A neck lift 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 facelift 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.
As a restorative surgery, a neck lift does not change your fundamental appearance and cannot stop the aging process.
A neck lift can only be performed surgically; non-surgical rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results, but may help delay the time at which a neck lift becomes appropriate and complement the results of surgery.
How is the Neck Lift Surgery?
A neck lift procedure begins with the incisions
Depending on the degree of change you’d like to see, your neck lift choices include a traditional neck lift incision or a limited incision neck lift.
A traditional neck lift incision often begins in the hairline at the level of the sideburn, continues down and around the ear and ends in the posterior hair. Fat may be sculpted or redistributed from the jowls and neck. The tissue underlying the neck skin is repositioned, and commonly the platysma muscle is tightened. Skin is redraped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is trimmed away. A separate incision under the chin is often necessary for liposuction of this area and for repair of the muscle. Sutures or skin adhesives close the incisions.
A limited incision neck lift may involve incisions only around the ear. While the incisions are shorter, the results may be more limited.
Incision lines are closed with sutures. Sutures may be dissolving, or may need to be removed after a few days. Once healed, the incision lines from a neck lift are usually well concealed within the hairline and in the natural contours of the ear. The visible improvements of a neck lift appear as swelling and bruising subside. Your final result should not only restore a more youthful and rested appearance, but also help you feel more confident about yourself.
Recovery after Neck Lifting
During your recovery from neck lift surgery, a bandage or corset could gently be placed around your face and neck to minimize swelling and bruising when your procedure is completed. A thin tube may be present to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect under the skin. You will be given specific instructions that may include how to care for the surgical site and drains, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon. It is important to keep your head elevated above your heart to minimize swelling and to keep your head straight (no excessive twisting or bending of the neck).