When Considering Cosmetic Procedures, Don’t Overlook Your Neck.


If you think all plastic surgeons try to race potential patients toward extensive facelift surgery, think again. With today’s wide array of less invasive and highly effective cosmetic procedures available to help people look and feel younger, the opposite is often the case.

This startling insight comes from recognized Top Doctor Dr. Steven L. Ringler, a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon based in Michigan with more than 25 years of experience in cosmetic and plastic surgery. Increasingly, Dr. Ringler finds himself talking younger patients in their forties and fifties out of facelift surgery. Instead, he steers them toward combining procedures such as fat grafting – which youthfully enhances facial volume – and neck lifts to tighten loose skin in this key age-defining area.

“Historically, I think patients used to wait until they were older to pursue a facelift,” Dr. Ringler explains. “But now patients tend to be more proactive. We’re seeing them get treated earlier, and surgeries and other procedures have quicker recovery times because of smaller incisions.”

“We guide them into what will offer them the best outcome,” he adds. “We try to individualize treatment.”

Factors affecting the type of cosmetic procedures a patient might need, Dr. Ringler notes, include genetics, environment, sun damage, lifestyle choices such as smoking, weight fluctuations, and skin care routine. But regardless of what combination of procedures someone chooses – or a facelift itself – Dr. Ringler often reminds them not to forget their neck area.


“We guide them into what will offer them the best outcome,” he adds. “We try to individualize treatment.”


To tweak an old phrase, a face is not an island – and definitely not a stand-alone element when considering cosmetic changes. 

“Neck lifts are often performed at the same time as other procedures, since we tend to see the face and neck as a unit and the skin on the neck often becomes looser and more wrinkled,” Dr. Ringler says. “You need to address the skin, the fat and the muscle. Not everyone has the same combination, so having a surgeon who’s used to addressing the neck and understands how to get the best contour when doing a facelift is going to get a better result.”

While a full facelift and neck lift may be perfectly appropriate for specific people of various ages, virtually all cosmetic procedures achieve better results in patients in their forties and fifties since they tend to have more elasticity to their skin, he points out. What patients don’t want is an overly tight, pulled appearance that stems from aggressive surgery.

Instead, they end up looking and feeling better with procedures such as Botox, laser treatments, facial fillers and fat grafts, or selective surgical procedures offering less downtime.

“There are a lot of good nonsurgical treatments that aren’t necessarily a substitute for a facelift but can offer good improvements that last several years or can be repeated over time,” Dr. Ringler says. “There’s some really good technology now, and it just keeps getting better.” 



Steven L. Ringler, MD

Plastic Surgery
Face, Breast & Body Surgery
grand rapids, mi