We're discussing what exactly a neck lift is and how it differs from a lower facelift.
The neck and the lower face are part of a very similar anatomic structure. The muscles and the support structures of the lower face and the neck are in continuity and when you address one area, you're often addressing the other area, and when you're evaluating one area, you need to evaluate the other area as well. In addition, access to these two anatomic areas are usually performed through very similar incisions. In order to gain access to the central part of the neck, a small incision is made under the chin, and then the entire central portion of the neck can be operated on. In order to get to the lateral or outside part of the neck, an incision is made that goes around and behind the ears.
So, these are the same incisions that are made during a facelift or a lower facelift, which is why when we think about the lower face, we think about the neck as well. In a certain subset of patients, very commonly in men, there is a disproportionate amount in skin and tissue laxity in the neck as compared to the rest of the face. Therefore, often times in men we are able to only perform a neck lift without performing the lower facelift and the results tend to be good. We're often not able to do this in women because the lower face tends to be involved in a similar manner to the neck.
Therefore, these two structures usually need to be performed together. So, a lower facelift and a neck lift, and the lower face and the neck usually need to be evaluated and addressed at the same time. However, there are specific patients with specific anatomy that allow for just the neck to be operated on or just the lower face to be operated on.