Do I Need a Facelift or Neck Lift?


Sometimes ageing isn’t kind to us, and there’s not much we can do about the effects of gravity on the skin except to maintain a healthy weight and stay away from excess stretching, lax skin, due to weight gain, poor skin care choices and overexposure to sun damage. Maintaining a healthy weight and changing our skin care regime may not save us from loose skin either and the skin around our neck and face will lose its strength or volume from tissue loss with the natural ageing process. We start to notice our neck looking a little loose around the sides and under the chin as well as our sinking cheeks or any jowls around the mouth. Taking a moment to look at these areas in the mirror may be difficult to know for sure which surgery would be the most effective and the common question is, “Do I need a facelift or a neck lift?”

Facelift and neck lift effects can be dramatic if done correctly and apply to the changes our patients experience. However, if we offer our patients a full facelift when they don’t require one, we’re not providing them the best service possible. There are a few different guidelines we follow when patients want to know which procedure they should elect to have, or if they should consider a combination of neck lift and facelift surgery.

How do we classify patients that only require a neck lift?

When considering a neck lift, patients normally have a significant amount of loose skin just below the chin that continues down the length of their neck and neckline. When we see the turkey neck or gobble chin in some patients, this happens with excess fatty deposits accumulating after some time.

Many patients will also experience banding in the neck area due to loose muscles in the neck, the platysma muscles. If you’re experiencing these issues in the neck area and the face looks relatively youthful, you want to make sure the neck and face match. 

How do I know a facelift is the best surgical option for me?

Depending on the surgeon and their recommendations, a neck lift may be included in the facelift package. But we will not perform a neck lift if it’s not needed. Focusing on the lower portion of the face to start, many patients notice a significant drooping in the cheeks around the mouth causing jowls in the chin. These changes can make us look more than ten years older and no one wants that.

The lower face can develop more deep lines and wrinkles as the lower face falls. Volume loss in the cheeks can cause the skin to sag and hang loosely; this can penetrate deeply into any supporting muscle tissues as well. During the facelift, we can lift and rework the underlying facial structure to support a younger looking face. Looking to the upper face if there is a soft look to the forehead and under the eyes, we may suggest a brow lift and lower eyelid lift as well. These procedures in combination with a facelift can completely restore your face so that you no longer appear ‘tired’ and ‘angry’. A facelift is considered as anything that’s lifts from the cheeks down to clarify.

Article by
Sydney Facial Plastic Surgeon