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What Happens During A Neck Lift Procedure?

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    As you mature, you may notice changes in your neck that leave you feeling insecure. You may try concealing them by taking photos at a higher angle or wearing scarves. It’s normal to start seeing changes in your neck that you find unattractive as you age, but there is a more permanent solution than angles and fashion that can help boost your self-esteem. Patients who visit Dr. Kaplan’s office considering a neck lift are often concerned about jowling, excess skin, muscle banding, and deep wrinkles in the neck. Many patients ask him to help fix their “turkey neck.”

    The neck lift is a surgical procedure developed to remove excess skin and fat that forms over time due to aging, environmental factors such as sun and pollution, and lifestyle factors. Neck skin is weaker than the skin on the rest of the body from birth, but just as any skin on the body, neck skin weakens with age. This weakening is because our skin produces less collagen over time. Weaker skin in the neck leads to the common aging signs that neck lift patients report as the root of their insecurities: jowling, excess skin, muscle banding, and deep wrinkles. Muscle banding, or platysmal banding, is the term used to describe the two vertical strips down the sides of the neck. A neck lift will improve all these to reveal the youthful contour your neck once had. Do not be concerned if your neck is aging more rapidly than the rest of your body. It is natural due to less collagen, less elastin, and lower functioning oil glands, all of which come along with the aging process. If these changes in your neck’s appearance are affecting your self-esteem, a neck lift could be life-changing for you if you meet the candidacy criteria.

    In general, a neck lift consists of Dr. Kaplan gently lifting and reshaping the muscles and tissues of the neck, then removing excess skin and fat before closing the incisions and applying pressure around the surgical site. Neck lift surgery takes approximately two to three hours unless paired with other procedures. It is performed using either local or general anesthesia and depends on the complexity of your surgery. Dr. Kaplan may send you home after surgery with a bandage around your face and neck to minimize swelling. He may also place a thin tube to drain excess fluid. He will give you specific instructions on caring for these as you recover before your procedure.

    One of the main goals of the neck lift is to target the platysma muscles, which are the muscles located around the jaw, chin, and neck. A platysmaplasty improves definition in this area for patients between 40 and 60 years old. Those over 60 with excess skin and fat may require further interventions, for example, a facelift with liposuction. To perform a platysmaplasty, Dr. Kaplan creates small incisions around the ears and below the chin to tighten and reposition the skin and tissue and remove excess skin.

    The neck lift also targets excess fat, an issue for 67% of respondents in a survey conducted by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Removing excess fat may involve liposuction to sculpt the chin and neck. To do so, Dr. Kaplan makes small incisions under the chin and behind the ears before removing excess fat, revealing a defined neck area, chin, and jawline structure. Liposuction without surgery is not enough for a neck lift, as it does not target loose skin.

    Another big goal of the neck lift is to remove excess skin. Dr. Kaplan may include a cervicoplasty in your neck lift to reveal a more defined, contoured neck and jawline. He places a small incision behind each ear and, in some cases, beneath the chin to remove loose skin. A neck lift is suitable for patients who have lost a substantial amount of weight, resulting in soft, weak tissues in the neck and around the chin and jawline. The cervicoplasty is adequate if your only concerns are soft tissues in the chin and neck. However, it is typically combined with platysmaplasty to address the underlying neck muscles, excess skin, and fat.

    Learn more about neck lifts at The Kaplan Center

    The neck lift alone can promote dramatic results but works great alongside other procedures. Combining a neck lift with other facial rejuvenation procedures has given many of Dr. Kaplan’s patients the results they desired.

    Facelift – Dr. Kaplan usually pairs a neck lift with facelift procedures to ensure patients’ necks and faces have the same youthful appearance. A facelift with a neck lift promotes total harmony in a significant part of the body: the face, jawline, and neck. These two impactful procedures target loose skin on the cheeks, jowling around the chin, and laxity in the neck area. The neck lift is often performed with a full facelift but sometimes with a mini or mid-facelift.

    Chin implant – For patients seeking results beyond the restoration of their natural chin and jawline definition and who want a more masculine appearance, the neck lift can be paired with chin implants. A chin implant can increase the chin’s size, improve a weak chin, and create a more defined jawline.

    Blepharoplasty – Similar to the neck skin, the skin around our eyes is thinner and weaker and is usually one of the first features patients notice aging. Chances are if you have loose skin and fatty deposits around your neck, you also have them around your eyes and vice versa. The blepharoplasty is a suitable procedure to pair with the neck lift, promoting a harmonized appearance between the upper and lower facial areas.

    Just as a facelift does, the neck lift promotes long-lasting results. If you want to prolong your neck lift results and keep your neck looking as healthy and youthful as possible, there are various non-surgical treatments you can get to make the most of your neck lift results for the long haul.

    Microneedling – To go beyond the correction of excess skin and fat with the neck lift, you can return to Dr. Kaplan’s office after you are healed from your neck lift to get microneedling. By stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, microneedling reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and scarring.

    Dermal fillers – Although the neck lift improves the appearance of skin laxity of its own, developing a treatment plan that includes regular dermal filler sessions after your surgery can promote more dramatic results in the skin’s firmness around your neck. Dermal fillers can also reduce lines and boost skin quality as they are known to stimulate collagen production. Keeping the collagen in your neck skin stimulated is vital to maintaining your neck lift results.

    Lasers – A laser is used to perform a non-surgical neck lift for patients with moderate excess skin and fat. They are also an excellent treatment after your surgical neck lift has healed to maximize your results. Laser skin tightening tightens the skin, while laser skin resurfacing improves skin quality.

    Be prepared to have some bruising and swelling after your neck lift. Most patients fully recover from neck lift surgery within 4-6 weeks, while scars can take up to 6-12 months to fully fade following your procedure. Make sure you have contacted your boss and are at a stage to take a break from work because you will need to take about a week off.

    You should allow yourself to take it easy for about four weeks after your neck lift before you get back into performing your regular activities like exercise and household chores. You may need to reach out to a friend or family member ahead of your procedure date and ask if they can help you during your recovery, even if it’s simple tasks such as dropping off groceries, taking care of your pets, or driving you home from surgery. Have plenty of pillows ready to rest with elevation. Make sure you have shirts that open in the front and don’t cause any friction around your incisions by wearing clothing with tight necks.

    Great candidates for neck lifts generally have excess fat and loose skin below the chin and above the décolletage. As you may have noticed from the information above, multiple procedures are involved in a neck lift: platysmaplasty, cervicoplasty, and liposuction. Each of these targets specific concerns, so neck lift candidates may include a wide array of patients with different concerns about the appearance of their necks. In general, the neck lift may be the perfect procedure to get your dream results if the issues you are looking to target include loose skin, excess fat, soft tissues, muscle banding, and deep wrinkles around your neck, jawline, and chin. Characteristics of the ideal neck lift patient include:

    • Patients looking to rejuvenate the appearance of their neck due to aging signs
    • Patients who have not been able to target the excess fat in their neck through diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes
    • Patients who naturally store fatty deposits and excess skin in their necks and want to achieve a tighter, more defined contour
    • Patients whose concerns are beyond the scope of repair from non-surgical procedures such as Botox, lasers, or dermal fillers
    • Patients with realistic expectations of their results
    • Patients who find that the appearance and feel of their necks negatively impact their confidence and day-to-day lives
    • Patients in good overall health

    According to RealSelf, neck surgery creates a more defined jawline and a slimmer, smoother, younger-looking neck. The surgical neck lift promotes more dramatic results than its non-surgical alternatives, so if you visit Dr. Kaplan for a consultation and he finds that you are a candidate for the procedure, it may be time to go the surgical route. Other benefits of the neck lift include:

    • Promotes long-lasting results
    • Is more cost-effective in the long run than less invasive procedures with similar goals
    • Promotes a youthful appearance
    • Leaves behind minimal scarring
    • Boosts confidence
    • Tightens and smoothes out skin
    • Reduces excess skin and fat
    • Targets fatty deposits that diet and exercise cannot