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FACELIFT & NECK LIFT SURGERY: WHAT IT IS AND WHAT TO EXPECT

FACELIFT & NECK LIFT SURGERY: WHAT IT IS AND WHAT TO EXPECT

Written By: Dr. Shirley Hu

Long gone are the facelifts of the early years – pulled back, windswept and painfully obvious. Instead, the contemporary facelift aims to rejuvenate naturally, giving elegant, refined, and understated results. Facelift surgery often also includes rejuvenation of the neck, known as a neck lift. Scroll down to read all about these transformative and popular cosmetic procedures and what they can do for you.

WHAT IS A FACELIFT AND NECK LIFT?

Facelift surgery, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a permanent surgical procedure that lifts the middle and lower third of the face. Neck lift surgery does the same for the neck. As we age and lose facial volume, the contour of the face changes, causing shadow patterns to develop while youthful highlights fade. You may notice that the skin and soft tissues of the face and neck start to descend, resulting in excess, loose tissue around the face, jaw and neckline. This may result in deep smile lines, sagging jowls, loss in cheekbone height, or a poorly defined jawline. To address this, a rhytidectomy, or facelift, and neck lift, can be performed. The goal is to essentially “lift up” these portions of the face and neck that are showing unwanted signs of aging.

WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR FACELIFT SURGERY AND NECK LIFT SURGERY?

If you are bothered by loose tissue in the cheeks, along the jawline, underneath the chin or in the neck, a facelift surgery and neck lift surgery may be the answer. Jowling and deep smile lines are two other common concerns that can be remedied with this procedure. Have a stubborn double chin or a turkey neck? A neck lift is the gold standard for treating these conditions. Want to look younger? A facelift and neck lift has the ability to shave off 10 to 20 years. And the best thing is you’ll still look like yourself, just the most refreshed and rejuvenated version possible. If you are not interested in facelift surgery, there are nonsurgical facelift options.

FACE & NECK LIFT BEFORE & AFTER

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF FACELIFTS?

MINI LIFT

A mini-lift or ‘weekend lift’ is a minimally invasive procedure with the least amount of downtime. Small hairline incisions are made around the ears to “lift” your skin upwards, redistribute fat and muscle, and trim excess skin tissues. Since less tissue dissection occurs, the recovery period is reduced significantly, but the results will not be as dramatic or long-lasting, perhaps 5 years instead of 10 years.

SMAS LIFT

A SMAS lift is a comprehensive facelift that addresses the underlying SMAS layer of the face. The SMAS is what encompasses all of our facial muscles and is the most important aspect to address during a facelift. It is this anatomical layer that needs to be resuspended in order to achieve a result that is enduring. The incision for a SMAS facelift starts in the hairline, travels in front of the ear along creases, extends behind the ear, and into the hair. Your skin is elevated to isolate it from the underlying SMAS layer, the underlying tissues are trimmed and manipulated to produce the desired results, and the facial skin is then lifted upwards and trimmed to produce a smooth appearance.

DEEP PLANE FACE LIFT

A deep plane facelift involves lifting all the layers of the face – SMAS, fat, and skin – in one unit. The SMAS muscle is released from the underlying connections to the facial skeleton to allow maximal mobility. Any excess skin is then redraped and trimmed. This unique facelift technique produces remarkably natural-looking results with no skin tension. This is also the only type of facelift that will address the midface, giving back volume where it has been lost and softening the deep smile lines. The deep plane facelift is also known to have the best longevity.

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF NECK LIFTS?

There are two main types of neck lifts that are differentiated by incision location. The first involves a single incision underneath the chin in a crease. Through this incision, the tissues of the neck are sculpted until a smooth contour and obtuse angle are achieved. Patients who are younger and have good skin elasticity with minimal excess laxity are ideal candidates for this more minimally invasive procedure. The second type of neck lift involves making additional incisions around the lower part of the earlobe and behind the ear. This allows the surgeon to more effectively redrape the excess skin from the neck in an upward and backward manner. Patients who have a significant amount of loose skin along the jawline and neck should consider this type of neck lift.

WHAT AGE SHOULD YOU HAVE FACELIFT SURGERY OR NECK LIFT SURGERY?

There is no specific age cutoff, though most of my patients are in their 50s or 60s. I have had clients who are in their late 30s and those in their early 80s; it all depends on your anatomy and the quality of your skin and deeper tissues. Come in for a consultation to see if you’re a candidate!

FACE & NECK LIFT BEFORE & AFTER

HOW LONG DOES A FACELIFT LAST?

The longevity of a facelift will differ depending on the patient, the quality of his or her facial tissues, and the effect of aging. In general, patients will enjoy their results upwards of 7-10 years before even considering another procedure. Many will never have another facelift surgery. I like to tell all my patients that while a facelift does not stop the aging process, your face and neck at any point in the future will always look better than they do now, particularly when it comes to sagging jowls and neck banding.

WHAT IS FACELIFT SURGERY RECOVERY LIKE?

A combined face and neck lift is a same-day procedure often performed under general anesthesia. The procedure takes around 5 hours to complete. You will need someone to pick you up and take care of you during the first 24 hours after surgery. Recovery is about 2 weeks of social downtime.

For the first few days following surgery, you can expect a significant degree of swelling and bruising. This is particularly apparent on the sides of the face and jawline, which can appear puffy and tight. This sensation of tightness is similarly felt in the face and under the chin, where sutures were placed to suspend the fallen tissues. To alleviate the discomfort, an anti-anxiety or other sleep aid medication can be prescribed. The pain associated with the procedure is often well-controlled with extra strength Tylenol and a few oxycodone tablets as needed.

By the second week, the majority of the swelling will have resolved, much of the purple bruising will have faded into a yellow color, and the incisions are beginning to camouflage with the rest of the skin. Throughout the following 4 to 6 weeks, you will experience gradual decrease in the remainder of the swelling, and results will continue to improve up to 6 months after the procedure. At this point, the incisions will be completely camouflaged and inconspicuous. Results frequently last upwards of ten years.

WHAT IS NECK LIFT SURGERY RECOVERY LIKE?

An isolated neck lift is a same-day procedure often performed under general anesthesia. The procedure takes around 2 hours to complete. Following your neck lift, it is very common to experience swelling, tenderness and bruising around the treated areas and feel tightness under the chin. Most patients report being able to return to work and their regular routines 10-14 days following the procedure, but recovery time varies.

HOW MUCH DOES FACELIFT SURGERY COST? HOW MUCH DOES NECK LIFT

Since every patient is different and there are multiple types of procedures, facelift surgery costs will vary but generally start at $9,000 for facelift. For neck lift surgery costs, they generally start at $6,000. There are other components, such as a facility fee that covers staff and supplies and an anesthesia fee, that are not included in these numbers. If you are looking for the best facelift on Long Island, the first step is to schedule a consultation with one of our facial plastic surgeons, who are trained extensively in the anatomy of the face and neck, and are experts in this field. If you are not quite ready to make this commitment, nonsurgical facelifts may be a good alternative.

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