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If the eyes are the first place people begin to show their age, then the neck is arguably the second. Vertical banding, horizontal creases, fatty jowls, the dreaded “turkey-wattle,” and a crepe-y quality to the skin can all work together to make an individual look older. Neck lift surgery (the medical term is platysmaplasty, named for the platysma muscles that run along the front of the neck) tightens the skin and the underlying muscles to lift the neck as well as improve and sharpen the contour of the jawline. The surgery is often performed in conjunction with a facelift, but may also be done as a stand-alone procedure.
Understanding the Surgery
A small incision is made under the chin and possibly in front of and/or behind the ears — to allow access to the neck muscles and any fat in the neck. The neck muscles can then be tightened and any excess fat removed. The surgeon may choose to remove the fat with liposuction or by cutting it out. The incisions near the ears also allow for removal of some excess skin. Once the muscle has been tightened and any excess fat removed, the skin is re-draped over the neck and the incisions are closed.
The procedure lasts about two to three hours. If the patient is having a neck lift in conjunction with liposuction, facelift, forehead lift, or other surgeries, the time will vary accordingly.
What To Expect Afterwards
After surgery, a pressure dressing is wrapped around the head and underneath the chin. The neck will feel tight and sore as the anesthesia wears off, and may show even more swelling and possible bruising over the next three days. Dressings may be removed after just a few days, but the sutures will remain in place for 5 to 7 days.
Most patients can return to non-strenuous work after 5 to 10 days. However, for the first several weeks after surgery, patients should avoid bending over, lifting heavy objects, and even turning their head from side to side. They will also have to sleep with the head elevated for one week.
Is a Neck Lift Right for You?
The neck is an area that can show early signs of aging and is susceptible to losing its taut and smooth look through aging, sun damage, and weight gain and loss. Neck lift surgery can pull the neck skin so it’s tight again and can remove excess skin from the neck — to improve its overall appearance. It’s an excellent option for jowls, sagging skin under the chin and in the neck area, neck wrinkles (platysmal bands, or neck bands), and/or poor chin or jawline contours.
Individuals who are looking to reduce the signs of aging on their entire face should consider ancillary procedures like a facelift or fractional laser resurfacing. While neck lift procedures address the sagging and wrinkling of the neck, they do not address anything above the jaw line. Patients who are bothered by wrinkles around the lips or hollowed cheeks might consider a facelift that includes repositioning of the mid-face tissues. Dr. Moradzadeh can advise you on what combination of treatments will produce the most natural and consistent-looking results.