As we age, the skin naturally starts to lose collagen and elastin and begins to sag. This is part of the normal aging process. For many people, saggy skin of the neck can be a particular problem, and can lead to self-esteem issues for some. Loose skin under the chin is sometimes referred to as the “Turkey Wattle”—certainly not a very attractive name. In addition to aging causing the skin to sag, it can also sag due to weight loss, because the skin has not yet had a chance to tighten up to the newer, more slender shape. However, the most common reason for early signs of loose, saggy skin on the neck is simply due to genetics. For some people, droopy skin on the neck is almost completely unavoidable simply due to their predetermined genetic appearance. Thankfully, there is a cosmetic procedure known as neck lift surgery that can eliminate the loose, saggy skin and restore a tight, youthful appearance of the neck.
Neck Lift Performed by Dr. Cruise in Conjunction with Rhinoplasty and Chin Implant
What Exactly is Neck Lift Surgery?
A neck lift refers to a plastic surgery procedure that reshapes and tones the skin of the neck to give it a smoother, younger looking appearance. A neck lift can be performed in a variety of ways, but most often, it will entail some liposuction to remove any excess fat in the region. Then, the doctor will cut away the excess skin, as well as tighten up the neck muscles. The main goals of the neck lift surgery are to:
- Remove excess fat (liposuction)
- Remove excess skin (cervicoplasty)
- Tighten neck muscles (platysmplasty)
How is the Neck Lift Performed?
Neck lift surgery typically takes two to three hours, but if you have other surgeries performed with it such as a brow lift or face lift, which are often performed together, then it will of course take longer. A neck lift is an outpatient procedure, meaning you usually do not have to stay overnight, and it can performed under general or local anesthesia, usually local.
The newest technique of performing a neck lift involves using a device called an endoscope. During and endoscopic neck lift, your surgeon will be able to use smaller incisions and will use an endoscope, a thin tube with a tiny camera on the end, to assist him during the surgery. Be sure to discuss the option of an endoscopic neck lift with your doctor.
Removal of Excess Fat (Liposuction)
During the first phase of the neck lift, the doctor will often perform liposuction by inserting a small, hollow tube called a cannula to suck out excess fat from the neck area. You may not necessarily need liposuction for your neck lift, but most patients opt to have it done. The incision is typically made below the chin.
Removal of Excess Skin (Cervicoplasty)
This is the second phase of the neck lift procedure. The removal of excess skin is the most important part of the neck lift. For this part, the doctor will make an incision under the chin and/or behind the ears. Once the incision has been made, the doctor will then tight and lift the skin into place, trimming away any excess. Once the neck has been tightened and all excess skin cut away, it will be permanently secured it in its new place with stitches and/or a special type of surgical glue.
Tightening of the Neck Muscles (Platysmplasty)
Once the doctor has performed liposuction to remove fat and cervicoplasty to trim away excess skin, it is time platysmplasty, or tightening of the neck muscles. This part of the neck lift reduces the banded look of the neck. A tiny device will be inserted through incisions in the chin, behind the ears, or both, and either remove a portion of the neck muscles or realign them. This results in a tightening of the middle part of the neck. Once they are in the perfect place, the doctor will suture them into place permanently.
What is the Recovery Time?
After your neck lift surgery, your entire neck area will be extremely sore. You will experience a lot of bruising and swelling as well. The recovery time varies from patient to patient, but you will definitely be in full recovery mode for at least two to three weeks, with up to eight to twelve weeks for a full recovery. This means taking it as easy as possible, although if you feel up to it, you can return to work, provided it is not a physically intensive job. Your neck will begin to show greatly reduced swelling and bruising by the fourth week, and by six to eight weeks, it will really start to take shape. You will likely feel a variety of sensations in your neck during this time such as tingling, numbness, soreness, tightness, and even a mild “burning” sensation. All of these are normal, however, if your experience a great deal of pain or anything you think exceeds the bounds of normal recovery sensations, contact your doctor immediately. But generally, the recovery from the neck lift isn’t all that bad. Most patients do not have a very dramatic recovery period.
There will be tiny scars left behind from the neck lift where the incisions were made, however, neck lift scars are very small. They are placed either behind the ears or under the chin where they are not very visible, and will fade well in time. Scarring can be of big concern for people who undergo heftier procedures such as a tummy tuck, however, the neck lift scars are generally not a problem for most people, as they are very small and fade well in time. Most people will never notice them.
As with any plastic surgery procedure, there are risks of complications that can occur. The most common risk with a neck lift is the same as with any procedure: Adverse reaction to the anesthesia and infection. In most cases, any bad reaction to the anesthesia is temporary, although a small percentage of people are allergic. Let your doctor know of any known allergies. As far as infection, the risk of infection can be significantly lowered via antibiotics and proper hygiene.
Another complication of neck lift surgery that can occur is a loss of sensation or sensitivity in the neck area. This is normal for the weeks following surgery, however, sensation should slowly return to normal within six months at the longest. However, in extremely rare cases, people report reduced sensitivity in the neck permanently.
Neck lift Cost
The cost of a neck lift varies a lot, because each patient has very different requirements. The general range for neck lift cost is roughly $4,000 to $8,000 with an average cost of about $6,000. Again, your price will vary depending on the exact characteristics of your particular neck, and what needs to be done to correct it, such as cervicoplasty, platysmplasty, liposuction, just two of the three, or all three, etc. The price will also vary a great deal by the geographic location you have the neck lift performed in, as well as how prestigious and experienced the doctor is.
How to Find a Good Doctor for Your Neck Lift
As with any plastic surgery procedure, the number one priority is finding a good doctor who can give you good results. NEVER sacrifice a quality doctor who may charge a bit more to go with someone else whom you aren’t 100% comfortable with just to save a few bucks. When it comes to doctors, research, research, and research some more. Make sure they are board certified and well experienced at performing the neck lift surgery. Some plastic surgeons specialize in one type of procedure such as, for example, breast augmentation, and are not as proficient at other plastic surgery procedures, such as a neck lift. Here are some questions you definitely want to ask your doctor:
- How many times they have performed a neck lift in the last six months
- Ask if they are board certified
- Look at lots and lots of before and after photos
- Bring in a before/after photo of the kind of results you want to achieve
- Ask about the equipment they use (such as an endoscope), and how they will perform it, such as which of the three techniques they will use: cervicoplasty, platysmplasty, liposuction, just two of the three, all three, etc.
- If they are willing to pay for any revisions that need to be done as a result of them missing something that should have been corrected