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, such as:
- 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 “turkey wattle” or double chin, 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 won’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; non-surgical 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 risks and safety information
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
- Temporary or permanent hair loss along the incisions
- Facial asymmetry
- Rare nerve injury that could cause weakness of the lower lip
- Fluid accumulation (hematoma)
- 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 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.
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