The neck is often neglected during the average person’s beauty routine. From sunscreen to face creams, many people stop at the jawline. As a result, this is one of the first places people show signs of aging.
The good news is that can treat the signs of an aging neck. While not as well known as facelifts and brow lifts, neck lifts, also known as platysmaplasty, are an effective solution for many signs of aging. Here is what you need to know about neck lifts.
Who Can Benefit from a Neck Lift
Essentially, anyone who is worried about the appearance of their neck and is in good health could be a neck lift candidate. The procedure is designed to make the neck look more youthful by tightening the neck skin and muscles.
A neck lift can help erase wrinkles, define the jawline and eliminate common concerns, such as “turkey neck,” “tech neck” and heavy jowls. Signs that someone could benefit from a neck lift include:
- Sagging skin on the chin or neck
- Skin that moves or “flaps” when talking
- Excess fat around the neck or chin
- Lack of definition in the jawline
- Lines and wrinkles on the neck
Standalone or in Combination
Neck lifts can be done as a standalone procedure. This is most common in younger individuals who see their neck as their only problem area. The neck is often the first spot to show signs of aging.
People are opting for neck lifts earlier in age thanks in part to the increasing usage of smart devices. The constant neck-bending to look at technology has increased the lines and wrinkles around the neck.
However, more often than not, it is done as part of a facelift procedure. Liposuction may also be used to help eliminate the double-chin effect.
How a Neck Lift Is Performed
The way a neck lift is performed can vary between patients. For example, if someone is wanting facial contouring, liposuction alone might achieve the desired results. However, most neck lifts require a little more than that. A typical neck lift might include:
- Incisions made in discreet locations to hide scarring
- Tightening of the platysma muscle
- Removal of excess skin
- Repositioning of tissues and skin
- Placement of sutures to secure the lift
- Placement of drains and final sutures
Patients should have the procedure explained to them in full at their consultation, so they know what to expect during a neck lift.
Preparing for a Neck Lift Procedure
Each plastic surgeon will have their own list for how to prep for a neck lift. What you’ll need to know about your neck lift preparation should be covered during your consultation. In general, surgeons will suggest the following:
- Get certain laboratory tests done
- Begin taking certain medications
- Adjust medications you are currently on
- Stop smoking and drinking
- Eliminate the use of aspirin, herbal supplements and anything else that can increase bleeding
- Drink a lot of water
The patient will also need to avoid eating and drinking for a specified period prior to surgery.
The Day of the Procedure
The neck lift procedure itself typically lasts anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. However, it can take longer depending on a variety of factors. The type of anesthesia used will depend on the techniques the surgeon plans to utilize, but general anesthesia is the most common. The patient is carefully monitored throughout the procedure and may be kept overnight after it is completed. Whether or not there is an overnight stay, the patient needs to arrange for someone to drive them home as they will not be allowed to drive themselves.
The Neck Lift Recovery Period
The recovery period for a neck lift can vary for each person. Some people recover faster than others, while many will need more time.
In most cases, there will be notable swelling, which can be helped with bandaging. The patient will need to keep their face elevated above the heart to keep the swelling to a minimum, and they should never apply ice to the skin.
How long the patient will need to wait to remove the bandages will be determined by the surgeon. They will also specify how long to remain off work. It is vital that patients follow the orders of their doctor. Otherwise, it could compromise the results, which will finally be visible a month or more after the procedure.
Dr. Eric Chang earned his medical degree from Columbia University after graduating magna cum laude from Yale, and then completed a combined general and plastic surgery residency at Stanford University Medical Center, where he served as chief resident. After becoming a board-certified plastic surgeon, he returned to his home state and established Columbia Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, one of the premier cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery practices between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.