What is a neck lift?
The neck is one of the first areas to show the signs of aging. Here, vertical banding, “turkey wattle,” and sagging jowls may make us look older than we feel. A neck lift is a procedure that improves the appearance of the neck by correcting laxity issues in the underlying muscles and the skin. This procedure may be performed alongside a facelift, liposuction, or other forms of facial rejuvenation. It can also be performed as a standalone treatment.
What can I expect during a neck lift consultation?
Dr. Barrera has been providing the highest standard of plastic surgery care to patients in the Houston area since 1985. His reputation is well-known among his peers as well as his patients, which has led to patients traveling from other states for his level of care. During your consultation, you can expect to discuss your concerns and the goals you have for your appearance. Your health history will be reviewed and a brief exam will take place.
The physical exam portion of the consultation observes the structures of the neck and face, quality of bone structure and skin tone, and any other factors that he feels will facilitate the best aesthetic outcome for you. Dr. Barrera will discuss the procedure or combination of procedures that are recommended to achieve your desired outcome. Surgical particulars including incision locations, possible risks, and recovery will be outlined as well.
Before surgery, patients are often advised to avoid ibuprofen and aspirin products, as well as vitamin E and certain supplements that may increase bleeding and bruising. Smoking must also cease at least 4 weeks before surgery.
What are the benefits of a neck lift?
A well-performed neck life resolves age-related problems including excess fat, sagging skin, and vertical bands on the neck. Beneficial results include:
- A defined, youthful-looking jawline
- Tighter, smoother skin on the neck and under the chin
- A younger frame for the face
What are the risks/complications of a neck lift procedure?
Significant complications from neck lift surgery are very rare when the procedure is conducted by a properly-trained and board-certified plastic surgeon. Like all surgeries, however, some degree of risk is involved with the neck lift. Risks include:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia, which is decreased in the absence of general anesthesia
- Changes in tissue sensation
- Blood or fluid buildup beneath the skin
- Poor scarring
- Damage to underlying muscle or blood vessels
- Poor cosmetic results
How is the neck lift procedure performed?
The neck lift is somewhat customized to address each patient’s unique physiology. Two common neck lift techniques that are considered include:
Traditional Neck Lift. In this technique, an incision is made just below or in front of each ear. Incisions travel around the ear, ending at the backside at the hairline. The utmost care is given to incisions to ensure the most discreet scars. During the traditional neck lift, the fatty deposits under the chin and on the upper neck are sculpted to lie flatter and more symmetrically. Muscles are tightened and superficial tissue is also repositioned to reduce the appearance of vertical bands. If needed, liposuction is performed beneath the chin.
Limited Incision Neck Lift. Limited incisions are shorter, situated just around the ear. Like the traditional neck lift, the limited incision lift also subtly repositions superficial tissue, fatty deposits, and tightens muscles to address mild to moderate signs of aging.
How long does a neck lift surgery take?
A neck lift can take from 2 to 4 hours depending on the technique used and the inclusion of complementary procedures. Many people combine neck lift surgery with a facelift or with neck liposuction, each of which will incur extra surgical time. You can expect a detailed outline of your procedure or combination thereof to include an estimate for how long you will be in surgery.
Is neck lift surgery painful?
Neck lift surgery is not painful. Before commencing with treatment, appropriate anesthesia is administered to ensure comfort. Dr. Barrera uses IV sedation and local anesthesia or Total Intravenous Anesthesia (TIVA) for all procedures. This eliminates the need for general anesthesia gases. Selected anesthesia methods provide patients with safety and comfort, as well as a faster recovery.
What should I know prior to my procedure?
The most important detail about neck lift surgery that you should know is that your priority is choosing a qualified surgeon. Working with a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Barrera, your risks of complications are greatly reduced. Likewise, your chances of optimal results are greatly increased.
What does the recovery process for a neck lift look like?
Post-operatively, you can expect to wear a bandage that goes around your neck and head. This garment is worn at all times until stitches are removed about one week after surgery. Once stitches are removed, the garment will be worn for a few more days, but only for short periods or when you sleep.
Prescription pain medication may be needed for a few days to control discomfort. However, the need for pain management decreases substantially within a week to ten days. Swelling and bruising are expected to decrease gradually over about two weeks, though this can vary from one person to another. Typically, patients can go back to work and resume most normal activities two weeks after a neck lift. Strenuous exercise may need to be postponed for an additional few weeks.
How long will it take before I see results?
The results of a neck lift begin to show almost immediately after treatment. The compression garment that is worn 24/7 for the first week will obstruct the appearance of your new neck. However, you will be able to see appreciable changes at your first follow-up. As swelling subsides over time, the new contours of the neck become more apparent. Results may peak a few months after surgery.
How long do neck lift results last?
The tissue repositioning that is achieved with a neck lift is not reversed, so the results of a neck lift last long-term. Age-related tissue degradation does affect the skin and muscle over time. However, with good sun protection and skincare habits, most neck lift patients can enjoy permanent improvement in their appearance.