As we age, development of jowls or sagging around the jaw line and laxity of skin in the central upper neck (so called “turkey gobbler”) is something that happens at least to some degree in all of us. Once there is enough laxity a neck lift may be an excellent option for the right patient. A neck lift involves tightening the muscles in the central neck (called platysmaplasty) and then pulling excess skin out along the hairline.
Depending on the amount of skin laxity, an incision will be ideally made in the hair behind the ear to hide the scar. This does raise the hairline in the back to some degree. In patients with a lot of skin laxity, we will often make an incision along the hairline in the neck to avoid raising the hairline much. There has to be enough laxity of skin in order to have a natural result. There is not a certain age when you are ready for this procedure. Rather, it is all about the amount of skin looseness that is present.
Before Neck Lift Surgery
We will evaluate your medical history in order to determine your overall health. Dr. Ducic will discuss with you how your neck can look and what you can expect from surgery. Our objective is to create a natural appearance that is pleasing to you. Photographs are performed to determine the amount of improvement after necklift surgery.
We will provide you with preoperative instructions that may include the elimination of specific drugs containing aspirin several weeks before surgery to minimize excess bleeding. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to prevent infection. You may be instructed to shampoo your hair the night before surgery.
Neck Lift Surgery
A neck lift is usually performed under general anesthesia under the supervision of an anesthesiologist for your safety and comfort. Incisions are made inside the hairline at the temple, running in front of the ear then around the earlobe and behind the ear, ending in the hair of the scalp. The loose skin is separated from underlying tissue and is pulled up and back. Excess skin is removed. Sagging muscles and connective tissues are tightened. In some cases, fatty deposits are removed from beneath the chin and neck. Small sutures are used to close the incisions. The procedure may take up to three hours depending on whether any other procedures are performed at the same time.
Bandages are applied to the area of surgery and are removed within a few days. Pain is moderate and controlled with oral medications. Your sutures are removed within the first 5-to-10 days. In order to minimize scarring, the doctor may remove the sutures in stages. Scarring fades quickly. Swelling and discoloration decrease within two weeks. Tightness in your neck will be present for several weeks and there may be slight changes in your hair pattern around the incision. It is recommended that you avoid the sun for several weeks after surgery. Healing is gradual so you will not notice final results for up to 6 months. Improvement varies, depending on the your initial condition. In most cases, a single procedure achieves the desired results. Most patients who have had a neck lift are pleased with their new, more youthful appearance.