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Facelift and Neck Lift

A face and neck lift, or rhytidectomy, can help our patients reverse key signs of facial aging caused by a loss of skin elasticity, diminished facial volume, and exposure to natural elements. Our experienced, board-certified facial plastic surgeons – J. David Kriet, MD, FACS and Clinton D. Humphrey, MD, FACS – are highly skilled performing full face and neck lift procedures and are known for creating beautiful results that look natural. A face and neck lift is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery options we offer. After a thorough consultation in which your cosmetic concerns are discussed, our surgeons can smooth and elevate problem areas to reveal a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance.

What is a Facelift and Neck Lift?

A face and neck lift is a procedure designed to correct age-related changes in the face and the neck— two regions that typically exhibit telltale signs of aging most visibly. As the skin begins to lose elasticity and sag, the face usually develops wrinkles, creases, and jowls, while horizontal bands of skin can form around the neck. Additionally, loose submental tissue under the chin often creates the appearance of a “double-chin” or poorly defined neck profile. To combat these changes, a face and neck lift can be a powerful treatment to tighten lax skin, address loose musculature, and reposition fatty deposits on the face and neck for a smoother, firmer, and more youthful aesthetic. The results achieved can look natural and elegant, diminishing key indicators of age while preserving the character of your face.

What Can a Face and Neck Lift Address?

A face and neck lift can achieve a multitude of improvements along several planes of the face to restore youthful contours and smooth skin from the inside out. With a face and neck lift, our surgeons can:

  • Elevate and remove loose, excess skin
  • Lift and tighten lax musculature and connective tissue for lasting results
  • Reduce – or even eliminate – the appearance of jowls along the jawline
  • Reduce or eliminate bands visible in the neck
  • Decrease wrinkles and fine lines
  • Remove fat deposits

Who is a Candidate For a Facelift and Neck Lift?

Those interested in a facelift and neck lift should be healthy enough to undergo surgery and have no uncontrolled medical conditions that may affect the recovery process. Patients should also have a good understanding of face and neck lift surgery, as well as realistic expectations of what can be achieved with the procedure. Resources like before-and-after photos of previous facelift patients and your consultation with Dr. Kriet or Dr. Humphrey can give you insight into whether you are a good candidate for this facial plastic surgery.

Other factors that generally influence a patient’s candidacy include:

  • Whether the signs of age you seek to correct are concentrated in the mid- to lower face
  • Your willingness to quit smoking for several weeks before and after the procedure
  • Whether you desire long-term results or temporary enhancement

During your consultation, our facial plastic surgeons will evaluate your concerns and ask you about your goals to determine whether facelift and neck lift surgery is the best treatment option for you.

The Face and Neck Lift Consultation

Each face and neck lift performed by Dr. Kriet and Dr. Humphrey is tailored to meet the unique needs and cosmetic goals of the patient. During your consultation, one of our facial plastic surgeons will carefully assess every aspect of your face and neck, including skin texture, bone structure, and muscle tone to determine if you are indeed a good candidate for the procedure. Your doctor will also listen to your concerns and discuss your vision for the final outcome. Integrating all of the information gathered during the examination and conversation, your surgeon can develop a customized surgical plan designed to deliver results that appear balanced and natural. In some cases, a mid-facelift may be enough to achieve the desired aesthetic rather than a full face and neck lift.

How is the Face and Neck Lift Procedure Performed?

Face and neck lift surgery usually takes between three to five hours to complete and is performed as an outpatient procedure. You will be under general anesthesia during surgery, so you will not feel or remember a thing. The technique our surgeons use involves incisions that can be hidden along natural skin creases, behind the ears, under the chin, or within the hairline. Through these incisions, your surgeon can tighten the underlying neck musculature, sculpt and remove fat, and remove excess skin. The incisions are closed with fine sutures or surgical clips.

What is Recovery Like After a Face and Neck Lift?

After the procedure, an elastic dressing is applied to the face and worn overnight. This dressing is removed the following morning and replaced with a lighter dressing. Most patients experience some swelling and bruising during the recovery phase, though discomfort is usually mild and can be controlled with medication. After a face and neck lift, our patients typically return to work in two weeks. Following the detailed pre- and post-operative instructions provided by our surgeons can accelerate the healing process. As a result of the meticulous surgical technique employed by Drs. Kriet and Humphrey, scarring from the incisions is often undetectable to others. In fact, many hairdressers have complimented our patients on their discreet incision placement.

How Long Does a Facelift and Neck Lift Last?

In general, patients enjoy the results of their facelift for many years. The longevity of a facelift varies from patient to patient depending on factors such as skin elasticity, fluctuations in weight, photoaging, and use of skin care, among other factors. Our doctors will be able to discuss the results with regard to your individual situation.

A face and neck lift can dramatically reverse the appearance of aging, fatigue, and sun damage, providing a more youthful, refreshed, and energized look. Our face and neck lift patients are pleased with the natural-looking results they have been able to achieve with the help of Dr. Kriet and Dr. Humphrey. Often, patients appear years younger after recovery and enjoy a significant boost in confidence.

Will I Have Scars After Face and Neck Lift Surgery?

Dr. Kriet and Dr. Humphrey perform face and neck lift surgery to achieve beautiful results that appear noticeable, yet remarkably natural. In doing so, they take measures to place incisions in discreet locations within the hairline, behind the ears, under the chin, or along the existing contours of the skin. As a result, visible scarring after a face and neck lift is minimal and typically inconspicuous to outside observers. Following your surgeon’s post-operative instructions about proper wound care can generally lead to optimal healing of the incisions, allowing any surgical scars to fade to some degree over time.

Can I Get a Facelift Without Surgery?

While a facelift is considered the most effective means of rejuvenation for skin laxity and facial sagging, alternative treatment options can be utilized to minimize signs of age without surgery or significant downtime. Our Kansas City practice offers a broad range of minimally invasive cosmetic enhancement procedures like JUVÉDERM® XC and BOTOX® Cosmetic to restore youthful facial volume in sunken areas or smooth pronounced expression lines, respectively. Our collection of dermal fillers and injectables are specially formulated to target and rejuvenate a given area of concern, such as the lips, cheeks, nasolabial folds, or jowls. To address aging in the neck, Drs. Kriet and Humphrey also offer KYBELLA® as a non-surgical method of fat reduction for patients bothered by excessive fullness under the chin or the loss of a well-defined neck contour.

Although the outcome of these treatments cannot surpass, nor outlast, the quality of results yielded by face and neck lift surgery, our non-surgical anti-aging procedures can be an exceptional way to refresh and rejuvenate the face without the time and expense required by more invasive treatments. Our facial plastic surgeons can develop a personalized treatment plan according to your unique needs once your cosmetic goals are discussed in a consultation.

Cost of a Face and Neck Lift

Dr. Kriet and Dr. Humphrey understand that any major surgical procedure involves careful consideration of a number of factors, including the potential expense. The ultimate cost of a face and neck lift depends heavily on the geographic location where the procedure is performed, as well as the details of each patient’s treatment plan. The factors that generally affect the cost of a face and neck lift include:

  • Expenses for pre- and post-operative care
  • Surgeon’s fees
  • Operating room fees
  • Anesthesia fees

The unique aspects of your personalized procedure—including the amount of enhancement planned—can also influence the total cost of the surgery. As a long-lasting enhancement option designed to comprehensively reverse signs of facial aging without the need for retreatment, a face and neck lift can be considered a long-term investment into your aesthetic appearance. While ascertaining the price of such a subjective procedure can be complex, rest assured that the final cost estimate will be fully explained by a member of our team prior to the start of any treatment. To accommodate the respective needs of our patients, we accept a number of payment methods and work with CommerceCare™ — one of the premier financing companies for elective healthcare in the country. Please don’t hesitate to contact a friendly member of our team for any additional questions or concerns you may have.

What are the Limitations of a Facelift?

A face and neck lift is designed to refresh the lower two-thirds of the face and the contour of the neck, with the area of treatment typically excluding the region around the eyes and brow. Signs of aging in the upper facial planes usually appear most prominently around the eyelids, requiring different techniques and incisions to treat. Of the aesthetic concerns that develop in the upper face, most patients experience puffy or baggy eyelids, excess skin at the corners of the eyes, wrinkles, horizontal creases on the forehead, and drooping eyebrows. Although a facelift is not intended to address these aging indicators, complementing your treatment with a brow lift and/or eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) can provide full rejuvenation of the entire face.

If skin laxity is causing lines to develop across the forehead, or the eyebrows have descended from their natural positioning, a surgical brow lift can smooth and tighten loose skin to produce a more youthful appearance. This procedure generally pairs well with blepharoplasty, which can restore an energetic and rested look for patients who exhibit drooping of the upper eyelids or under-eye bags. Dr. Kriet or Dr. Humphrey can advise you on the best treatment plan for your aesthetic goals.

Choosing a Facelift Surgeon

Selecting a highly skilled and experienced plastic surgeon to perform your facelift is essential to attaining a natural-looking result within the context of your surgical goals. Assessing credentials, areas of expertise, and previous cosmetic outcomes can be effective ways of narrowing your search for the right facelift surgeon. While you are in the process of researching your options, the following tips can help you gauge whether a plastic surgeon is well-suited to address your concerns:

  • Select a board-certified facial plastic surgeon.When your facelift surgeon is board-certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. This credential indicates that a facial plastic surgeon has undergone extensive training and passed the requisite exams in all aspects of otolaryngology, or head and neck surgery and has dedicated their practice to the region of the face and neck. As not all plastic surgeons are required to be board-certified to practice, this distinguishment can give you the confidence of knowing your facelift surgeon has focused and accredited expertise in refining the structures and framework of the face.
  • Ensure before-and-after photos align with your expectations. The previous outcomes attained by a facial plastic surgeon are not only an indication of your potential results, but they can also be a determinant in your ability to entrust a prospective surgeon with your care. Explore a surgeon’s patient gallery to assess whether their work is consistent with what you hope to achieve.
  • Gain an understanding of a surgeon’s reputation. You can glean an idea of the treatment experience offered by a prospective surgeon by reading online patient reviews and testimonials of their care. These assessments can give you a comprehensive idea of what to expect once you arrive at a practice, as well as provide insight into previous patients’ overall satisfaction levels.
  • Choose someone you can trust with your care. Research a surgeon’s credentials, educational background, and professional memberships to get a sense of their expertise. You will have an opportunity to ask them additional questions about their training during a consultation, where you will also be able to determine how comfortable you feel with his or her bedside manner and professional acumen.

Additional Facelift FAQs

Does a facelift always include a neck lift?

Whether a facelift includes a neck lift varies by plastic surgery office, and many practices only offer a facelift and neck lift as separate procedures. However, Drs. Kriet and Humphrey believe the face and neck should be treated simultaneously since these two regions age together. Excess skin and muscle laxity often develop in the face and neck concurrently, so addressing both areas can typically achieve the highest level of rejuvenation.

How long before I can exercise again after facelift surgery?

Most patients can resume exercise after four to six weeks, although the exact length of this hiatus will vary slightly from patient to patient depending on the invasiveness of the procedure and one’s internal rate of healing. While we understand patients may be eager to return to their normal routine, it’s very important to refrain from strenuous activity for the requisite amount of time, as premature strain on the body before it is fully healed can cause fluid buildup, wound separation, and infection. Dr. Kriet and Dr. Humphrey will advise you on when you can safely proceed with your workout routine based on the details of your unique procedure. In most cases, it’s best to gradually ease into your exercise regimen once you’re given clearance to do so, starting with light physical activity such as walking or stretching.

Is a facelift different for men versus women?

While a male and female facelift similarly aim to tighten loose skin, reposition descended fat, and lift sagging facial musculature, there are distinctions in the ideal aesthetic conventions of men versus women. For example, men typically have a larger facial shape and desire a sharp, strong, and masculine jawline. In contrast, women who undergo facelift surgery often have an oval facial shape and seek a sleeker, smoother, and softer look in the face and neck. The overall goal with both a male and female facelift procedure is to achieve a natural-looking outcome that appears youthful and accentuates a patient’s existing features.

Are there age limits for facelift surgery?

Drs. Kriet and Humphrey treat a broad range of patients for facelift surgery. Most patients are between the ages of 40 and 80. A good facelift candidate has relaxed skin and facial tissue, a relatively stable weight, and is in good health. Patients may also have localized fatty deposits that they would like to address. Our facial plastic surgeons can assess whether a facelift is the best treatment for you after a physical examination and thorough review of your medical history.

How can I reduce swelling after facelift surgery?

Swelling after a facelift is normal and expected, but the healing process can often be accelerated by sleeping with the head elevated (above the level of the heart), limiting salt intake, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and wearing compression dressings as instructed by Drs. Kriet and Humphrey. You will receive detailed post-operative instructions after your procedure.

How should I sleep after a facelift?

After facelift surgery, it is best to sleep on your back with pillows propped up to keep your head slightly elevated. This should help decrease swelling, improve blood flow, and accelerate the healing process. It is also advised to limit movements that can potentially pull or tug on your incisions.

When can I wear makeup after facelift surgery?

Dr. Kriet and Dr. Humphrey recommend avoiding facial makeup for at least one week after surgery to ensure that your incisions are fully healed. Applying makeup introduces bacteria, dirt, and other impurities into the skin that may cause an infection, therefore it is advised to refrain from makeup until your facial plastic surgeon instructs otherwise.

Is a facelift painful?

Discomfort after a facelift is often described as mild rather than painful. As general anesthesia is used during the procedure, there should be no pain at the time of surgery. Patients can manage bruising and swelling during the healing process with over-the-counter and prescribed pain medications until these reactions naturally resolve.

If you are considering face and neck lift surgery, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. J. David Kriet or Dr. Clinton D. Humphrey.