Neck lift at a glance
- A neck lift is a series of cosmetic procedures that remove excess skin and tighten the area around the neck and lower portion of the cheek (jowls).
- All incision points are hidden along the hairline.
- Surgical results are long-lasting, up to 10 years.
What is a Neck Lift?
A neck lift is a cosmetic surgery that restores a youthful appearance and curves to the neck and jawline area. Neck lift is also known by the medical terms lower rhytidectomy or cervicoplasty.
The neck is sometimes a neglected portion of the body that shows signs of aging before the face and other body parts. Neck lifts offer the dramatic results of a youthful profile and smoother contours.
Age, heredity and environmental factors age the skin. Neck lift candidates may experience loose neck skin (turkey neck), muscle banding, excess chin tissue (double chin) or undesired fat and skin along the lower part of the cheek or jowls. Neck lifts are commonly, but not always, combined with additional cosmetic surgeries such as a brow lift or eyelid lift to provide more dramatic and comprehensive results.
Neck lift procedure
Neck lifts can be performed as either an inpatient or outpatient procedure and will depend on the surgical plan and doctor-patient preference. Following anesthesia, the surgeon makes incisions based on the type of neck lift to be performed.
During a traditional neck lift, the surgeon makes an incision along the hairline beginning alongside the ear and down around the ear ending at the bottom of the back scalp. The surgeon may then redistribute fat and tissue from the neck and lower cheek. The muscle that lines the side of the neck is typically tightened.
Depending on the specific surgical plan, the surgeon may perform liposuction at this time under the chin and then repair all affected muscles. Finally, the surgeon places sutures or skin adhesives to seal the incisions.
Generally performed to add more of an angular look to the jaw and neckline, a limited neck lift includes incisions only made around the lower ear. From these smaller incision points, the surgeon manipulates and stretches the neck muscles. The surgeon completes the procedure by closing the incisions. Limited neck lifts provide less dramatic and more limited results, but include much smaller incision scars.
Recovering from a neck lift
Patients will likely be bandaged up around their face and neck to help minimize swelling. The neck will feel tight, numb and show bruising immediately following surgery. Most patients return to work after 10 to14 days. Patients should wait a minimum of three weeks before returning to athletic activities.
While visible bruising should disappear within a week of surgery, patients may feel numbness and tightness for several months. The long-term results of the neck lift will be visible once all the bruising and swelling diminishes.
Risks and Considerations
As with any surgery, patients assume certain surgical risks, such as unexpected anesthesia reaction, bleeding or infection. Those undergoing a neck lift may in rare cases experience nerve injury, resulting a weak lower lip, facial asymmetry or changes in skin sensation and overall numbness. The neck may feel uncomfortably tight for months after the procedure.
Some patients may be unsatisfied with their personal results and may elect to undergo more surgical procedures. The results of a neck lift can be long lasting, but depends on post surgery care and the personal aging process.