Patients who are very happy with the results of facelift sometimes begin to notice the discordant state of their neck skin. While the face projects an image of youthfulness and vitality, your neck may be revealing your true age. Loose, wrinkled neck skin presents a noticeable contrast with a refreshed facial appearance.
When this happens, neck lift may be the solution. Below, experienced Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Charles S. Lee, MD, discusses when neck lift is appropriate, the surgical techniques used, and various non-surgical options.
Who Is a Candidate for Neck Lift
Genetics and lifestyle play a role in determining when and how quickly your neck will begin to show signs of aging. If you were born with skin that lacks flexibility and resilience, you may develop neck skin that sags, creates folds or hangs loosely. This is especially true in the case of patients who have lost a great deal of weight: skin that lacks suppleness will not shrink sufficiently to conform to the reduced volume of a slimmer neck.
Procedure Details: Targeting Skin, Fat and Muscle
Neck lift may involve liposuction, cervicoplasty or platysmaplasty. Liposuction removes fat, cervicoplasty eliminates excess skin and platysmaplasty goes even deeper by tightening or excising neck muscles. In most cases these procedures can be performed endoscopically, which reduces scarring and typically can be done as an outpatient procedure with a local anesthetic.
For liposuction, a small incision is made below the chin, and fat is suctioned out through a thin, hollow tube. With cervicoplasty, skin is cut and lifted after incisions are made under the chin and behind the ears. The skin is permanently held taut with special sutures. Platysmaplasty is indicated when sagging neck muscles create a “banded” appearance. During this surgery, Dr. Lee will tighten, realign and sometimes remove a portion of the particular neck muscles that have lost integrity. As with cervicoplasty, permanent sutures will keep the muscles taut and smooth.
Neck Lift Recovery
For each of these procedures, you can expect swelling and a bruised appearance for up to 10 days. Feelings of tightness, tingling, pulling and numbness are typical, but temporary. Once your surgical bandage is removed, usually the day after surgery, you will wear a special compression garment around the neck in the evening for two weeks or more. You should be able to return to work in about two weeks, and your final result will emerge in three to six months.
There are several popular non-surgical techniques used in place of neck lift, or sometimes to complement it. CoolSculpting and Kybella can be effective ways to thin the subcutaneous fat layer in the neck, and fractional laser resurfacing, high-frequency ultrasound and targeted radiofrequency energy can noticeably tighten neck skin for some patients.
To learn more about ways to improve the appearance of the neck, schedule a personal consultation with Charles S. Lee, MD, or contact the Beverly Hills office of Enhance® Medical Center today.