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Necklifts in Virginia Beach

At Associates in Plastic Surgery, we focus on our patients’ concerns to improve the appearance and contour of the neck. It is quite common for patients to request a neck lift to eliminate excess folds of skin along the neck commonly known as “turkey gobblers”. A neck lift is beneficial in removing fat that can hinder the look of a youthful jaw line. It also corrects jowls, deep folds and wrinkles commonly associated with aging.
Improvement is achieved by removing the extra skin and fat while tightening underlying muscles. Draping the skin backward and removing the excess skin along incisions located around the ears can achieve this desired result. A small incision beneath the chin is often used to provide access to the middle portion of the neck. Using this approach, central fat can be more readily sculpted to provide a trimmer contour and the neck muscles can also be tightened if needed.

Table of Contents

What is a Neck Lift?

A neck lift, also known as lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure aimed at improving the appearance of the neck and jawline by tightening loose skin, removing excess fat, and addressing muscle laxity. Neck lift surgery can address various concerns, including sagging skin, wrinkles, platysmal bands (neck bands), and a poorly defined jawline. The goal of a neck lift is to restore a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance to the neck area.

Am I an Ideal Candidate? An Ideal Candidate for a Neck Lift

  • Has concerns about neck aging such as sagging skin, wrinkles, or neck bands.
  • Has specific neck concerns such as loose skin, excess fat, or neck muscle laxity
  • Has good skin elasticity to allow for better skin tightening and smoother results. Candidates with significant skin laxity may require more extensive surgical techniques or adjunct procedures.
  • Is in generally good health
  • Is not a smoker

What Happens During a Neck Lift?

During a neck lift procedure, the surgeon may employ various techniques to address specific concerns and achieve the desired aesthetic outcome. Here’s an overview of what typically happens during a neck lift:
  1. Anesthesia: Neck lift surgery can be performed under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the procedure and the patient’s preference.
  2. Incisions : The surgeon makes discreet incisions in inconspicuous locations, such as behind the ears and/or under the chin, to access the underlying neck structures. The choice of incision technique depends on the specific concerns being addressed and the surgeon’s preference.
  3. Neck Muscle Tightening (Platysmaplasty): If the patient has prominent neck bands or muscle laxity, the surgeon may perform platysmaplasty to tighten the underlying neck muscles (platysma). This can help improve the definition of the neck and reduce the appearance of neck bands.
  4. Excess Fat Removal (Liposuction): If excess fat is present in the neck area, the surgeon may use liposuction to remove fat deposits and create a more sculpted neck contour. Liposuction involves inserting a thin tube (cannula) through small incisions to suction out excess fat.
  5. Skin Tightening and Redraping: Once the underlying muscles and fat are addressed, the surgeon carefully tightens and redrapes the skin to create a smoother, firmer neck contour. Excess skin may be trimmed or excised as needed to achieve the desired result.
  6. Closure: Once the neck contour is improved, the incisions are carefully closed with sutures. External incisions are typically placed in inconspicuous locations to minimize visible scarring.
  7. Dressing and Bandaging: After the incisions are closed, the neck area may be covered with dressings or bandages to protect the surgical site and provide support during the initial healing phase. A compression garment may be worn to minimize swelling and promote skin contraction.
  8. Recovery and Follow-Up: After the neck lift procedure, patients are usually monitored in a recovery area before being discharged home. They will receive instructions on post-operative care, including how to care for the surgical site, manage discomfort, and prevent complications. Follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor the healing process and remove any sutures or dressings as needed.

Recovery/Results: What to Expect After a Neck Lift?

  1. Immediate Post-Operative Period (Day 1-2):
    • Patients may experience some discomfort, swelling, and bruising in the neck and jawline area immediately after a neck lift.
    • Pain medication prescribed by the surgeon can help manage any discomfort or pain.
    • The neck may be covered with dressings or bandages, and a compression garment may be worn to reduce swelling and support the neck tissues.
  2. First Week:
    • Swelling and bruising typically peak within the first few days after a neck lift and gradually start to subside.
    • Patients may need to rest with their head elevated to reduce swelling and discomfort.
    • It’s essential to avoid activities that could strain the neck or disrupt the healing process, such as bending over or lifting heavy objects.
  3. Second Week:
    • By the end of the second week, most of the swelling and bruising should have improved significantly.
    • Patients may start to feel more comfortable and may be able to return to light activities.
    • Follow-up appointments with the surgeon may be scheduled to monitor the healing progress and remove any dressings or sutures as needed.
  4. Third Week to Fourth Week:
    • Swelling and bruising continue to diminish, and the neck begins to take on a more defined and contoured appearance.
    • Some minor swelling or asymmetry may persist, but this should continue to improve over time.
    • Patients can usually resume normal activities and may feel more confident about their appearance.
  5. Long-Term Recovery (After One Month):
    • After one month, the majority of swelling and bruising should have resolved, and the final results of the neck lift procedure become more apparent.
    • The neck should appear smoother, firmer, and more youthful, with improved definition along the jawline and neckline.
    • While the majority of swelling resolves within the first few weeks to months after surgery, residual swelling may persist for up to a year or longer, gradually subsiding over time.
    • Patients should continue to follow any post-operative instructions provided by their surgeon, including wearing a compression garment if recommended and avoiding activities that could strain the neck.
    • Follow-up appointments with the surgeon will continue to monitor the long-term healing process and assess the final outcome of the neck lift procedure.

Maintaining Results

Maintaining the results of a neck lift requires dedication and adherence to post-operative instructions. Here are some tips for maintaining the results:
  1. Follow Post-Operative Instructions: Adhere strictly to the post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon. These instructions may include guidelines for activities to avoid, proper wound care, medication usage, and wearing any recommended compression garments. Following these instructions is crucial for optimal healing and long-term results.
  2. Protect Your Neck: After a neck lift, it’s essential to protect your neck from trauma or injury. Avoid activities that could strain the neck or disrupt the healing process, such as heavy lifting or vigorous exercise. Be mindful of your posture and avoid activities that could put undue pressure on the neck area.
  3. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: A healthy lifestyle can contribute to long-lasting results following a neck lift. Eat a balanced diet rich in nutrients, stay hydrated, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Regular exercise can also help maintain muscle tone and overall well-being.
  4. Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage: Sun exposure can accelerate skin aging and affect the appearance of scars following surgery. Protect your neck from sun damage by wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and avoiding prolonged sun exposure. Consider wearing clothing that provides coverage to the neck area when outdoors.
  5. Be Patient: It’s important to have realistic expectations and understand that the final results of a neck lift may take time to fully manifest. Swelling and changes in neck appearance are normal during the healing process and may continue to evolve over several months. Be patient and allow your body to heal properly before assessing the final outcome of the procedure.
  6. Communicate with Your Surgeon: If you have any concerns or questions during the recovery process or notice any changes in your neck appearance, don’t hesitate to contact your surgeon. Your surgeon is there to support you throughout the recovery journey and can provide guidance, reassurance, or additional treatment if needed.

Possible Complications

While a neck lift is generally considered safe when performed by a qualified and experienced surgeon, like any surgical procedure, it carries some risks and potential complications. It’s essential for patients to be aware of these potential complications before undergoing surgery. Here are some possible complications of a neck lift:
  1. Infection: Infections can occur following neck lift surgery, although they are relatively rare. Signs of infection include increased redness, swelling, warmth, and pain in the neck area. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent or treat infections if they occur.
  2. Hematoma or Seroma: A hematoma is a collection of blood under the skin, while a seroma is a collection of clear fluid. These fluid collections can develop in the neck area following surgery and may require drainage to prevent complications such as infection or skin necrosis.
  3. Nerve Injury: There is a risk of nerve injury during neck lift surgery, which can result in temporary or permanent changes in sensation, muscle weakness, or paralysis in the neck or surrounding areas. Careful surgical technique and meticulous dissection can help minimize this risk.
  4. Skin Necrosis: In rare cases, reduced blood supply to the skin following surgery can lead to skin necrosis (tissue death) in the neck area. Smokers, individuals with compromised circulation, or those with certain medical conditions may be at increased risk. Prompt treatment is necessary to prevent further complications.
  5. Scarring: While efforts are made to minimize visible scarring during neck lift surgery, some patients may develop hypertrophic scars or keloids at the incision sites. Scar management techniques such as silicone gel sheets, corticosteroid injections, or laser therapy may be employed to improve the appearance of scars.
  6. Unsatisfactory Aesthetic Outcome: Despite careful planning and execution, some patients may be dissatisfied with the aesthetic outcome of their neck lift surgery. This may include asymmetry, irregularities, or inadequate improvement in neck contour. Revision surgery may be considered to address these concerns and achieve the desired result.
  7. Anesthesia Risks: General anesthesia carries its own set of risks, including allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, and adverse reactions to medications. Your anesthesiologist will discuss these risks with you before the procedure and take measures to ensure your safety during surgery.
It’s important for patients to discuss the potential risks and complications of neck lift surgery with their surgeon before undergoing the procedure. Additionally, choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in neck lift surgery and has extensive experience in performing the procedure can help minimize the risk of complications and ensure optimal outcomes.
Overall, while a neck lift can be a transformative procedure that rejuvenates the appearance of the neck and jawline, it’s essential to approach it with realistic expectations and thorough consideration of the potential risks and benefits. Working closely with a skilled and experienced surgeon and following all pre-operative and post-operative instructions diligently can help maximize the chances of a successful outcome and a satisfying neck lift experience.

Neck Lift Before & After Photos