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How does significant weight loss impact your face and neck?

If you are overweight or obese, it is a good idea to lose weight to improve your physical and mental health and cut the risk of developing serious health conditions, such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

Increasing exercise and physical activity, coupled with eating a healthier diet, will lead to weight loss. This in turn will lead to improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.

However if you lose a substantial amount of weight, you will notice that this can have an impact on your face and facial features, leaving you with unwanted excess or sagging skin. You may also find you have a gaunt face after weight loss. If this is the case, you may benefit from aesthetic procedures. 

What does dramatic weight loss do to your face and features

Extra weight causes the skin to stretch, wherever on the body you may be carrying that excess weight. As this excess fat stretches the skin, this can cause damage to the skin’s natural collagen and elastin. When you lose weight, you may be left with excess or sagging skin on the face and neck as a result of the stretching. 

Once hidden by fat, wrinkles and fine lines become more noticeable following weight loss.

When your body burns calories, this fat comes from all parts of the body, including the face, sometimes leading to sunken cheeks and a gaunt appearance. This is particularly common in people who exercise excessively, such as ultra-marathon runners. Sometimes a gaunt face is referred to as ‘gym face’ or ‘runner’s face’. Hollow areas can also develop under the eyes as a result of dramatic weight loss.

Luckily there are a number of surgical and non-surgical treatments which can help with the results of weight loss face change.

What treatments are available?

If you are experiencing a sagging face after weight loss, then you may require surgical excision to remove the excess skin. This means the loose skin is cut away to allow for the remaining skin to be tightened.

A face lift, neck lift and brow lift can all help to remedy sagging skin around the face and neck. In a full facelift, the surgeon creates an incision in the front of the ear, travelling into the hairline and behind the ear into the scalp. The skin is lifted and pulled upwards, with any excess skin removed. 

The less-invasive mini facelift focuses on tightening sagging skin in the lower portion of the face, including the chin, jaw, jowls and upper neck. This treatment can also be combined with fat transfer, which involves taking fat from another part of the body via liposuction and transferring it to parts of the face to restore lost volume. However if you have lost a considerable amount of weight, you may wish to opt for a traditional facelift to deliver the required results. One of our expert consultants will be able to advise you further on this. We would not recommend a micro facelift to tackle excess or sagging face and neck skin caused by dramatic weight loss.

A facelift procedure can be carried out in conjunction with a neck lift, or lower rhytidectomy, which tightens sagging skin around the chin and jowls. 

There are two neck lift procedures we offer here at the Cadogan Clinic. Cervicoplasty is a technique which focuses on removing excess skin only and is a less comprehensive surgery.  It involves the excess skin being lifted and repositioned before being stitched into place, giving the neck a smoother appearance. The second technique, platysmaplasty, is more extensive and tightens and sculpts the underlying muscle of the neck. Once the surgeon has tightened the muscle, the skin is pulled taught and the incisions closed. This technique achieves more dramatic results than a cervicoplasty, but one of our expert surgeons will be able to advise which procedure is the best for you. Sometimes a combination of both neck lift techniques are used, alongside surgical excision or liposuction to remove any remaining excess fat.

If excess skin around the eye area is causing issues, you may want to consider blepharoplasty. This surgical procedure aims to rejuvenate the eyelids and surrounding area and can also be performed in conjunction with other surgeries of the face, neck and brow for an enhanced result.

Non Surgical Options

Stretched or sagging neck skin, sometimes referred to as ‘turkey neck’ is unlikely to shrink back naturally. Although there are alternative non-surgical solutions to neck lift surgery, including anti-aging injectables and Ultherapy, these are typically not as effective and do not last as long.

A brow lift targets loose elastic skin in the brow and forehead area, raising the soft tissue and skin and rejuvenating the area. There are a number of surgical and non-surgical brow lit treatments available at the Cadogan Clinic. Once again, our consultants will advise on which option is the most suitable for you.

If you feel your face is too thin after weight loss, you may wish to consider dermal fillers to regain some of that youthful volume. Dermal fillers are injectable treatments and this non-surgical procedure delivers speedy, and long-lasting, results. They are highly-effective at plumping out the cheeks and lips.

Fillers are also used to treat the under-eye area, which can also add to the appearance of a gaunt face after weight loss. Tear trough filler is designed to level out the area below the eyes and restore volume, giving you a fresh-faced, rested and more youthful appearance.

Dermal fillers help to strengthen and thicken the skin under the eyes, helping to cover dark or inflamed blood vessels. The hyaluronic acid in the filler helps the skin to retain moisture, which gives the ‘plumping’ effect under the eyes.

If you are experiencing excess or sagging skin or a gaunt face after weight loss, we invite you to book a consultation with one of our expert surgeons here at the Cadogan Clinic to discuss which options would be the most suitable for you.

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