It is not uncommon for the neck to show significant signs of aging much sooner than the face. As such, patients sometimes ask if they can have a neck lift without a face lift. At Real Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery in Moonee Ponds, VIC, renowned cosmetic surgeon Mr. Stephen Salerno has successfully performed this procedure on patients who are not yet ready for a full face lift.
Can You Get a Neck Lift Without a Face Lift?
While a neck lift is usually performed in conjunction with a full or partial face lift, there is certainly no rule against having a procedure that focuses solely on the neck. Perhaps your face still looks quite young, but there is some sagging around your jaw line that is giving away your age. Over time, fat deposits can also accumulate around the neck, creating a jowly appearance that no amount of exercise or cosmetic cream can get rid of.
A surgical lift can address the jowls, sagging skin, and wrinkles that plague many necks. While having this procedure done in conjunction with a face lift can create a more noticeable overall effect, the results of a neck procedure alone can have a significant impact on a person’s appearance and confidence. If you are having trouble deciding whether to have this procedure done alone or with a face lift, this can be discussed at your consultation.
Can This Procedure Also Help the Lower Face?
While lifting and tightening the neck can do wonders for sharpening the jaw line and creating a more beautiful neck contour, patients who have significant wrinkles and sagging above the jaw line would benefit more from a combination neck and lower face lift. It is possible that there may be some minimal lifting effect to the very bottom of the lower face as the neck skin is pulled back and tightened, but the maximum effect will be to the neck, not the lower face.
The Advantages of Having a Neck and Face Lift Together
While lifting the neck alone can create terrific results, there are several reasons why patients choose to have their neck and face lifted at the same time. Since incisions need to be made behind the ears when lifting the neck, in a sense you would be “making the most” of these incisions by also lifting at least the lower face at the same time. There are also savings in terms of cost and recovery time, having one surgery as opposed to scheduling a second procedure for your face later.
Practicalities aside, the goal of cosmetic surgery is always to create the most balanced, aesthetically pleasing look possible. In some cases, it might be difficult to attain the most youthful look possible for a patient when only focusing on the neck. A very smooth and tight neck, paired with a wrinkled or sagging face, may not create the best overall appearance possible. Take a critical look at your face and neck from different angles to help you decide.
Making the Best Choice
Ultimately, it is up to the patient to decide if they want to solely focus on their neck or schedule a combination of procedures that will address their face and neck as a whole. It is understandable that some patients may not yet feel ready for a full face lift, but still want to do something for themselves that will create a significant anti-ageing effect.
In other cases, there might be budgetary constraints to consider. If one procedure is all you can afford for the time being, it is of course possible to schedule more work when you are ready. Either way, it is the patient’s choice and we can certainly create an excellent outcome with a neck lift alone.
What To Expect With a Neck Lift
If you have decided to have a neck lift either with or without a face lift, you are no doubt wondering exactly what is involved. This surgery is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia, so there is no discomfort during the procedure. Incisions are made behind the ears so there may be no visible scarring even when your hair is worn off the face. Mr. Salerno always places incisions in the most inconspicuous spot possible so it is never obvious you’ve had surgery.
During this procedure, the skin is pulled back and the neck muscles tightened to create a more youthful neck contour. In some cases, liposuction is required to remove fatty deposits that may be contributing to a jowly appearance. Once the neck has been smoothed out, sutures are put in place that will be removed about one week later. If work is only being done on the neck, the entire procedure may take less than two hours.
What the Recovery Process Looks Like
While a neck lift is a relatively straightforward procedure, it does require the use of general anesthesia which may leave patients feeling quite groggy when they wake up from their surgery. For this reason, it is very important to have someone who can take you home when you feel ready to leave the office. You will be awake, but definitely not fit to drive.
Patients will be sent home wearing a support bandage that provides light compression around the neck and jawline. Pain medication may be prescribed, although many patients find that an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen is all they need. You may have a sense of numbness more than pain during the first few days post-op, but it is still a good idea to have some medication on hand just in case you feel that you need it.
Taking Care of Yourself at Home
It is important to get plenty of rest at home and to stay hydrated in the days following your procedure. Sleeping with your head in an elevated position is recommended. You may feel very tired for a few days so if you have someone who can help out at home, that would be ideal. While you may very well be able to return to work by the second week post-op, it is important to avoid strenuous activity until your doctor advises you otherwise.
Patients are sent home with a list of instructions that include incision care. The more closely you follow these instructions, the quicker your recovery may be. Your healing progress will be monitored at your follow-up visits, but if you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, simply call the office. We are here to guide you through every step of the process until you are fully healed.
The Final Outcome
By the second month post-op, your neck could be fully healed and you may be able to enjoy the final result, which is a tighter and more youthful neck contour. Patients generally find that they have a much more attractive profile once the sagging, excess skin has been removed. By this stage any scars may have healed as well, although you may still have a very thin pink line at the incision sites. These eventually face to white and may not be noticeable at all.
If You’ve Also Had a Face Lift
If you’ve had a facial procedure in addition to lifting your neck, your recovery experience may vary slightly although you can still expect to see your final outcome within about the same timeframe. By month 2, your face and neck may have healed completely and any scarring may have faded considerably. Some patience is required to see the final result when having one or more procedures of this nature, but the end result is always more than worth it.
Extending Your Results
Surgically lifting the face and neck can create very long-lasting results, but it is still important to follow some basic self-care to ensure that your younger, fresher appearance lasts for as long as possible. Wearing sunscreen religiously, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, and eating a healthy, balanced diet are all excellent life-long habits that can help you to look and feel your very best.
Are You Ready To Learn More?
If you are dissatisfied with the appearance of your neck and/or face and wish to learn more about what can be done about it, we are here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today at Real Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery in Moonee Ponds, VIC so that we can set up a consultation and get to know you and your beauty goals better.