A neck lift, or lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the jawline and neck.
What neck lift surgery can treat:
- 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 creates 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 weight gain or loss.
Some people feel they are not ready for a full facelift because the upper face is still pleasing. However, many patients will note excess neck skin, a double chin, or “turkey wattle,” 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.
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What neck lift surgery can’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. Nonsurgical rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results as a neck lift but may help delay the time at which a neck lift becomes appropriate. Ultimately, nonsurgical rejuvenation treatments can complement the results of neck lift surgery.
Before Neck Lift Surgery
Dr. Cimino will evaluate your medical history to determine your overall health. He will also discuss how your neck may look and what you can expect as a result of surgery. Our goal is to create a natural appearance that is pleasing to you. Before and after photographs will reveal surgical results and what the surgery accomplished.
Avoid drugs containing aspirin for several weeks prior to surgery to minimize excess bleeding. Before surgery, you may also be required to take antibiotics to prevent infection and you may be instructed to shampoo your hair the night before the procedure.
About The Neck Lift Procedure
Neck lifts are performed in outpatient surgical centers or in an accredited physician’s operating room ( click here to see Chicago Surgical Specialists new state-of-the-art operating suite). Local anesthesia with intravenous sedation is a commonly used option; general anesthesia is used in select cases.
Neck Lift Post-Operative Care
After your surgery, you must have someone drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours. Initially you will have a large dressing wrapped around your head. You may have surgical drains attached to bulbs hanging at your neck. These will be removed in approximately 24 hours. Stitches around the ears will be loosened or removed in a few days. The scalp sutures will be removed in seven to ten days.
To minimize scarring, Dr. Cimino may remove your sutures in stages. Scarring fades quickly. Swelling and discoloration decrease within two weeks. Tightness in your face will be present for several weeks and there may be slight changes in your hair pattern around the incision.
We recommend that you avoid the sun for several weeks after surgery.
Complications following a neck lift are rare. These include bleeding, infection, loss of skin behind the ears, facial nerve injury, discoloration of the skin, numbness, asymmetry, and scarring (infection is rare due to the large blood supply to the face). As mentioned, the risk of bleeding is greater if you take aspirin or blood thinners within two weeks of the surgery. By following pre- and post-operative instructions, you will minimize potential problems.
Neck Lift Recovery: What to Expect
In the weeks following surgery, the facial skin and area around the ear and neck may be numb. There may also be some temporary discoloration as healing begins which may take a few months to disappear. Rarely, the facial nerve is bruised during surgery, resulting in temporary loss of function or sensation. Permanent damage to the facial nerve is rare.
The healing process is gradual, so you will not notice final results for up to six months. A single procedure often achieves the desired results. Most patients who have facelifts are pleased with their new, more youthful appearance.