Definition, Consultation, and Risks
N eck Lift is one of the most common cosmetic surgeries. This procedure aims to remove excess skin and fat in the neck. If you want to remove neck wrinkles and creases and make your neck skin smoother, it may be the right option for you. Neck lift procedures can improve your facial profile significantly.
Figure 1 – A jawline clean-up. Subcutaneous fat excision improved the jowls. Excess subcutaneous and subplatysmal neck fat was also removed, and dense perihyoid fascia was released, followed by a corset platysmaplasty and a chin implant. (Left) Preoperative photograph. (Right) Postoperative photograph at 3 years. Feldman, J. J. (2014).
What Is a Neck Lift?
A neck lift consists of several procedures to improve the overall appearance of the neck. In medical terms, it is called submental lipectomy or lower rhytidectomy. (1)
The procedure or combination of procedures you are going to have depends on the results you want to achieve.
Before mentioning the list of procedures that can be included in a neck lift, it is worth mentioning that neck contouring can be included in a facelift procedure. However, if you are happy with the overall appearance of your face, it can be done separately. (2, 3)
Neck lift procedures can include one or more of the following:
- Addressing and removing excess skin (cervicoplasty).
- Altering and/or removing neck muscles or (platysmaplasty).
- Removing excess fat (Liposuction)
- Botox Injections for addressing fullness problems.
- Kybella injections to remove excess fat underneath the chin.
- Lasers, Ultrasound, Fillers, Radiofrequency, Intense Pulsed Light, and many other neck lifting techniques.
Why Would You Get a Neck Lift?
Your surgeon will discuss everything with you in advance. Before this meeting, your goals should be clear. (4)
The most common problems addressed with a neck lift procedure include turkey wattle neck and excess fat and skin.
Of course, you need to be healthy to undergo a neck lift procedure.
Neck Lift Consultation
During the consultation with your surgeon, both of you should go over the goals of the procedure and get a full picture of the available options.
Of course, one of the main topics you should cover is the risks and side effects of the procedure in addition to the expected results. For example:
- Turkey Wattle: This procedure includes making small cuts underneath your chin, behind your neck, or maybe both to have access to the platysma, which is a neck muscle. This procedure may even involve removing part of the muscle. Both local and general anesthesia can be used. (5,6)
- Botox Injections: Botox can be used in addition to Turkey Wattle or instead of it. Botox injections Botox helps to relax the platysma, which is responsible for the fullness or band appearance. (7)
- Liposuction: During the liposuction procedure, a small cut will be done below your chin and remove excess fat. In addition, if you are going to undergo more than one procedure, your surgeon will probably start with liposuction. After finishing, your surgeon will stitch and bandage the incisions. Therefore, it is crucial to follow your doctor’s instructions after the procedure to take care of the procedure properly. (8, 9)
- Excessive Neck Skin: Certain parts of the neck skin may be trimmed. The neck skin will be lifted into place and secured by stitches or tissue glue.
After the procedure, you will probably wear a compression bandage for about a week. (10, 11)
Figure 2 – Removal of just a little upper midline subplatysmal fat to flatten the submental plane, followed by corset platysmaplasty. The jowls were treated by open lipectomy. A combined face and neck lift. A chin implant was not used. (Left) Preoperative photograph. (Right) Postoperative photograph taken at 1 year.
How to Be Prepared for a Neck Lift?
Certain medications and supplements must be avoided before the procedure to minimize the risk of excessive bleeding.
During the history-taking visit, provide your doctor with your entire medical history including any drug allergies. Also, some people might be allergic to anesthesia, which is very rare.
If you are a smoker, you should completely quit smoking for two months; 1 before the procedure and 1 after. Avoiding smoking is essential for the proper healing of your incisions.
Also, consuming healthy foods before and after the procedure may enhance the healing process.
In addition, you may need to take some time off from your work after the procedure. Ask your doctor how much time you need before going back to work. Mostly, you should take a week off, but sometimes, more time may be needed.
You should prepare your home as well. Create a recovery area at your home that includes:
- Ice packs, towels, and gauze.
- Comfortable clothes.
- Antibacterial ointment and other medications that are prescribed by your doctor.
- A telephone. You may be lying or sitting most of the time so keep it in your reaching distance.
- It is highly recommended to get ones that keep your head in a comfortable position all the time.
- Someone should help you during at least the first 24 hours after the procedure. It would be better if he/she can stay with you until full recovery.
On the surgery day, it is better to wear loose, comfortable clothing. Wear something that would not require pulling over your neck and head.
Figure 3 – Multiple subplatysmal modifications were made, including a subplatysmal lipectomy, suprahyoid fascia release, anterior digastric muscle release, and partial resection of concealed and malpositioned submandibular salivary glands, followed by a corset platysmaplasty. Without the gland trim, visible bulges would have appeared after surgery. Excess subcutaneous and jawline fat was also removed under direct vision. A combined face and neck lift. A chin implant not used. (Left) Preoperative photograph. (Right) Postoperative photograph taken at 1 year
Neck Lift Risks
For the first few weeks after the procedure, you will experience many side effects, which are all normal. For example:
- Bruising and swelling for several days.
- The tightness and/or tingling sensations.
- Other sensations such as pulling, numbness, or burning.
The risk of infection is possible in all surgeries. Therefore, you should take your temperature regularly. If there is a fever or an unusual discharge, you must contact your doctor immediately.
Other risks associated with neck lift procedures include:
- Permanent scarring.
- Permanent numbness.
- Hair loss along the incisions.
- Skin loss.
- Skin discoloration or puckering.
It is highly recommended to find an experienced surgeon who has done the procedure you are going to undergo several times. If any of these side effects occurred, you will not be satisfied with the results. (12)
Recovery after a Neck Lift Procedure
The healing process after neck lift procedures takes time. If your work does not involve too much physical activity, you can return to it in 10 to 14 days. However, you may want to stay longer if you are physically active, you may need to wait for 3 to 4 weeks. The more time you give to the healing process, the better the results will be. (13)
Neck Lift Cost
In general, most health insurance policies do not cover cosmetic surgeries. However, in some cases, they do.
Ask your health insurance company whether they can cover the costs of the procedure or not. If the procedure will help you to correct an existing medical condition, it may be covered by insurance. Your doctor can help you by writing a letter that includes all the details of your condition.
Neck lift procedures can cost more than $5,000 depending on the procedure and the level of your surgeon’s experience.
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