SECOND QUARTER 2002, VOLUME 16, NO 2

Improving the appearance of your neck with a facelift, liposuction, etc.

IN THIS ISSUE

Is that really me in the mirror? The realities of the aging face

Improving the appearance of your neck with a facelift, liposuction, etc.

Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

Hair loss: What are my options?

The hallmark of a youthful visage includes smooth skin and a clear jawline. Improving the appearance of your neck can play an important role in rejuvenating your overall look.

As we age, the skin of the neck loses its elasticity. The muscles that support the skin start to weaken and stretch, forming vertical bands. The jawline becomes less pronounced as fat deposits collect under the skin. Loose skin may appear to hang under the chin, known as a turkey wattle. All of these changes in your neck can make you look much older than you feel. Your facial plastic surgeon can offer procedures to ameliorate the appearance of your neck including, facelift, liposuction, chin augmentation, muscle tightening procedure, and excess skin removal.

Facelift
The major benefits of a facelift are in the cheek, jowl, and neck areas. The procedure refreshes your look by lifting and tightening sagging skin, reducing jowls, and refining the jaw line. Incisions are made in the hairline of the temple, around the ear, and into the hair behind the ear. The skin of the neck and of the cheek is lifted and the underlying connective tissue is repositioned. Permanent sutures may be placed to hold it in the new position. Excess skin and fat is removed and the skin is re-draped and secured with sutures. Depending on the extent of the surgery, the procedure takes between two to four hours and is typically done in an ambulatory surgical center or the doctor’s office surgery facility under light general or twilight anesthesia (medication orally and intravenously with local anesthetic). Patients usually go home the same day as the procedure. The facelift can be combined with fat removal in the neck (liposuction) or a muscle tightening procedure.

Photos courtesy of The Face Book , published by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

A facelift has changed Joan’s life in a very positive way. The surgery has brightened both her appearance and her spirits. The whole experience was really, truly painless and it’s the best thing I ever did, she says.

Facelift - Before/AfterLiposuction
Liposuction is used to reduce the number of fat cells in a certain area. It can be performed by itself or in conjunction with another procedure (such as a facelift). In order to improve the neck area, fat deposits are removed through small incisions beneath the chin or in a crease around the ear. A small tube is inserted and the fat cells are vacuumed out. The procedure provides refinement to the jawline and can greatly improve a patient’s profile.

Chin augmentation
If the chin is weak or receding, problems in the neck area can appear more acute. A chin implant can make a dramatic difference by improving the profile and jaw line. The implant may be placed through an under-the-chin incision, particularly if a facelift or liposuction procedure is being done at the same time, or it may be placed through an incision made inside the mouth, between the lower lip and gum.

Tightening procedure
This procedure is ideal for the patient who does not need a full facelift but instead needs to tighten the muscles that are starting to protrude. The result is a better angle between the neck and the jawline. The physician tightens the supportive muscles (platysmal bands) of the neck through a small incision hidden in the crease beneath the chin. Sutures are placed in the bands to tighten them and fix them permanently in the new position. Excess fat may be suctioned out through the same incision, and a small amount of the skin may be removed also.

Excess skin removal
Your facial plastic surgeon may decide that excess skin removal (turkey wattle) is the only procedure necessary to improve the neck area. This procedure begins with a vertical incision in the neck. The skin is pulled smooth and the excess is trimmed. The scar can be disguised by closing the incision with a technique, called Z-plasty.

Necklift - Before/AfterDetails of the procedure
Necklifts are usually performed under local anesthesia and sedation. A small incision is placed in the crease under the chin to complete the liposuction and tightening to the muscles underneath. The skin is repositioned, the excess is removed, and it is secured with sutures. The incisions are closed and a light dressing is applied. The surgery is done as an outpatient procedure. It is recommended to apply cold compresses and elevate the head during the first 48 hours to minimize the swelling. You will be given prescription pain medication for any discomfort. Most patients return to work within a week.

Photos courtesy of The Face Book
A facelift greatly reduced jowling and excess skin in the neck area. A facelift and chemical peel reduced laugh lines around the mouth.

The goal of the necklift whether it includes a facelift, liposuction, chin augmentation, tightening, skin removal, or all of the above is to return the once sagging skin and muscles to their original location, restoring your youthful appearance. See your facial plastic surgeon for more information about a sharper contour to your neck.