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Signs Of A Neck Lift Gone Wrong

Home » Blog » Signs Of A Neck Lift Gone Wrong

Signs Of A Neck Lift Gone Wrong


    Signs Of A Bad Neck Lift

    The neck lift, called platysmaplasty, is an excellent surgical solution for sagging skin, bulging fat, and muscle banding in the neck. Removing excess skin and fat and tightening the underlying muscles reveals your neck contour and sculpts your chin and jawline. As with any surgery, a neck lift can go wrong. But what are the signs of a bad neck lift?

    Bad Scars

    Neck lift incisions, strategically hidden behind the ears and along the posterior hairline, with a small incision beneath the chin, are designed to be well-concealed, even with your hair in a ponytail. If you can distinctly see scar lines or thick, dark scars, these are indicators of a poorly done neck lift.

    If a surgeon is unable to place incisions precisely, it can leave a patient with an unnatural-looking hairline along the back of the head or noticeable lines and scar tissue beneath the chin. No one wants to reveal a big scar every time they look upward.

    Sometimes, neck lift scars made too tightly can cause them to appear wide and not so pretty. Any tension should fall on the underlying framework, not the skin’s surface. Usually, a neck and facelift are combined, but the results can be unsightly if noticeable scars are in front of the ears.

    Pixie Ears

    A sign of a botched face and neck lift is the “pixie” ear deformity, which causes the earlobe to appear pulled or detached rather than naturally attached, indicating that inappropriate pulling of the jawline and cheek skin folds occurred during the face and neck lift.

    Contour Irregularities From Aggressive Fat Removal

    If your neck lift includes neck liposuction and your doctor targets the fat too aggressively, this could result in an unusual appearance similar to muscle bands around your incisions as it damages the underlying muscle.

    Worsening of Bruises

    Your bruises should fade and reveal your usual skin color within about two weeks after your neck lift. If bruising spreads or darkens, these are signs of a bad neck lift and may be signs of infection or damaged blood vessels.

    Excessive Bleeding

    Surgery involves incisions, so it’s normal to have some bleeding after your surgery. Your doctor will bandage the area and ask you to keep it covered for the first day or so after your surgery to minimize bleeding. If your bleeding seems to be out of control or persists for days after your procedure, however, this could be caused by a broken suture or tissue damage. You should reach out to your doctor immediately.

    Strange Discharge from Incision Sites

    Some surgeons use drains to prevent fluid accumulation (hematoma) after plastic surgery procedures such as neck lifts because it’s normal for some clear or pinkish fluid to come out of the incision sites for the first few days of recovery. If you start to notice strange-looking fluid or pus around your incisions, though, this could be a sign of infection, and you should seek medical attention.

    What Are The Risks Of Neck Lift Surgery?

    While many patients successfully achieve their goals with neck lifts, there are potential risks and complications because it is, after all, surgery. Minor side effects such as bruising, discomfort, and swelling are common and should fade naturally over time. However, if you notice worrying complications after your neck lift, contact your surgeon immediately.

    According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, some of the more ‘serious’ risks associated with neck lift surgery can include:

    • Excessive, persistent bleeding
    • Hematoma
    • Risks with anesthesia
    • Asymmetries
    • Infection
    • Numbness or other changes in sensation
    • Poor scarring/wound healing
    • Persistent swelling 
    • Discoloration
    • Nerve injuries (rare)
    • Deep venous thrombosis (rare)
    • Skin loss
    • Hair loss around the incisions
    • Possible need for revision surgery
    • Visible sutures
    • Bad scarring

    How To Avoid A Botched Neck Lift

    In the hands of an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in neck rejuvenation, you should not be worried about achieving an unnatural-looking neck lift result. Before your neck lift, we recommend taking the following steps to ensure you get the best results possible: 

    Research, Research, Research!

    Make sure you’re choosing a surgeon who meets the training, qualifications, and experience to deliver a successful neck lift result. Research your surgeon’s credentials and experience, and read reviews from previous patients to confirm they have an excellent reputation and a proven track record with patient satisfaction.

    Open Up To Your Surgeon About Your Goals

    Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable during your neck lift consultation. Be honest and detailed about your goals, expectations, medical history, and worries about the surgery, providing them with a deep understanding of what you envision so they can appropriately develop a treatment plan tailored to you. 

    Ensure Your Treatment Plan Meets Your Needs

    The last thing you want is to move forward with a neck rejuvenation procedure that doesn’t care for your needs properly. If your concerns include sagging skin, excess fat, muscle banding, and laxity, you’re likely on the right track with neck lift surgery. You should check with your surgeon about the technique they plan to use, as there are multiple techniques available, and they should use one tailored to you and your concerns. For example, neck lift techniques are different for men and should hide incisions despite their short hair and preserve masculinity. 

    Ask your plastic surgeon during your platysmaplasty consultation about the type of neck lift procedure they plan to use, as this may help you get the best result and avoid signs of a bad neck lift due to an unsuitable procedure. 

    Ask Your Surgeon For Before And After Photos

    During your neck rejuvenation surgery consultation, ask your surgeon to show you before and after photos of past patients, preferably those with similar concerns and anatomy. You should also be able to find additional before and after images on their website or Instagram and, if the surgeon doesn’t have any progress photos. It should be a red flag.

    Is Neck Lift Safe?

    As with any other facial plastic surgery, neck lifts have some risks, but there are rarely severe risks. Johns Hopkins Medicine says that when consulting with an experienced plastic surgeon who specializes in aesthetic surgery of the neck, they will ask about the following factors to ensure a safe patient surgery:

    • Medical history
    • Overall health
    • Skin type
    • Age
    • Ethnicity
    • Expectations

    Generally, if you are in good overall health, have no underlying medical conditions, are a non-smoker, and have realistic expectations of your results, you should be ready for a safe, long-lasting, and successful neck lift result. Request a consultation with NY and NJ plastic surgeon Dr. Gordon Kaplan, who specializes in plastic surgery of the face and neck, to find out if a neck lift is right for you.

    The Kaplan Center

    The Kaplan Center is a medical practice ran by board-certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Gordon Kaplan in Edgewater, NJ. With over two decades of experience, The Kaplan Center specialises in plastic and reconstructive surgery for the face and body, along with a number of non-surgical treatments.