Neck Lift surgery is a very powerful procedure that can significantly improve the signs of aging and create a more rejuvenated, youthful appearance. Over the course of time, build up of fatty tissue under the neck, weakness and stretching of the platysma muscle, along with loose excess skin can create a “turkey neck.” Weakness of structural support in the lower face with loose skin due to the normal aging process can create “jowling” which refers to the excess tissue drooping over the jaw line, creating a blunted, ill-defined appearance of the jaw. Other patients complain of a blunted, obtuse angle of the neck or muscle banding that can cause an abnormal neck contour. The goal of the neck lift surgery is to restore the normal contours and angles of the neck by strengthening the underlying structures and muscles along with excision of the excess fatty tissue and loose skin. This is a procedure that can have dramatic results and significantly turn back the hands of time. After surgery, patients state they appear years younger, feel refreshed and renewed with an increase in self-image.
Depending on the degree of laxity, a neck lift can be performed in different ways. Patients who present with minimal skin laxity and only complaints of a bulge or excess fatty tissue under the neck, can be treated by simple Liposuction. Others patients complain of significant fatty tissue as well as loosening and weakness of the underlying platysma muscle that can create a blunted, flattened look to the neck. These patients are treated with a small incision under the chin, which allows direct access to the structures. Excess fat is excised and the platysma muscle is tightened with sutures. This is also the treatment for bands noted in the neck.
Many patients present with excess skin, weakened platysma muscle, and increased fatty tissue. These are the typical “turkey neck” patients. A small incision is placed under the chin to directly excise the excess fatty tissue and tighten the platysma muscle as mentioned above. An additional incision in created behind the ear to tighten and remove the excess skin. This creates an improved contour of the neck, giving a sharper more youthful appearance. Small drains are placed on each side of the face that are removed the following day.
Patients often complain about “jowling” in which the loose tissue from the lower face droops over the jawline, creating a flat, blunted look. This issue can be corrected with a Facelift procedure.
During your consultation, Dr. Tsai will present you with all the possible options in detail and work with you to individualize treatment according to your specific goals and expectations to provide you with the best possible result. If you desire other areas of face rejuvenation, this procedure is often combined with Browlift, Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) or Facelift. There is also a non-invasive option for Skin treatments performed in the adjacent medical spa or at the same time as surgery.
The Neck Lift procedure typically takes around 2 hours to complete. Surgery is performed under general anesthesia (fully asleep) in the adjacent surgicenter. Patients return home the same day as the procedure so transportation will need to be arranged. Your first checkup will be the following day in clinic. Advice is given to sleep at an upright angle in bed for 48-72 hours to decrease swelling and bruising to the neck. Ice packs are also recommended for the first 24 hours, on and off. There may be bruising to the lower face and neck region, but this is normal and will resolve over the next several days. Drains are removed the day after surgery. Patients usually return to normal daily activities within a few days. Pain is tolerated with prescribed oral pain medication. Exercise is resumed approximately 6-8 weeks after the procedure.
As with many other delicate procedures, active smoking is a serious contraindication for a neck lift. The nicotine creates spasms and constriction of the blood vessels, and after such a fragile surgery, could potentially lead to wound healing problems. However, if smoking and nicotine use is stopped 4 weeks before and continued 4 weeks after surgery, then this procedure may be performed safely. If you have high blood pressure, it is important to note that the number one complication in this surgery is hematoma or a blood collection. Having your blood pressure controlled and optimized will significantly decrease the risk of the possibility of this complication. Dr. Tsai will review your medical history and help optimize your health before surgery in order to perform the procedure in a safe manner so you obtain the results you desire and deserve.