What is a Neck Lift?
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 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.
What neck lift surgery won’t do
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.
Neck lift procedure steps
A neck lift procedure includes the following steps:
- Anesthesia – Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
- The Incision – 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 re-draped 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.
- Closing the Incisions – Incision lines are closed with sutures and perhaps skin glue. 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.
- See the Results – 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.
Preparing for neck lift surgery
In preparing for neck lift surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Special instructions you receive will cover:
- What to do on the night before and morning of surgery
- The use of anesthesia during your neck lift
- Post-operative care and follow-up
A neck lift will be performed in an accredited hospital. Since your neck lift will be performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.