process. Neck lifts also are known as neck rejuvenations.

A face-lift is a cosmetic surgical procedure to create a younger look in the face. The procedure can reduce sagging skin. It can also help smooth folds of skin on the cheeks and jawline. A face-lift is also called a rhytidectomy.

Why it's done - Neck Lift

A neck lift can reduce signs of aging in the lower part of the face. It's often done as part of a face-lift. Neck lift is sometimes called neck rejuvenation.

Why it's done - Face Lift

The look and shape of the face changes with age. The skin becomes looser and doesn't snap back as easily. Fat deposits decrease in some areas of the face and increase in others.

A face-lift can address these age-related changes:

  • Sagging appearance of the cheeks
  • Excess skin at the lower jawline
  • Deep skin folds from the sides of the nose to the corner of the mouth
  • Sagging skin and excess fat in the neck (if the procedure includes a neck lift)

Risks - Neck Lift

Risks involved with neck lift surgery might include:

  • Bleeding under the skin, called a hematoma.
  • Scarring.
  • Infection.
  • Nerve injury.
  • Skin loss.
  • Open wounds.
  • Reaction to anesthetic.

Risks - Face Lift

A face-lift surgery can cause complications. Some can be managed with appropriate care, medication or another surgery. Long-term or permanent complications are rare but can cause changes in appearance. The risks include:

  • Hematoma. A collection of blood (hematoma) under the skin is the most common complication of a face-lift. A hematoma causes swelling and pressure. It usually forms within 24 hours of surgery. When a hematoma forms, prompt treatment with surgery helps prevent damage to the skin and other tissues.
  • Scarring. Incision scars from a face-lift are permanent. However, they're typically hidden by the hairline and natural contours of the face and ear. Rarely, incisions can result in raised scars.
  • Nerve injury. Injury to nerves is rare. An injury can affect nerves that control sensation or muscles. This effect may be temporary or permanent. Temporary loss of feeling or not being able to move a muscle of the face can last a few months to a year. It could result in an uneven facial appearance or expression. Surgery may offer some improvement.
  • Hair loss. You might experience temporary or permanent hair loss near the incision sites. Permanent hair loss can be addressed with surgery to transplant skin with hair follicles.
  • Skin loss. Rarely, a face-lift can interrupt the blood supply to facial tissues. This can result in skin loss. Skin loss is treated with medications and appropriate wound care. If necessary, a procedure can reduce scarring.

What you can expect - Neck Lift

Before the procedure

Before you have a neck lift, your health care provider talks with you to evaluate your health and discuss surgical goals and expectations. Your provider then decides on the surgical method that works best for you. You may discuss additional procedures — such as a brow lift, eyelid surgery or skin resurfacing — to give you the results you want.

Your face will be examined and measured. Photographs may be taken so that you can compare your appearance before and after surgery.

During the procedure

A neck lift is most often done under general anesthesia. You'll be in a sleep-like state. It also may be done with sedation and local anesthesia, in which only part of your body feels numb.

There are several methods that can be used. The method used depends on your anatomy, your skin's flexibility and your goals. Liposuction is the least invasive option. People who typically have success with liposuction are young with flexible skin and some pockets of fat under the neck.

In liposuction, the surgeon makes a tiny incision behind each ear and under the chin. Specialized equipment suctions fat from the jaw line and beneath the chin. If the skin is resilient and you want to reduce the fullness of your jaw line due to fat, liposuction can give you a more defined neck. Liposuction, however, won't correct structural problems that contribute to your neck's appearance.

In another type of procedure, called an anterior neck lift, the surgeon makes a small incision under the chin. The incision makes it possible to view the tissues that shape the neck. The skin then is put back over these tissues in a way that looks more pleasing.

After the procedure

After a neck lift, you'll likely have swelling and bruising.

You might need to wear a special garment that compresses the neck and helps reduce swelling. You need to keep your head elevated above the heart and to keep it straight. Don't twist or bend your neck.

What you can expect - Face Lift

A face-lift can be done in a hospital or an outpatient surgical facility.

Before the procedure

Sometimes the procedure is done with sedation and local anesthesia, which numbs only part of your body. In other cases, general anesthesia — which puts you in a sleep-like state — is recommended.

During the procedure

In general, a face-lift involves elevating the skin and tightening the tissues and muscles. Fat in the face and neck may be sculpted, removed or moved. Facial skin is then re-draped over the newly repositioned contours of the face. Excess skin is removed, and the wound is stitched or taped closed.

The incisions for the procedure depend on the techniques that will be used and the patient's preferences. Options include:

  • A traditional face-lift incision starts at your temples in the hairline. It continues down and around the front of the ears. It ends behind the ears in the lower scalp. An incision might be made under the chin to improve the appearance of your neck.
  • A limited incision is shorter and begins in the hairline just above the ear. It wraps around the front of the ear but doesn't extend all the way into the lower scalp.
  • Neck lift incision starts in front of the earlobe. It continues around the ear into the lower scalp. A small incision also is made under the chin.

A face-lift generally takes 3 to 6 hours. But it might take longer if other cosmetic procedures are done at the same time.

After the procedure

After a face-lift, you may experience:

  • Mild to moderate pain
  • Drainage from the incisions
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Numbness

Results - Neck Lift

It might take several weeks to months for swelling and bruising to disappear after surgery. It may take up to a year for the incision lines to fade. In the meantime, be careful to protect the skin from the sun. Wearing sunscreen is important.

Results - Face Lift

A face-lift can give your face and neck a more youthful look. But face-lift results are not permanent. With age, the skin on the face may begin to droop again. In general, a face-lift can be expected to last 10 years.


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