The neck plays an important role in both facial and body aesthetics as it separates these two distinct parts of the human form. Highlighting the lower face, the neck is almost always visible. Fat accumulation coupled with skin laxity can cause a person to appear heavier than they are due to the proportion of the neck. Neck lift surgery, known medically as lower rhytidectomy or plastysmaplasty, is a plastic surgery procedure performed by triple board certified facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Louis DeJoseph, at Premier Image Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Atlanta, GA.
Neck Aesthetics – Why Do They Change?
The appearance of the neck can change over time due to a variety of factors. While age is often a common culprit, other factors like excess sun exposure and weight fluctuations can alter the appearance of the neck.
Aging is a natural process that is marked by many physical changes. However, some patients feel that their appearance does not reflect their youthful energy from within. Gravity, differences in tissue distribution under the skin, and environmental exposure all contribute to the look of what some refer to as a “turkey neck” or “turkey gobbler.” Often, neck lift surgery is paired with face lift surgery to address slack muscles, extra skin and excess fat accumulation of the face and neck. While the procedure creates permanent results, it cannot prevent future signs of aging. Though many patients undergo a single neck lift during their lifetime, others opt to have a touch-up procedure performed years later if needed. Because most people will develop this cosmetic issue as they mature, some opt for preventative measures as early as their mid-thirties or forties, such as Nectifirm cream or minimally invasive treatments like Juvederm or Radiesse treatments to firm the skin of the jawline. Patients may be good candidates for non-surgical treatment plans or just the liposuction portion of the neck lift procedure if they have healthy, elastic skin.
The face, neck, and décolleté are some of the first areas to display the side effects of the aging process. Because of our natural upright posture, these regions are exposed to the harmful rays of the sun more than other parts of the body. While society as a whole is becoming more aware of environmental concerns like the sun’s ultraviolet rays, many people have only recently developed good sun protection habits and have existing damage. Once visible changes have taken place, cosmetic correction is the best option to restore a healthy look to the neck. If a patient is also concerned with the texture of the skin and brown spots, Dr. DeJoseph may recommend a series of laser skin refinishing treatments for maximum aesthetic improvement.
As people gain and lose weight, the skin’s elasticity can be stretched beyond capacity, making it unable to return its original position. This unfortunate consequence affects both the face and body. The neck may display extra skin that hangs loosely, as well as stubborn fat below the chin. This can create the illusion that a person remains overweight, even after major weight loss. Some patients complain of having a double or even triple chin following bariatric surgery or strict lifestyle changes. Surgical correction addresses a patient’s aesthetic concerns and can be the final step of a physical transformation.
How is the Neck Lift Performed?
During a patient’s surgical appointment to undergo a neck lift, Dr. DeJoseph will meet with him or her to discuss the procedure and answer any remaining questions, though this information is typically also addressed during the initial consultation. The doctor may use a special marker to help plan out his surgery by examining the area, feeling the neck to determine the location of its important anatomical structures and locating the incision sites. Next, the patient will be medically induced into a comfortable and painless rest, through either local anesthesia and intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia.
Once the patient is fully asleep, Dr. DeJoseph creates an incision behind each ear near the earlobe to gain access to the neck tissues. In more extensive cases, the doctor may have to create larger incisions. Below the skin, the platysma, or muscle band, found in both sides of the neck may be surgically tightened. The restructuring can include surgical cuts to this fibrous sheet, or an elevation of the tissue, leaving it fully intact.
The doctor often uses liposuction to sculpt the fat of the jawline (jowls) and neck. An incision is created below the chin, where a small cannula can access the adipose tissue to perform lipo-sculpting. Depending on a patient’s desired aesthetics, the fat may be completely removed or distributed to areas lacking in volume. Extra fat can cause features like the jawline and chin, which help create structure in the facial shape, to lack definition and detract from a person’s attractiveness. The result is a weak chin from both the front and side profile views.
Often, patients seeking the neck lift complain of excess skin. Though no two neck lift surgeries are performed alike, many do require the excision of some of this overlying tissue. In cases requiring minimal correction, or where skin laxity is not an aesthetic concern, the doctor may not cut away the skin because a sleeker neck can be achieved through other surgical methods.
The doctor will review his work and perform any final changes, re-drape the skin over the neck, then close the incisions. As a triple board-certified facial plastic surgeon, Dr. DeJoseph is an expert in facial anatomy and he carefully hides and mends the incisions so a patient’s cosmetic work can remain undetected. This series of techniques creates a structured, yet smooth jaw and neckline to enhance the patient’s appearance.
Dear Dr. DeJoseph & Staff, I want to let you know how happy I am with my face. You did a great job again. You truly are an artist. I love everything you did, but nobody can get over the neck ! This really does make me feel so much better about my face. You may have a new patient soon (my husband). He doesn’t want me to get too far ahead. Ha I’ve gotten so many compliments and I owe it all to you. You are an incredible doctor and I’m so glad I found you… Tammy Please tell everyone I said hi, and thanks for the great service! We love you guys!!!
Candidates for Neck Lift
While some plastic surgery procedures are gender-specific, neck lift surgery can be successfully performed on men and women alike. Dr. DeJoseph takes care in maintaining the feminine or masculine characteristics of the face. Prospective patients are generally cleared for surgery if they are deemed physically and mentally fit and do not have any conditions that may complicate the surgery or affect its healing process. Neck lift patients can be of any adult age (18 and older) with a variety of concerns that may benefit from the procedure.
Approved patients will be expected to change aspects of their lifestyles prior to surgery if they pose a risk to their health or the final outcome of neck lift surgery. Smokers need to stop smoking in the weeks prior to their scheduled procedure, and those who are on certain medications or eat an unhealthy diet may be asked to make changes. In some patients, a medical clearance from their primary care doctor is necessary to ensure patient safety. Dr. DeJoseph may request medical records, blood tests, and X-rays or tissues scans to ensure the best possible patient experience.
Recovering from Neck Lift
The healing period for a neck lift is between 5-7 days in most cases. If the surgery is performed alongside other procedures, like QT Face Lift™ or rhinoplasty, healing may be prolonged. Some patients will experience postoperative bruising, which may take longer to fade. Swelling of the neck and redness near the incision sites can be camouflaged with makeup and clothing, once approved by Dr. DeJoseph.
Common FAQs about Neck Lift
How is neck lift performed?
The hallmark of a great plastic surgeon is to individualize a treatment plant to a patient, offering a fully-customized procedure. While neck lift will vary among patients, the surgery generally includes a tightening of the underlying muscle structure and the removal of extra fat and skin.
What type of anesthesia is administered during neck lift surgery?
The two most common forms of anesthesia offered are local anesthesia combined with intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia will provide numbing to the area while medications can offer a controlled sleep. General anesthesia performs both of these functions and affects the whole body rather than just the neck area. In many cases, general anesthesia is reserved for more complex procedures affecting various regions of the body, and it may not be necessary for neck or facial corrections.
Can younger patients undergo neck lift?
Patients should be adults who have finished growing and can undergo neck lift surgery if approved by Dr. DeJoseph. Fat distribution changes during the adult years, so a younger person with a double chin may find that this tissue naturally dissipates as they age. In other cases, a person may have always noticed their lower face appeared fuller or, due to weight gain, their double chin formed. In younger patients with the main cosmetic concern of adipose tissue accumulation, submental (under the chin) liposuction may be the only step necessary if the skin remains firm and elastic.
Should I undergo facelift and neck lift surgery together?
Patients who display signs of aging on both their face and neck should consider undergoing this dual correction. If he or she only opts to have a neck lift performed, the contrast between a youthful neck and aging face can appear unharmonious to facial aesthetics.
About Dr. DeJoseph of Atlanta, GA
Dr. Louis DeJoseph leads the team of medical experts at Premier Image Cosmetic & Laser Surgery. Dr. DeJoseph developed an early passion for medicine, with an emphasis on aesthetic care for patients. Plastic surgery is one of the few branches of medicine that can enhance a person’s self-confidence, which is both personally and professionally rewarding for him as a surgeon. In his quest to provide the best patient care possible, Dr. DeJoseph is very active in developing the latest, most advanced techniques in facial plastic surgery to provide natural aesthetic results with minimal downtime. Schedule your consultation today by contacting Premier Image Cosmetic & Laser Surgery practice in Sandy Springs, GA, at 770.457.6303, or complete the office’s Contact Us form.