Neck Lift Surgery
A neck lift, or lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the jawline and neck, such as:
- Excess fat and skin relaxation in the lower face that creates jowls
- Excess fatty deposits under the chin
- Loose neck skin
- Muscle banding in the neck, which created abnormal contours
The loss of youthful contours in the face and neck can be due to a variety of factors, including heredity, gravity, environmental conditions, and stress. Some people feel they are not ready for a full face lift because the upper face is still pleasing. However, many patients will note excess wrinkling of the neck skin, a “turkey wattle” or double chin, and jowl lines. When the neck area doesn’t match the upper facial appearance, a neck lift may be a good solution.
Rejuvenation procedures that can be performed in conjunction with a neck lift are: a brow lift, to correct a sagging or deeply furrowed brow, fat transfer, to add fullness to the lips and cheeks and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, or eyelid surgery, to rejuvenate aging eyes.
How a Neck Lift Is Done ?
Typically, the procedure will last two to three hours. Of course, if you are having a neck lift in conjunction with liposuction, facelift, brow lift, or other surgeries, the time will vary accordingly. Your exact procedure will depend on your desired results and your own personal circumstances. In order to undergo a neck lift, you must be in good general health, both physically and mentally.
What do you dislike about your neck? Be honest with yourself! You're putting a lot of time and effort into researching the surgery, so make sure you get the results you want. You also should write down your thoughts on what you'd like to correct and have that with you at the time of your pre-operative consultation.
Here are some of the most common concerns:
Turkey Wattle; Weakened or Loose Neck Muscles
If you have weakened or loose neck muscles, this may cause the "turkey wattle" or appearance of neck "bands."
To correct this, your surgeon may recommend platysmaplasty surgery. The surgeon makes incisions under your chin and/or behind your ears to access the platysma (neck muscle) and manipulate it accordingly. Sometimes, that may even mean removing some muscle. Your surgeon may also use permanent sutures to hold the tissue in place.
There are new less invasive procedures, where your surgeon may be able to make smaller incisions and use an endoscope (small camera attached to a thin tube) to complete your surgery. Make sure you ask your surgeon for all your options during your consultation.
You and your surgeon will discuss what type of anesthesia to use, depending on your level of comfort. If you want to remain asleep during the procedure, you should request general anesthesia. Otherwise, your surgeon can use local anesthesia with sedation. It's up to you, however, to make that determination. Instead of surgery or in addition to it, Botox injections can relax parts of the platysma that are responsible for the "band" appearance or look of fullness. The injections are completed on an outpatient basis and typically can be completed within 15 minutes.
Excess fat in the neck area
During liposuction, your surgeon will make a small incision below the chin and remove the excess fat. If you are undergoing multiple procedures during your neck lift, it is very common for plastic surgeons to begin with liposuction.If this is the only procedure you'll need, you should plan to spend up to an hour undergoing the operation.
You will be able to determine this with your doctor during your pre-operative consultation. Your incisions will be stitched and bandaged. It's very important to follow your doctor's instructions on properly caring for the stitches and bandage in the days following surgery.
Too much skin in the neck area
Just like the platysmaplasty, your surgeon will make similar incisions for a cervicoplasty, trimming parts of the skin and lifting it into place. It will be secured with tissue glue or stitches. The cervicoplasty can be completed in about two to four hours, depending on the complexity of your procedure. Again, your anesthesia will depend on your own personal comfort level. Your surgeon will fit you with a compression bandage that you will have to wear for at least one week, unless instructed otherwise. It's important to follow his or her instructions to ensure proper recovery.
What is the expected recovery from a neck lift?
Recovery takes time and it's important that you're patient with the process. Most people can return to work in 10-14 days. If you participate in other sports or are physically active, you will have to wait at least three weeks, if not longer, to resume those activities. Don't rush! It's not worth it. You've put a lot of time and energy into making this happen, so make it worthwhile.
What are the complications and side effects of neck lift surgery?
You will have swelling and bruising that can last for several days. You may feel tightness or tingling, and different sensations including burning or pulling. You also will experience numbness. These are all very normal in the first few weeks following surgery and should not be cause for concern.
As with any surgery, you run the risk of infection. Please keep a watchful eye on your temperature. At the first sign of a fever, contact your doctor. If you have unusual discharge from the incision site, such as pus, contact your doctor immediately. Although it's very rare, you could have an allergic reaction to the anesthesia. That's why it's very important to disclose any drug allergies to your doctor in a pre-operative consultation.