Can My Prominent Thyroid Cartilage Be Reduced After My Facelift?

Q: Dr. Eppley,  Hi. I read article you wrote online.  I had a “lifestyle lift” six weeks ago.  I had a mild turkey neck. After surgery I had a significant swelling in my mid neck bilaterally.  Now much of the swelling is reduced but my previously unseen thyroid cartilage is now revealed. (I am a woman.) In your experience does this ever go away or will I need revision?  Thanks so much for any help you can offer.

A:  Unmasking of the thyroid cartilage would suggest that you had a very good midline pull and recontouring from the Lifestyle Lift procedure. I don’t know whether you had platysmal muscle plication or not (you would know if there is an incision under the chin), but the lateral pull of the skin and the defatting of a platysmal separation and its reapproximation can create a very improved cervicomental angle. These standard facelift maneuvers can occasionally make the outlines of the thyroid cartilage evident, particularly in the thin patient with little subcutaneous fat.

There is no way to undo the lift to camouflage the thyroid cartilage again. Continued aging will eventually cover up the thyroid cartilage again bit that is obviously going to take time and there is no guarantee that it will do so. An alternative suggestion is to do a simple thyroid cartilage reduction (tracheal shave). This is a common procedure to reduce the jutting and prominent thyroid cartilage.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana