Other Associated Terms: Cervicoplasty, Platysmaplasty.
For those who have just had a facelift, you may have noticed that your skin appears mostly wrinkle-free, youthful and has the desired tautness that you originally sought. However, below your chin may be another story altogether. Signs of aging, for most, usually first appear at the neck area. Excess fat, loose and hanging skin of the neck can subsequently be addressed with a cosmetic neck-lift.
The benefits of a neck-lift can boost confidence and self-esteem by providing you with a younger, more vibrant look. It can also give the appearance of having lost weight through the removal of excess neck fat. A neck-lift combined with other procedures (such as a chin augmentation and a facelift) will give you a facial makeover that can drastically improve your appearance.
The ideal patient is someone who is in good health, both physically and psychologically who desires to improve the appearance of their neck. They should have realistic expectations of the procedure outcome and understand all the details of the procedure and the aspects of its recovery.
A neck-lift is usually performed by a plastic surgeon that is board-certified. The procedure can be done in the doctor’s surgical suite, outpatient medical center or a local hospital. The time frame of the surgery will depend on the actual procedure and can last from one to several hours.
Local or general anesthesia may be used and an overnight hospital stay may be involved (discuss this with your surgeon). Endoscopic procedures involve using a small instrument (endoscope camera) that aids the surgeon visually. The advantages of this type of surgery include shorter recovery times, the use of local anesthesia, limited bruising and smaller incisions. This option should also be discussed with your cosmetic surgeon.
It’s possible that your neck-lift procedure may also require liposuction to reduce fat deposits. If this is the case, then the liposuction is usually done first. After the anesthetic takes effect, an initial incision is made underneath the chin and a cannula (small hollow tube) is inserted. The excess fat is removed by suction, once the cannula is used to break up fat deposits. Afterwards, the doctor will apply a bandage to address discomfort and swelling.
A cervicoplasty is designed to address excess skin located on the neck. After the anesthesia takes effect, the surgeon will make incisions underneath your chin and behind your ears (sometimes just one of those locations). The skin will then be cut back, lifted and secured with permanent stitches or a special form of permanent glue. The surgeon will apply a bandage at the incision sites to address discomfort and swelling before applying an elastic bandage to the head and neck.
A platysmaplasty is designed to address a banded look of the neck muscles. After the anesthesia takes effect, the surgeon will make incisions in the same locations as in a cervicoplasty (underneath the chin, behind the ears or both). An instrument will then be inserted in order to realign a section of targeted neck muscles or to remove a portion of them.
This will serve to tighten the neck’s middle region. The muscles will be permanently sutured to remain in the desired position. The surgeon will apply a bandage at the incision sites to address discomfort and swelling before applying an elastic bandage to the head and neck.
Recovery from the liposuction procedure may entail some swelling and bruising that can last up to 10 days. During this time, you will be advised to use pillows in order to keep your neck and head elevated.
Prescriptions for an antibiotic and pain management will also be given. However, abnormally severe pain should be brought to your cosmetic surgeon’s attention immediately. Physical activity restrictions will also be provided by your doctor. Sutures (stitches) will be removed after a week (unless they are of the dissolvable type and disappear on their own).
The bandage is usually removed 24 hours after surgery – but a protective elastic bandage will be worn during your rest/sleep period for at least 2 weeks after surgery. It will take 3-6 months for the final results to be evident.
Recovery from a cervicoplasty or a platysmaplasty involves the same procedures as for thementioned earlier.
Risks Associated with Neck Lift Surgery
All surgery carries certain inherent risks. Standard risks include infection (which can be treated with antibiotics), bleeding, swelling, bruising and an adverse reaction to anesthesia. Numbness may also occur which can be temporary (or in rare cases, be permanent). Most of these issues, however, are temporary and are easily treatable.
Risks that are specific to neck-lift surgeries can include nerve damage to the areas that control the muscles of the neck. Visible scarring is also a possibility and the time frame for healing will vary, depending on the physiology of the patient. Pooling of blood underneath the skin (hematoma) can also occur and may necessitate an additional surgery to correct.
As mentioned earlier, infection is an inherent risk and frequent monitoring of your body temperature can be used to detect this possibility. Any elevation in body temperature should be immediately reported to your doctor or the on-call medical response team. The same is true for any pus or discharge that is noticed at the incision sites.
Neck-lifts may require more than one procedure, so there can be significant variations in cost. The cost for a neck-lift may also be reduced if it’s performed in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures such as a forehead or facelift.
The average neck-lift cost ranges from $5,000 – $8,000 but can run up to $14,000 or more, depending on the experience of the surgeon, the region where the surgery is performed and the procedure, itself.
A discussion of costs (to include anesthesia fees, facility fees and miscellaneous expenses) should be discussed with your cosmetic surgeon during your consultation. Since most medical insurance companies do not cover neck-lift procedures, you may need to discuss financing options with your doctor, as well.
Things to Discuss with Your Surgeon During Your Consultation
During your consultation, there are various topics that you will wish to discuss with your cosmetic surgeon. The first thing you may wish to determine is whether or not your expectations are reasonable, regarding the surgery outcome. What specific procedure is recommended and why? Numerous before and after photos should be reviewed and you will need to know the level of experience your surgeon possesses. For example – how many surgeries of your type have he or she performed in the last year?
You will also have questions that are specific to the procedure, itself. How is the neck-lift procedure performed? Where is the procedure performed and is it an accredited facility? What are your anesthesia options? What is involved in the recovery? What are the risks involved and how many of your surgeon’s patients have experienced complications with this procedure? What is the policy for correcting surgeries that do not produce agreed upon results? What are the total costs of the procedure and is financing available (if needed)?