One of the most common concerns that patients describe as they age is loosening and sagging of the skin in the neck, sometimes referred to as a “turkey neck.” Some patients have concerns localized to the neck area that do not need a full facelift, and in these patients a neck lift is an excellent option to provide beautiful, natural rejuvenation of the neck and jawline.
There are a variety of different neck lift techniques that can be customized for each individual patient. Dr. Cain and Dr. Richardson are both experts in analyzing the underlying causes of aging changes in the neck and can help you decide which procedure is most suited for your particular concerns during your consultation. Read below for more details.
What is a neck lift?
A neck lift is a surgical procedure designed to lift and tighten the neck. There are several different ways to perform this procedure, and these are described below. A neck lift should tighten not just the skin of the neck, but also the muscle layers under the skin. A neck lift is a basic component of a facelift procedure as well, which involves lifting the cheeks and the neck.
In some cases, a direct neck lift (or submental neck lift) may be recommended. A direct neck lift is used most commonly in men who want to remove a “turkey neck” or “gobbler” due to laxity of the skin and muscle of the neck without any significant cheek or jowl laxity.
Another type of neck lift is a platysmaplasty, which is also commonly performed with both a facelift procedure and a direct neck lift, but may also be performed as a stand-alone procedure.
How is a neck lift performed? What happens during a neck lift?
A neck lift is performed under anesthesia, and there are several different options for anesthesia. In most cases, a neck lift is performed as part of a facelift procedure, which involves lifting both the cheek and the neck at the same time. In these cases, the incisions are hidden around the ears and involve lifting the tissues into a more anatomical position from the sides. The skin is elevated, and the muscle and fascia layers under the skin known as the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS) and platysma are lifted and tightened. Dr. Richardson and Dr. Cain use a biplanar facelift technique which involves undermining the SMAS in the deep plane and also tightening the skin.
Another alternative is a direct neck lift, where an incision is made under the chin (usually in a “Grecian vase” or zig-zag pattern) to allow removal of skin and muscle directly, without any incisions around the ears. The advantage of this technique is that the neck can be made VERY tight with extremely long-lasting results, and no scars or incisions around the ears. The disadvantage of a direct neck lift is that it leaves a scar under the chin that can take some time to fade.
Finally, a platysmaplasty is performed commonly as part of a facelift procedure or a direct neck lift procedure, but may also be performed as a stand-alone procedure. There are many different techniques for platysmaplasty. Most commonly, we make a small incision under the chin and divide the muscle low in the neck. We then use sutures to sew the muscle tight in a corset fashion under the chin in order to improve bands of muscle in the neck and to provide long-lasting improvements. We may also remove fatty tissue from the neck at the same time. A platysmaplasty can also be performed in some patients as a stand-alone procedure or in conjunction with neck liposuction.
Is a neck lift painful?
Patients should feel no pain during surgery. While a neck lift can be performed under local anesthesia, this tends to be less pleasant for most patients. We generally perform neck lifts under deep intravenous (IV) sedation, but can also perform these procedures under a deep general anesthesia or a light oral sedation, all supplemented with local anesthesia.
There is very little pain after a neck lift procedure. Most patients require very little if any pain medication post-operatively. After a neck lift, most patients will feel tight and will have some numbness.
What can I expect after a neck lift? What is the downtime and recovery after a neck lift?
Patients can usually expect to have some degree of bruising and swelling after a neck lift procedure, and this can last from 1-2 weeks in most cases. Many patients are back into most of their normal routines within 7-10 days, but patients should avoid strenuous activities for 2 weeks after surgery. In some cases, we may ask you to avoid driving for a certain period of time in order to avoid turning the neck.
How is a neck lift different from a facelift, a “thread lift”, or a non-surgical neck lift?
As described above, a neck lift is part of a facelift procedure. A thread lift is not something that Dr. Richardson or Dr. Cain perform because of the poor results with these types of procedures. There are various non-surgical techniques to lift the neck, including Botox, fillers, radiofrequency devices, focused ultrasound, and others, but many of these techniques are very painful, expensive, and offer very poor outcomes. We commonly treat patients that spent many thousands of dollars on “minimally-invasive” techniques elsewhere and saw very little to no results.
What are the contraindications to a neck lift?
Contraindications to a neck lift would include any major medical problems like serious heart, lung, or kidney problems that might make anesthesia unsafe. Additionally, patients with a history of poor wound healing or any bleeding disorders might also not be a candidate for a neck lift. Pregnancy is also a contraindication. We may ask that you be cleared medically by your primary doctor prior to surgery and/or anesthesia. This is for your safety prior to an elective cosmetic surgical procedure. We can help to facilitate this process for you and have many resources to make this simple.
Is a neck lift safe for all skin types, races, and ethnicities?
Yes, neck lifts can be safely performed in all races and skin types.
When should you get a neck lift?
There is no perfect age for a neck lift. We perform neck lifts in patients from their 30’s to their 90’s. We prefer that patients start anti-aging and rejuvenation procedures at a younger age, so that it appears that they are not aging over time. That being said, in many cases, patients wait to seek treatment until there is severe neck laxity present, and surgical changes in these patients can result in a dramatic before and after result.
Are neck lifts only for women?
No! Many men have a neck lift procedure as part of a facelift. Additionally, a direct neck lift is much more commonly performed in a man than a woman due to the location of the scars and the ability to get a very tight neck in a man with a direct neck lift.
Who is qualified to perform a neck lift?
A neck lift should be performed by a board-certified surgeon who specializes in facial aesthetic procedures. This is generally going to include facial plastic surgeons and plastic surgeons. Look for a surgeon who can show before and after results of their own patients who were treated with a variety of different techniques.
Is a neck lift safe?
Every surgery or medication has some risk involved, and the risks of a neck lift procedure include nerve injury, numbness, weakness, bleeding, scarring, infection, and possible need for future surgery. Thankfully, there are very low complication rates for neck lift procedures.
Where is the surgery performed?
We have several different options for your surgical location. Most patients choose to have surgery performed in our state-of-the art on site surgical center which is fully equipped and accredited by the AAAASF. CLICK HERE to read more about our facility.
Alternatively, we can perform your surgery at one of the local area hospitals, most commonly Medical City Frisco. There are several advantages of having surgery at our facility including the ease of access, increased privacy, low facility fees, and use of IV sedation, which allows quick recovery and decreased anesthesia issues like post-operative nausea and vomiting that might be associated with other forms of anesthesia.
How long does a neck lift last? Is a neck lift permanent?
In many ways, a neck lift lasts forever because a patient’s neck will always be tighter than if they’d never had surgery. A direct neck lift will last many decades, and most patients will never need any “tuck up” procedures. A platysmaplasty or neck lift as part of a facelift procedure will also last for many years. The aging process continues, but most patients will go at least 10-15 years befosre considering any secondary procedures.
Will I look different after a neck lift?
Patients should always look younger, rejuvenated, and refreshed after a neck lift procedure, but should not look “over pulled” or “overtightened” in any way. We pride ourselves on natural-looking results. We want patients to simply look like a younger version of themselves, and most patients feel like a neck lift takes 10-15 years off their age. Take a look at our Before and Afters to see for yourself.
How much does a neck lift cost?
Because surgical procedures and terminology can vary widely from one patient, provider, and location to another, it is almost impossible to give accurate surgical quotes over the phone or email. Keep in mind that there are many different factors that affect the cost of a procedure, including the surgeon’s fee, the surgical technique involved, the facility fee for the operating room/staff/supplies, and the anesthesia fees. For most neck lift procedures, patients can expect to pay somewhere between $5,000 – $10,000. If other procedures are performed simultaneously, such as a brow lift, eyelid surgery, etc., additional fees are involved. After a consultation with Dr. Richardson or Dr. Cain, we will provide you with a detailed and exact surgical quote for the procedures that are discussed.
EMAIL US today or call us at (469) 362-6975 to find out more about how we can help you look your best!
CLICK HERE to see more Facelift Before and After Photos