Updated August 6, 2019
Neck Rejuvenation – Fort Worth, Texas
A “neck lift” is a procedure that improves the contour of the upper neck. It helps to define the chin-neck angle, providing a more definite distinction between the two. In most instances there is a combination of excess fat along with relaxation of the superficial neck muscles giving rise to the “turkey gobbler neck.” Most neck lift procedures begin with liposuction to remove excess fat. Fat is removed through a small incision just below the chin. The muscle (platysma) is sewn together, if necessary, to tighten the upper neck muscles, thus decreasing the sagging appearance. The incision is then closed and the areas treated are covered by a bandage or garment to help redrape the skin and contain the swelling.
When neck skin is loose, the skin can be tightened by removing some of the extra skin. This is usually performed in conjunction with a facelift procedure to be able to remove the maximal amount possible. In more limited situations, two incisions are made, one in front, under and/or behind each ear. If a full facelift is not necessary, then a mini- or low-facelift can be combined with the neck lift to provide more tightening. Sections of skin are trimmed and lifted into place and sutured. Tightening the neck muscles requires incisions below the chin and under, in front and/or behind each ear. These same incisions can be used for liposuction of the neck and tightening loose skin. Before the incisions are closed, a section of neck muscle is removed and the ends are sutured to bring them together at the front of the neck.
What kind of anesthesia will I have?
Neck lifts may be performed under intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. This may depend on the combination of procedures performed.
Where will my incisions be?
An incision is made under the chin to remove fat from the neck and to tighten the neck muscles. Incisions may also be placed in natural skin creases in front of each ear, although these may not be necessary. The incisions may extend up into the hair behind your ear. An upper and lower eyelid lift or “blepharoplasty” may also be performed at the same time. A brow lift may be performed to elevate the eyebrows, which fall lower with age and gravity, and to eliminate wrinkles and creases from the forehead. Combinations of these procedures may be performed, depending on your individual condition and your goals.
How long is the surgery?
The operating time will vary depending on your individual anatomy, the extent of your specific procedure, and whether any additional procedures are performed. Generally the time is approximately 1-2 hours. The time will be longer if other procedures are combined.
What are the risks?
The decision to have a neck lift is personal and you will need to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Dr. Kirby will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications. Possible risks associated with neck lift surgery include unfavorable scarring, bleeding (hematoma), infection, problems with wound healing, anesthesia risks, hair loss at the incision sites, facial nerve injury with weakness, facial asymmetry, skin loss, numbness or other changes in skin sensation, fat necrosis, fluid accumulation, persistent pain, skin contour irregularities, skin discoloration, sensitivity or swelling, sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal, deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications, and the possibility of revisional surgery.
The scars will be red and raised after surgery, but will usually fade with time. This usually takes 9-12 months. All scars are permanent. The width, height and color of scars is unpredictable. At the appropriate time, Dr. Kirby will advise scar massage using skin cream to improve the appearance of the scar. It is important to wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 or greater when outside to protect the scars from sunlight during the healing process (about 1 year after surgery).
How do I prepare for surgery?
Prior to any procedure, it is necessary to review medications you are taking that may affect your surgery. You may be asked to stop or adjust some medications you are on. As always, it is important to include supplements on your list of medications. Aspirin and aspirin products (Alka-Seltzer, Carisoprodol, Excedrin, Goody’s, Midol), anti-inflammatory medications (except acetaminophen, or Tylenol), and herbal supplements must be avoided for 10 days prior to your surgery. For more details about which medications and supplements to avoid, click here. Dr. Kirby will discuss your medications with you.
Depending on your medical condition, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical checkup prior to your surgery. It is especially important in neck lift surgery that your blood pressure is well controlled. You may be asked to visit your primary care provider to closely control your blood pressure prior to surgery.
Tobacco products impair your body’s ability to heal. You will be asked to stop smoking for 6 weeks prior to any surgery. Tobacco step-down products such as chewing gum and Nicoderm continue to provide your body with tobacco and must be stopped as well. Please ask Dr. Kirby if you will need assistance with quitting.
Be sure to arrange for a responsible adult to drive you to and from your surgery. You will need someone to stay with you the night following your surgery as well.
You will receive specific instructions for your surgery day from Dr. Kirby’s office.
What is my recovery from surgery like?
You will be wearing a compression garment for several weeks to support the newly contoured skin. You should also avoid strenuous activities for several weeks.
You should plan to sleep with your head slightly elevated to help reduce swelling in the area. The contours of your neck may be swollen at first and facial movements may be somewhat stiff due to swelling. Bruising may last for several weeks.
Most people return to their usual activities and return to work approximately 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. Strenuous sports and other vigorous activities should not be performed for 3 to 4 weeks. You may drive when driving does not cause pain or when you are no longer taking pain medication.