A neck lift is a cosmetic procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the jawline and neck. The surgery removes excess skin and fat around your jawline and tightens the underlying muscles, creating a more defined and youthful-looking neck. It also improves and sharpens the contour of the jawline. A neck lift is often done as part of a facelift. It may also be a stand-alone procedure.
What a Neck Lift Can Treat
Loose neck skin
Excess fat and skin relaxation in the lower face that creates jowls
Excess fatty deposits under the chin
Muscle banding in the neck, which has created abnormal contours
What a Neck Lift Cannot Do
A neck lift cannot stop the aging process and does not change your fundamental appearance.
A neck lift can only be performed surgically; nonsurgical rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results, but may help delay the time at which a neck lift becomes appropriate.
Who is a Good Candidate for Neck Lift Surgery?
Good candidates for a neck lift include:
Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that impair healing
Those with a positive outlook and realistic expectations
Those who have sagging and/or wrinkling of the neck and a loss of separation between the neck and chin or jaw
In some instances, a neck lift may not be appropriate, such as:
having unrealistic expectations of the procedure
lacking skin laxity in the neck
You cannot take the time off that is necessary for full recovery
Neck Lift Procedure
A neck lift can be performed either under sedation and local anesthesia or general anesthesia. During the procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions around and behind your ears, and a very small one under the chin. He removes excess skin and fat and lifts the muscles of the neck carefully, then closes the incisions and applies a dressing around your head and underneath the chin.
Depending on the degree of lifting required, your neck lift choices include a traditional neck lift incision or a limited incision neck lift.
The traditional neck lift incision begins in front of the earlobe and loops under and behind the ear and ends in the scalp towards the back of the neck. A separate incision under the chin is often necessary for liposuction of the jaw line and beneath the chin and for repairing the muscle.
A limited incision neck lift may involve incisions only around the ear. In this type of neck lift, while the incisions are shorter, the results may be more limited.
After making incisions, excess skin is carefully trimmed away and removed. Tissue and skin are repositioned and secured. In the case of a suspension lift, the surgeon will use some sort of sutures, mesh, or other materials in the deeper layers of the skin and muscles. This creates a sort of hammock to suspend and hold the tissues in their new position.
At the end, the surgeon closes the incisions with sutures and, if needed, he places drains before bandaging the wounds. 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.
The visible improvements of a neck lift appear as swelling and bruising subside. Final result of this surgery should not only restore a more youthful and rested appearance, but also help you feel more confident about yourself.
Recovering from a neck lift takes several weeks. You will receive close follow-up care and specific instructions to ensure proper healing. You might be given medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection and can return to work and resume activities in 10 to 14 days. However, for the first several weeks after surgery, you should avoid bending over, lifting heavy objects, and even turning your head from side to side.
It is important to keep your head elevated above your heart to minimize swelling. You might need to wear a special garment that compresses your neck and helps minimize swelling. You should not apply ice to the neck as this can compromise blood flow and result in skin death. If you participate in sports or are physically active, you will have to wait three weeks or more to resume those activities. You should give yourself time to heal to get the most benefit from the procedure.
Please remember that it might take several weeks to months for swelling and bruising to fully disappear and up to six months for your incision lines to fade. In the meantime, be careful to protect your skin from the sun and excessive abrasion or motion. Life-long sun protection and a healthy lifestyle will help extend the results of your rejuvenated, more youthful appearance.
The visible improvements of a neck lift appear as swelling and bruising subside. Your final result should not only provide a more youthful and rested appearance, but also help you feel more confident about yourself.
Risks & Complications
Neck lift surgery risks include:
Excessive bleeding or hematoma
Skin loss (tissue death)
Rare nerve injury that could cause weakness of the lower lip