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Archive for the ‘direct necklift’ Category

Case Study – Older Male Direct Necklift

Sunday, February 26th, 2017


Background: The turkey neck is an urban term used to describe a hanging of neck tissue that most commonly occurs as a result of aging. It may occur in younger patients but it would be due exclusively to the loose neck tissue that results from large amounts of weight loss. Regardless of the cause, the turkey neck hangs with a large midline sag as the the tissues along the sides of the face and neck fall towards the midline of the neck.

Men often appear for ‘turkey neck surgery’ because they often present at a much older age. The male trigger to undergo any type of invasive aesthetic facial surgery is usually much higher than that of women (traditionally) as they can endure facial aging changes for longer than most women. Large turkey necks are not uncommon in older men as they approach their 70s and 80s.

One of the challenges in the older male facelift patient is their medical appropriateness for surgery. They often have cardiovascular concerns and, at the least, many are being treated for hypertension. They are at higher risk for intraoperative bleeding and postoperative hematomas. And they have to have a good enough heart to tolerate a 3 to 4 hour facelift/necklift surgery. These concerns are in addition to the placement of incisions around the ears in men who have often inadequate hairlines and hair to hide them well.

Case Study: This 82 year-old male was bothered by his large turkey neck. He had ‘grown’ to the point where it was both embarrassing and problematic for shirt wear. Despite his age he was in good health with no cardiac history or exercise/walking in tolerance.

Direct Necklift operation Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisUnder general anesthesia, a direct necklift was done with the removal of a large ‘candelabra’ pattern of skin excision. Once the skin is removed, the neck ‘defect’ can look very impressive as the skin on the sides of the neck falls back. Subplatysmal fat was directly removed and midline muscle plication done from under the chin down to the trachea. The neck skin was brought together and closed in the midline with a smaller horizontal component under the chin and a much larger horizontal closure line along the lower neck line below the trachea, Total surgical time was one hour.

Older Male Direct Necklift result Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisThe direct necklift always creates a significant and usually dramatic neck shape change because it is a direct excisional approach. (as opposed to skin flap relocation) For older men (greater than age 70), the direct necklift offers a shorter operative time, less risk of complications and a complete elimination of the turkey neck. There is the trade-off of a midline neck scar but it usually heals well in beard skin. Many older men would consider this a worthy trade-off .


1) Very senior men with turkey necks can be challenging patients for traditional facelift surgery.

2) The direct necklift avoids most of the issue relating to doing a full facelift in older men.

3) The midline neck scar from a direct necklift does well in older male beard skin.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Options in Aesthetic Jawline Enhancement

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

The jawline is the defining feature of the lower face. It is quite simple from a structural standpoint being a u-shaped arc and serving as the transition between the face and the neck. But it can have lots of aesthetic problems that are extremely common complaints. A weak chin, a sagging neck, a double chin, jowls, and weak jaw angles are the main jawline issues that manu people have. Whether one is young or old, male or female, these jawline concerns can affect all due either to aging or a congenital structural defect.

The strong or well-defined jawline has become an important component of facial beauty and attractiveness today. With the advent of the internet and other electronic media, a new cultural standard for jawline aesthetics has emerged. Males contact me today and almost always point to the jawline of Brad Pitt and numerous less well known models as to their goal. Women similarly point to actresses like Angelina Jolie or Reese Witherspoon as their desired jawline look.

What makes up a pleasing jawline that conveys both attractiveness and a more youthful appearance? This always refers to a well-defined  and visible inferior border of the mandible that is straight from the jaw angle to the chin. The jaw angles are slightly higher than the horizontal position of the chin and there is a slight flare from front to back. The chin is more square in men than in a women whose chin is more narrow. Soft tissue that hugs the lower edge of the jaw makes for a well-defined neck angle and the absence of any jowls. It can be seen that the bone structure is the key to a good jawline which will also affect how the soft tissue may sag with age off of the bone.     

While I suspect a good jawline has always been a desired facial feature, many recent improvements and advancements in plastic surgery have made it more achievable. But there is not a single jawline technique that will work for everyone. A variety of bone and soft tissue surgical procedures exist and often more than one is needed to get the best result.

Chin and to a lesser degree jaw angle implants have been around for decades. But new improvements in implant shapes have made them more versatile and adaptable to a variety of jawline problems and are available off of-the-shelf. Chin implants that extend posteriorly to cover the prejowl area and those that have increased width to create a more square chin are but a few of the newer options. Better chin implant designs are still needed, particularly those that may allow for increased vertical as well as horizontal projection. Jaw angle implants have largely been in one style, that of adding more lateral fullness. But newer jaw angle designs allow for vertical height increase and stronger lateral flare as well.

But off-the-shelf chin and jaw angle implants can often not make for a completely straight jawline because they are not connected in the middle between the two over the central body of the mandible. Custom jawline implants can now be made that can create a central jawline augmentation that unites the chin and jaw angle areas. Custom designs may also be used when the size of the chin or jaw angles desired has greater dimensions that what off-the-shelf implants can achieve.

Soft tissue techniques for an enhanced jawline include a variety of well known procedures. Fat removal by liposuction, loose skin tightening and removal through differing facelift techniques, and neck muscle tightening can better redrape the soft tissues around the bony jawline. Two uncommon but useful soft tissue procedures are the submentoplasty and the direct necklift. A submentoplasty works best in the younger patient with a full neck where extensive fat removal and muscle tightening are done without skin removal. In contrast is the direct necklift which is for the much older patient who is willing to accept a neck scar for neck wattle removal and platysmal muscle tightening.

Contemporary jawline aesthetic surgery is more than just a chin implant or a facelift. It needs to consider all anatomical elements and combine a variety of bony and soft tissue manipulations to get the best lower facial improvement.  

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana   

Non-Facelift Options In the Aging Neck

Friday, March 16th, 2012

An improved neck shape is a desire for many aging men and women. With time, loose skin and sagging fat develop that create a full neck with a more obtuse angle. When seeing patients who seek a better neck and jawline, they are usually surprised when the concept of a facelift is presented. They may have come in for a ‘necklift’ or some other limited operation but they most certainly didn’t think they needed a facelift.

For some, the issue of a facelift vs a necklift is a matter of misunderstanding terminology. It is common that most people believe that a facelift alters everything from the forehead down to the neck, not just an isolated neck and jawline change. Once explained properly they are ready to proceed with what they called a necklift. But for others a facelift is simply more than they want to do even though it is the ideal procedure for their aging neck and jowls.

Besides a facelift, they are a variety of other smaller or less extensive procedures that can be used to reshape the neck. These include the options of liposuction, submentoplasty, chin implants and the direct necklift. Often putting together two of these procedures is done to optimize their effects. But none of these procedures should be confused with creating the same effect as a facelift in the aging neck and it is important to realize their limitations.

Liposuction of fat can be very effective in reducing neck fullness. But that is dependent on how much fat actually exists in the neck and, most importantly, the quantity of neck skin and its tone. Loose neck skin will not respond to liposuction the way many older patients would like. The neck may indeed get less full but the skin may retract poorly and leave more visible folds and irregularities. Even with liposuction technology such as Smartlipo, which aids the fat removal process by a heating effect, significant loose skin will not be dramatically tightened. While I have seen some surprisingly good results with its use in the older neck, it is not a replacement for an excisional or lifting procedure for loose skin. When using it patients have to be willing to accept these skin issues or be ready to have a facelift later if they want further improvement.

The submentoplasty procedure is another method of neck fat removal but does not rely on liposuction at all. It is the removal of fat from underneath the platysma muscle and is often done as part of a facelift. Through an incision under the chin, the fat is seen through the separated platysma muscles in the midline. When done in a facelift, I use a ‘kelly clamp’ technique to remove the upper portion of the fat pad and then close the muscles over it. For those fuller necks with a lot of subplatysmal fat, a submentoplasty can make a dramatic change in the neck angle in side view. But like liposuction, its success as an isolated procedure depends on how well the skin retracts, which is why it works best in younger patients. In older necks, such fat removal can create skin dimpling and a central neck indentation.

Skin removal in the neck can be done without a traditional facelift. It is not commonly done as one might expect due to the scars that are created. But for the right patient who is fully educated, the scar may be a worthwhile trade-off. The direct necklift uses a vertical removal of skin from the chin down to the lowest horizontal neck skin crease. But skin alone is not just removed. All of the fat underneath this skin and even subplatysmal fat can be removed. The platysma muscle is then sewn together in the most dramatic form of neck muscle tightening due to the visual exposure that the surgeon has. The direct necklift produces the most significant neck angle change, even compared to the traditional facelift. Other types of neck excision or lifts exist, such as a submental tuck or a necklift that uses incisions behind the ears only, but their effects are very limited.


A chin implant is often a surprising suggestion to many older patients when discussing their neck concerns. It is a complementary procedure that increases the prominence of the jaw and by so doing lengthens the upper neck. While not enough alone to change a neck as much as a patient would like, it is a common component of many facelift procedures. It can be used with any of the non-facelift neck procedures and is conveniently done through a submental incision.

While there are a variety of surgical options for neck rejuvenation in older patients, their effects are limited. What they can do should not be confused with that of a facelift (with the exception of a direct necklift) and should be chosen only because one is more interested in less cost and recovery. For the neck with a lot of sag and droop, none of these more limited procedures may be a good option.


Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Dr. Barry EppleyDr. Barry Eppley

Dr. Barry Eppley is an extensively trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon with more than 20 years of surgical experience. He is both a licensed physician and dentist as well as double board-certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This training allows him to perform the most complex surgical procedures from cosmetic changes to the face and body to craniofacial surgery. Dr. Eppley has made extensive contributions to plastic surgery starting with the development of several advanced surgical techniques. He is a revered author, lecturer and educator in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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