How do you decide if someone needs a facelift? What exactly is the difference between a facelift and a necklift?Thursday, May 17th, 2012
The word "facelift" has been used generically to describe a number of procedures that have the goal of improving the appearance of the face. The term "liquid facelift" has been used to describe improving the appearance of the face via fillers or sometimes fat. Same goes for the term "non surgical facelift." SOmetimes the term facelift has been used to describe an overall facial rejuvenation which might include a classic rhytidectomy (technical word for a facelift) as well as a browlift, eyelid surgery, and neck tightening (platysmal plication). A "mini facelift" is not a technical procedure but a coined term that could describe any number of procedures from a non aggressive rhytidectomy to a neck tightening procedure. Needless to say, there is no uniformity in the terminology used for these procedures. What one surgeon might call a facelift, another might call a necklift, and another might call a mini-facelift.
The lack of uniformity in the terminology can lead to confusion when patients try to compare apples to apples and know what different surgeon's plans might be for them.
In my practice a facelift is a rhytidectomy that treats the jowls and neckline. It can sometimes be combined with a platysmal plication (further neck tightening, called a necklift by some) which is done via a small incision under the chin. A facelift doesn not help the brows or eyes--that's a separate procedure. A facelift does not raise the cheeks significantly--that's a cheeklift or midface lift.
Some surgeons call a facelift a necklift, maybe because it sounds more benign and less threatening, or maybe because they want to make sure the patient does not think it will "lift" the entire face--it only treats the jowls and sagging neck. A patient is a good candidate for a facelift if they have significant jowling and sagging of the neck while still having good skin elasticity.