A neck lift removes loose skin and excess fat from the neck to create a stronger contour and more youthful appearance. In patients who have lost a considerable amount of weight, this procedure treats the hanging skin that can sometimes resemble a “turkey neck”. It also removes localized fat pockets and softens the appearance of wrinkles and lines. Skin tightening is the primary technique used during this surgery. However, liposuction is often a part of the process. Patients with thick necks will require the removal of the subcutaneous fat layer as well as the tissue beneath the neck muscle.
A neck lift will address several issues including the removal of excess fat, the trimming of hanging skin and the tightening of loose skin around the underlying neck muscles. An incision is made under the chin, and in some cases, behind or in front of the ears. If fat removal is part of this surgery, liposuction will be the first step. Next, the neck muscles (platysma) are pulled tight and the overlying skin is stretched and re-draped to achieve the desired definition. Sutures are placed deep within the neck wall and a drain may be inserted to control bleeding.
A neck lift is considered an outpatient procedure, performed under general anesthesia at an accredited surgical facility. This surgery typically takes 2 hours to complete, but that will vary by surgical case. After surgery, there will be some bruising and swelling. Patients will feel tightness and a pulling sensation as the neck adjusts to its new position. Most patients are able to return to work within 7-10 days. It can take several months for the optimal results to appear and for the neck to look and feel natural.
Loose skin within the neck is a distinct flaw that can only be removed through surgery. Unfortunately, this is the only true way to redefine a person’s neck and add the necessary definition needed to improve the contour and profile.
A neck lift does require an incision under the chin and near the ears. However, these are placed inconspicuously (within the hairline on the ears and under the chin) so looking straight ahead you will not see them. We make every effort during surgery to minimize visible scarring as much as possible.
Individuals in their 20s and 30s may benefit from a neck lift, especially those who have experienced a massive weight loss or have a hereditary defect of the neck. Patients in their 60s and 70s often undergo a neck lift to cosmetically treat the visible signs of aging.
Some patients will have issues with their neck, but these problems may actually be the result of a “weak chin.” Without the proper support of the chin bone, the neck isn’t able to have a defined contour. A chin implant (genioplasty or mentoplasty) may be recommended to reshape the chin and make it wider or more prominent. This can have a great impact on the neck for many patients. This surgery is considered a reconstructive procedure and requires the skill of an experienced surgeon. A neck lift may still be needed once the chin has been corrected.