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The decision as to whether a neck lift, a facelift, or both procedures are right for you is based on the concerns you seek to address and the results you want to achieve. While these two procedures are commonly performed simultaneously to maintain facial balance and harmony, there is no rule saying that one must be performed alongside the other.
Neck lift surgery can, in fact, be performed as a standalone treatment.
Addressing Aging in the Neck
The skin and tissues of the neck are particularly prone to the effects of aging, in the same manner as the face. Loss of skin elasticity in the neck area results in jowls, loose skin, and a visible “turkey neck” that can make an individual more conscious about age-related facial changes than they desire to be.
A neck lift addresses visible signs of aging in the jawline and neck by removing sagging skin and excess fat deposits and tightening the neck structures to provide a smoother and more slender-looking neck.
How Is a Neck Lift Performed?
Neck lift surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, typically under intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. During your surgery, incisions are made under the chin and/or behind the ears to lift the skin off the underlying muscles and reposition it into a more youthful position. The incision location is very inconspicuous and should be imperceptible even with hair pulled back into a ponytail. Excess skin is redistributed and resected as needed, and tightening of laxity along the neck muscle (platysma) is performed, along with debulking of fatty excess where appropriate.
Once the surgery is complete, incisions are closed using sutures. Sutures are usually completely out by the first post-operative week.
What Can I Expect From My Recovery?
Patients may expect to experience mild bruising, redness, and swelling following the surgery. These effects should, however, reside within a few days. Patients are encouraged to wear a light support bandage that offers mild compression along the neck contour and helps reduce swelling. Pain medication is administered to ease pain in the post-operative recovery phase.
Since the procedure is surgical in nature, some downtime is expected—although most patients can resume work in one to two weeks. Strenuous activities are discouraged for the first month with a gradual return to normal activity after that time. In the meantime, patients are advised to follow all patient care instructions provided by the surgeon. Patients will notice significant improvements in the neck as scars mature over the initial several months.
Neck Lift and Facelift Surgery Options
A neck lift is ideal for individuals with significant sagging in the neck area without much visible facial aging. Although many patients achieve a beautiful, natural-looking rejuvenation with a neck lift, performing the procedure alone may not be appropriate for some patients because some age concerns may be more comprehensively addressed by extending surgical planning to incorporate the central or upper face.
Very commonly, a neck lift and facelift are integrated into a single procedure for seamless aesthetic and functional results.