At Fante Eye and Face Center in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Fante has cheered many people who have come to him full of dismay at the way their face is behaving. One of his statements that cheers people most quickly is that it isn’t their face causing trouble, it’s their neck.
Our necks are one of the first areas on our body that show our age. This is because the skin on our necks generally has less fat under it to maintain a ‘plump’ look. For others, fat accumulates in the neck, adding to the appearance of “turkey neck”. And while many of us are very careful to exfoliate, moisturize, and apply sunblock to our faces, we often neglect our neck in this routine. For those who have lost significant amounts of weight, the neck is often one of the first areas to begin sagging.
Fortunately, a neck lift can restore the youthful appearance of skin in this area, getting rid of loose hanging skin, excess skin, fat or band lines.
What Is a Neck Lift?
Platysmaplasty, commonly known as Neck lift surgery, tightens sagging skin on the neck and improves muscle integrity and banding. This lifting of the neck creates a more youthful look by improving the jawline and removing a “turkey neck”.
A neck lift is often sought by people who are aware of disproportionate aging of the neck, or who have had facelift surgery and are noticing some recurrence of sagging neck skin. A neck lift doesn’t have any effect on the cheeks, although it will tighten your jawline.
Benefits of a Neck Lift
- The incisions are smaller than those for a full facelift
- It’s a good procedure to correct the effects of gravity, sun exposure, and aging at the neck when they are more noticeable or more bothersome than the aging of the face
- Most often, it’s done for people between the ages of 40 and 60, but can be done very successfully for people much older
Am I a Good Candidate for a Neck Lift?
Most patients who wish to improve the appearance of their neck can do so with neck lift surgery. Candidates should be over 30 years old and in good general health. It is important to have realistic expectations after surgery, as a neck lift should not be confused with a full facelift.
Patients who wish to get rid of submental fullness but are not candidates for a neck lift should consider Kybella.
Real Patient Results After A Neck Lift
Can A Neck Lift Be Combined With Other Procedures?
Neck lift surgery can be performed alone or in conjunction with other procedures. Most commonly, eyelid surgery is often done with a neck lift since many people notice aging changes in both places at once. It can also be done in conjunction with other procedures such as:
- Chemical peels
- Laser skin resurfacing
- Liposuction underneath the chin, where a pad of fat tends to grow as we age
- Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)
- Chin implants, which give the lower face more bony definition and often improve the profile of the neck as well
You can ask Dr. Fante about combinations you’d like to have, and discuss the possibilities before anything is done.
Neck Lift Procedure
A neck lift is an outpatient procedure. You can go home the same day, so make arrangements ahead of time for somebody to drive you home.
First, an incision is made inside the front of each ear. It runs below the ear and then behind it. Another incision is usually needed just below the chin.
From there, the skin is lifted up and back toward the ear, and anchored with sutures. At this time, the neck muscles are tightened and excess skin is removed, leaving the repositioned skin looking and feeling youthfully firm and snug.
Sometimes special stitches called suspension sutures are placed under the skin; they run up behind the ear and help keep the neck tissue lifted. Because of the positioning of the incisions, scars are typically well hidden.
With today’s advanced surgical technology, neck lifts can be performed endoscopically, using instruments that visually guide Dr. Fante through the procedure. Endoscopic procedures all the use of smaller incisions, reducing the need for general anesthesia. This means less bruising and a faster recovery process for you.
Neck Lift Before and After
Is Anesthesia Used for a Neck Lift?
A neck lift can be done with either a local anesthetic combined with some IV sedation, or with general anesthesia. Dr. Fante will discuss this with you.
Recovery After Neck Lift Surgery
Dr. Fante will give you written instructions for your recovery period after you have a neck lift. He’ll also prescribe an antibiotic for a short period and a pain medication.
Your lower face and upper neck will be wrapped in dressings and in a spandex garment when you leave the surgery center. It is recommended that you use ice packs for the first day or two and rest at home. While you are home, you don’t need to stay in bed all the time but you should avoid showering and washing your hair for two days after surgery.
You’ll be asked to wear the spandex neck garment, and to sleep with your head elevated, for the first week. Use pillows to prevent your head from turning while you sleep. You should avoid vigorous physical activity such as prolonged bending, heavy lifting, and sexual activity, for at least 2 weeks. In addition, use alcohol only sparingly for the first two weeks.
Don’t use any of these things for 3 weeks:
- Tobacco products (including nicotine gum and patches)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents
- Vitamin E
Most people return to work after 10 to 14 days.
How Soon Will I See Results After A Neck Lift Procedure?
The final results after a neck lift procedure may not be apparent for several months as swelling and bruising go down. After you recover, you’ll look more youthful and rested. Gradually as you continue to age over the next few years, the tissues will relax. You’ll look better than you would have without the surgery for about 10 years.
Is A Neck Lift Painful?
There’s usually not much pain after neck lift surgery but you’ll be given a prescription for pain medication just in case. There will be some swelling and bruising which will subside within the first few weeks and meanwhile can be concealed with special camouflage makeup.
Most people feel a little tired but pretty well overall, and can take a walk or go out (perhaps with sunglasses and a hat!) within the first few days – be patient with yourself!
How to: Camouflage Post Surgery Bruising
Will There Be Any Scarring?
All incisions leave scars. The unknowns are: where will the scars be, how visible, and how large? For a neck lift, incisions are placed near the ears, so the small residual scars can be easily covered by your hair. If you have liposuction done under the chin, there’ll be a small incision there as well.
We’re all different when it comes to scarring, and it’s partly determined by our heredity. Some of us form small, faded scars rather easily. Others form larger, more pigmented scars. This is not easily predictable.
However, any over-large scars can be treated by minor follow-up surgery.
Dr. Fante makes the incisions as small as possible, and as discreetly placed as possible, for the best overall outcome for you. Each neck lift is individualized, and you can discuss scarring questions with Dr. Fante before any procedure is started.
Are There Any Risks Associated with Neck Lift Surgery?
All surgeries carry some risk or possible complications due to infection or reaction to anesthesia. Risks and complications after neck lift surgery are rare, buT patients should be aware of all possible outcomes. With a neck lift procedure, you may experience:
- Excess scar tissue
- Puckering of the skin
Most complications can be avoided by carefully following Dr. Fante‘s instructions for self-care, both before your neck lift and afterward. Dr. Fante would first explain your procedure to make sure you understood what to expect, before, during and after it. Neck lifts are not something to rush into in a semi-educated frame of mind.