What is a Neck Lift?
A neck lift is a focused surgical rejuvenation procedure that improves the contour of the neck and re-establishes the jaw/neckline. The procedure improves jowling, relieves extensive banding in the neck and addresses excess volume or fat accumulation in the neck. It also improves wrinkling in the neck and gives a much more youthful appearance to the face.
Who is a Good Candidate for Neck Lift?
The best candidates for this procedure are in their 30’s and early 40’s. Patients older than this often have mid-face laxity and benefit from a more typical facelift or a short incision neck lift. The neck lift is particularly good for patients who have excess volume in the neck and have lost the definition of the jawline. It may often be combined with a chin implant to establish a more sharply defined jawline and chin/neck transition.
How is Neck Lift Performed?
The procedure is performed in a day surgery center, either under sedation or general anesthesia. It takes approximately two hours to perform. The incisions are made most frequently just by a crease behind the chin that allows volume to be corrected and the banding in the neck to be tightened. Most often this is combined with an incision that starts by the earlobe and extends behind the ear to the hairline behind the ear. After the incisions are made, the tissues are redraped. The muscles and tissue layers are tightened to give a more lasting result.
A bandage is applied to the chin/neck area overnight and is removed the following day in the office. The discomfort patients experience is usually very mild to moderate.
How Long Until I See the Results?
The results are apparent as early as the day after surgery. However there is often swelling and moderate bruising that is evident for ten days or so, which can be nicely covered with make-up.
How can I Speed the Recovery?
We find that patients who work with our aesthetician pre-operatively and post-operatively can expedite their recovery. The aesthetician can help encourage lymphatic drainage and use other techniques to reduce swelling and expedite the return to normal activities.
What is the Downtime after Surgery?
We anticipate that patients can start working out at about one week and resume all the normal activities by two weeks. The sutures are removed one week after surgery. The results are very lasting in nature, but as with all soft tissue surgery, the tissues will relax over time, and some refinements may be necessary for the future.
What are the Risks?
The potential risks include some numbness at the surgical site. We find this to be almost uniformly the case, but the potential for persisting numbness is an exceedingly rare event. There is always some swelling in the area after surgery. Patients can usually feel some bumpiness for several weeks after surgery. The incidence of persistent bumpiness is extremely uncommon. Infection is a potential, but again extremely rare. We have never seen it in our practice with a neck lift. If a chin implant is included with the neck lift there may be some numbness along the chin area as well, and the chin is likely to appear too large for the first ten days or so.
The most common adverse outcome is to develop a hematoma, which is a collection of fluid that occurs in the neck. On occasion, this may require a return visit to the operating room to evacuate the fluid. Even if this rare complication occurs, its treatment does not alter the outcome and aesthetic benefit for the patient. We have found that many patients who come in seeking a neck lift do benefit from liposuction and/or a chin implant in addition to the original surgery. Some patients, if they have considerable laxity, may actually benefit more from a face/neck lift rather than just a neck lift alone.