Combination facelift enhances outcome

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There is no shortage of cosmetic procedures that promise to smooth out you facial wrinkles and melt away fat, but in some cases, combining procedures can be more effective at doing both.

Like many people, Margaret Schrader says her weight fluctuates with diet and exercise, but one thing seems to stay the same.

"I've always had sort of a full face and neck, and even when I was younger," says Schrader.

Now she is hoping to thin out her look with a treatment that's actually two procedures in one. San Francisco cosmetic specialist Dr. Sheena Kong, M.D., combines a skin tightening technology known as Ultherapy, with a laser treatment called the inside-out neck lift.

"The two kind of work together to extend the benefits," explains Kong.

First, Kong treats Schrader's face with Ultherapy -- which uses heat and energy created by ultrasound to tighten the skin. The treatment has become increasingly popular because it's non-invasive, with minimal downtime. But Kong says it does have limitations, in this case the fat underneath the chin.

"What the Ultherapy wouldn't be able to do is reduce fat. The inside-out neck lift could help with that," says Kong.

Instead of treating the entire face and neck, Kong tightens skin from Schrader's hairline to her jawline with the Ultherapy. Then she begins removing the fat with the help of a laser that heats areas underneath the chin, also promoting collagen growth.

"And then, with the collagen production, the skin would be tighter and gradually one would have a nice contour of the neck," she explains.

Unlike Ultherapy alone, patients who have the combination neck lift must wear a compression pack under the chin area for several days, but can return to most of their normal activities in about a week. Still, the trade-off for Schrader is both tighter skin on her face and the thinner look around her neck she's been looking for.

"If I'm in a photo to not worry about how this area looks, I think that would feel great," says Schrader.

The neck lift part of the procedure also includes liposuction, which can cause minor side effects such as bruising.

Written and produced by Tim Didion
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