Are both your face and your neck showing their age? Many find that as wrinkles emerge, nasolabial folds deepen and jawlines sag, neck banding or a ‘turkey neck” appear as well. Plastic surgeons often recommend having a facelift and neck lift together. Some people really need that. But if your face and neck need work, do you need to have both a face lift and a platysmaplasty? Must you have both to get the younger-looking face and neck you want?
As the title of this article says, not necessarily. It’s possible to have a much younger-looking face and neck without adding any additional procedures to your facelift. Let me tell you how.
A SMAS facelift often requires a neck lift or platysmaplasty
Most plastic surgeons perform the SMAS facelift. In this procedure, your surgeon removes a quarter-inch diagonal strip from the SMAS membrane under your facial skin. He or she then sutures it tight to take up the slack. This effectively lifts your jowls and lower face. But this method has its limitations.
The SMAS procedure will typically provide a quarter inch of lift on the face. Any improvement in the neck is quite limited. If you have pronounced banding or a turkey neck with loose skin in the middle, along with pulls on the platysma under the ears when doing a SMAS lift you’ll also need a platysmaplasty. A younger-looking face and an old-looking neck won’t give you the attractive appearance you want.
A platysmaplasty procedure carries risks
Every surgical procedure has both benefits and risks. Carefully weigh the risks and benefits before having any procedure. If there’s a reasonable way to receive the benefits you want while lessening or eliminating risks, that’s often the right way to go.
Platysmaplasty involves suturing the platysma muscles on either side of the neck together to form one unit under the chin. While this is both effective and generally safe, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons this type of neck lift carries risks, including:
- Skin irregularities and discoloration
- Skin loss
- Increased risk of bleeding
- Hematomas (fluid buildup under the skin)
- Sutures that spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation and require removal
In addition, a platysmaplasty can eliminate too much fat, causing your neck muscles to be clearly visible under the skin. That’s not a look you’ll want.
When having a facelift, is it possible to get a smoother, younger-looking neck while minimizing or eliminating many of these risks? Yes, it is!
Get the benefits of a neck lift while minimizing the risks
There is only one type of facelift that substantially lifts and smooths your neck without a platysmaplasty – the Deep Plane facelift. This procedure releases key ligaments between the facial muscles and the SMAS layer. This can provide a substantially greater lift without the risk of injuring the facial nerve. It also has a much bigger effect on the platysma neck muscles.
The “lift” in a facelift comes from incisions just in front of the ears. The pull is in a diagonal direction. The deep plane facelift lifts in a way that’s much further forward than a SMAS facelift. With the deep plane procedure, as the surgeon lifts and sutures the SMAS and skin, he or she also stretches and tightens the platysma muscles vertically and diagonally.
For many patients this eliminates their neck banding and turkey neck without a neck lift. There’s no additional bleeding risk. Neck fat is only reduced if necessary. So, any chance of removing needed fat and having the muscles become visible under the skin is greatly diminished. There are no sutures in the neck, so there’s no danger of neck sutures coming to the surface.
Some people, though, have so much loose skin in the center of their neck that they need more improvement than even a deep plane facelift can provide. In that case, an experienced facial plastic surgeon can perform a “mini plat” procedure at the time of a deep plane lift. This will allow the deep plane lift to work on the rest of the neck and get rid of the turkey neck under the chin, all while minimizing the risks of a full platysmaplasty.
Could you benefit from a facelift that improves your neck?
As I explained in “Nasolabial Folds – Can You Improve Smile Lines for Years?” not every plastic and facial plastic surgeon offers the deep plane facelift. And even among those who do, not every surgeon performs the full procedure to reap all its benefits. So, if you would like to get a facelift that will improve your neck, you’ll need to find a board-certified, highly experienced facial plastic surgeon or plastic surgeon who specializes in the face and neck.
Ask if their deep plane facelift can substantially improve your neck without a platysmaplasty. Check their Before and After photos, asking exactly which procedures were used for each of the patients pictured. This research can really pay off when you get a procedure that helps you look many years younger while reducing risks of unwanted side effects.
The right procedure performed by the right surgeon can make a real difference. If you’re in Inland Empire, California and want to discuss your best options, come see me at STC Plastic Surgery in Ontario.