Neck Lift

What is a neck lift?

A neck lift, or lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the jawline and neck.

What neck lift surgery can treat

• Excess fat and skin relaxation in the lower face that creates jowls

• Excess fatty deposits under the chin

• Loose neck skin

• Muscle banding in the neck, which created abnormal contours

The loss of youthful contours in the face and neck can be due to a variety of factors, including heredity, gravity, environmental conditions and stress.

Some people feel they are not ready for a full facelift because the upper face is still pleasing. However, many patients will note excess wrinkling of the neck skin, a double chin or "turkey wattle" and jowl lines.

When the neck area doesn't match the upper facial appearance, a neck lift may be a good solution.

Rejuvenation procedures that can be performed in conjunction with a neck lift are: a brow lift, to correct a sagging or deeply furrowed brow, fat transfer, to add fullness to the lips and cheeks and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, or eyelid surgery, to rejuvenate aging eyes.

What neck lift surgery can't do

As a restorative surgery, a neck lift does not change your fundamental appearance and cannot stop the aging process.

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 and complement the results of surgery.

Neck lift cost

Neck lift surgery costs can vary widely. The average fee referenced above does not include anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses.

A surgeon's neck lift price may be based on his or her experience, the type of procedure used and the geographic office location.

Neck lift costs may include:

• Anesthesia fees

• Hospital or surgical facility costs

• Medical tests

• Post-surgery garments

• Prescriptions for medication

• Surgeon's fee

When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for a neck lift, remember that the surgeon's experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.

Neck lift candidates

In general, good candidates for a neck lift include:

• Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that impair healing

• Nonsmokers

• Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic expectations

Some people feel they are not ready for a full facelift because the upper face is still pleasing. However, many patients will note excess wrinkling of the neck skin, a double chin or "turkey wattle" and jowl lines.

When the neck area doesn't match the upper facial appearance, a neck lift may be a good solution

Neck lift recovery

During your recovery from neck lift surgery, a bandage could gently be placed around your face and neck to minimize swelling and bruising when your procedure is completed.

A thin tube may be present to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect under the skin.

You will be given specific instructions that may include how to care for the surgical site and drains, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health and when to follow up with your surgeon.

It is important to keep your head elevated above your heart to minimize swelling and to keep your head straight (no excessive twisting or bending of the neck). DO NOT APPLY ICE to the neck as this can compromise blood flow and result in skin death.

Be sure to ask your neck lift surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period:

• Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?

• What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?

• Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?

• When will they be removed?

• Are stitches removed? When?

• When is it safe for me to drive?

• When can I resume normal activity and exercise?

• When do I return for follow-up care?

Neck lift results

As you begin to evaluate your neck lift results, please remember that it may take several weeks to months for swelling to fully dissipate and up to six months for incision lines to mature.

Life-long sun protection and a healthy lifestyle will help extend the results of your rejuvenated, more youthful appearance.

As swelling and bruising subside, the visible improvements of a neck lift appear. Your final result should not only provide a more youthful and rested appearance, but also help you feel more confident about yourself.

Although good results are expected from your procedure, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.

Following your surgeon's instructions is essential to the success of your surgery.

It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. Avoid wearing any clothing that must go over your head. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.

Neck lift risks and safety

The decision to have a neck lift is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals, and if the risks and potential complications of a neck lift are acceptable.

You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.

Neck lift surgery risks include:

• Anesthesia risks

• Bleeding

• Temporary or permanent hair loss along the incisions

• Facial asymmetry

• Rare nerve injury that could cause weakness of the lower lip

• Fluid accumulation (hematoma)

• Infection

• Unfavorable scarring

• Prolonged swelling

• Skin irregularities and discoloration

• Skin loss

• Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation and require removal

• Numbness or other changes in skin sensation

• Persistent pain

• Poor wound healing

• Rare risk of deep venous thrombosis with cardiac or pulmonary sequelae

• Unsatisfactory results which may require revisional surgery

These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your surgeon

Your neck lift consultation

During your neck lift surgery consultation be prepared to discuss:

• Your surgical goals

• Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments

• Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use

• Previous surgeries

Your neck lift surgeon will also:

• Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors

• Discuss your rejuvenation options

• Examine and measure your face

• Take photographs

• Recommend a course of treatment

• Discuss likely outcomes of a neck lift and any risks or potential complications

• Discuss the type of anesthesia that will be used

Be sure to ask questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask surgeon that you can take with you to your consultation.

It's very important to understand all aspects of your neck lift. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon

Preparing for neck lift surgery

In preparing for neck lift surgery, you may be asked to:

• Get lab testing or a medical evaluation

• Take certain medications or adjust your current medications

• Stop smoking

• Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

Special instructions you receive will cover:

• What to do on the night before and morning of surgery

• The use of anesthesia during your neck lift

• Post-operative care and follow-up

A neck lift may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, licensed ambulatory surgical center or a hospital. Since your neck lift will be performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery