A neck lift includes any procedure to rejuvenate the neck by removing excess skin and fat and tightening underlying muscles where applicable. Like a face lift, there are significant artistic options available to achieve a desired goal.
A full neck lift involves an incision beneath the chin and others around the ear and in front of the hairline behind the ear. Any procedure that offers smaller incisions would be considered a “mini” lift. Depending on the quality of your skin and your neck anatomy, your surgeon will make his/her recommendation regarding the type of neck lift that would work best for you. In order to ensure total facial harmony, a neck lift is frequently performed in combination with a facelift and eyelid surgery. Drains are common in neck lifts.
Liposuction is also an option for those who have fatty necks and relatively good skin. Like all neck lifts, the goal is to reduce neck fullness, improve neck definition, and improve the neck skin.
Open Anterior Neck Lift vs. Neck Liposuction
Younger patients with good skin and excess fat are great candidates for either liposuction of the neck or an anterior neck lift. It’s important to understand the differences between these two procedures in terms of what can be accomplished.
Liposuction is a wonderful tool to contour the fat that is situated beneath the skin and above the thin neck muscle. However, liposuction cannot contour the fat that is below the muscle. This is different fat; it is very fibrous, while the fat above the muscle is quite loose and easily removed with a liposuction cannula.
The fat beneath the muscle can be quite variable in size and distribution. It’s very difficult to determine the extent of these two different fat locations based on an examination of the neck. Contouring of the submuscular fat can potentially offer a very big improvement in the neck contour if treated adequately. This is one of the main reasons why I generally recommend to patients that they consider liposuction as well as an anterior neck lift (so that the pocket of fat below the muscle can be treated as well). The incision beneath the chin is small and inconspicuous.
Dr. Caridi's Take
Improvements in the neck go a very long way to creating a youthful appearance. Full necks with no neck angle and no distinction between the face and the neck is unflattering. Improvements in neck procedures now include a “limited anterior neck” procedure. In properly selected patients, all the improvements that are needed can be performed though a small incision beneath the chin. A “full neck” procedure with incisions around and behind the ears isn’t needed in many cases. A “weekend neck lift” or “thread lift” is essentially a marketing spin on a typical anterior neck lift that I have described here.
Local, IV Sedation and General Anesthesia.
Risks and Benefits:
The risks include bleeding with hematoma formation or a “blood collection” beneath the skin. Irregularities can occur as well as a “tight band” under the chin from the healing muscle edge. Infection is uncommon but can occur. The incisions are typically well hidden and fade with time. Smoking is a relative contraindication in a full neck lift. In the right candidate it can dramatically improve your appearance, restore a youthful jaw line, and take years off your age.
Following surgery patients may experience discomfort, tightness, swelling and bruising, all of which typically resolve over time. The neck will feel somewhat “woody” for about six weeks or so. The patient can usually return to work after one week or longer depending on the individual. Exercise and strenuous activity may be resumed at two weeks following surgery. A neck support band is often recommended to ensure the best result.