While most people focus on the signs of aging on their face, the neck area often gets overlooked. This can leave a person with a rejuvenated face, but with neck bands and sagging skin. Not exactly a great combination for our warm Texas weather. Read more to find out how neck lift surgery by Dr. Altamira can rejuvenate your neck area.
What is a neck lift?
A neck lift is clinically known as either a lower rhytidectomy (if the skin is mainly addressed) or a platysmaplasty (if the underlying muscles are the target). It targets changes due to aging of the skin and muscles of the neck, issues such as neck banding and jowls. While an injectable product, Kybella, has come on the market to dissolve fat under the chin and alleviate some of the need for a neck lift, issues such as banding and loose skin can only be corrected with surgery.
Would a neck lift be right for me?
As mentioned above, if excess fat pockets are the predominant problem leading to a double chin, liposuction or Kybella alone can be effective. But if sagging skin, excessive wrinkling, and the “turkey wattle” are the problem, a neck lift is the answer. These are the visible signs of aging that a neck lift can correct:
- Loose neck skin
- Loose skin under the chin
- Muscle banding on the neck
- Jaw lines
- Double chin
- Relaxed skin in the lower face
On some people, their neck skin can age faster than their facial skin. This is especially true if the person has spent a lot of time in the sun with their neck exposed. The sagging and bending that results respond well to a neck lift.
How is a neck lift done?
Dr. Altamira uses two methods for his neck lift procedures, depending on the kind of changes the patient seeks in the neck and chin area.
- Traditional neck lift: For a traditional neck lift, Dr. Altamira makes an incision that originates in the sideburn area and continues down below the ear, terminating in the hair at the back of the scalp. He pulls the skin away and tends to the fat, usually re-sculpting it, especially in the jowl area. If there is a good deal of fat pushing down and creating a double chin, Dr. Altamira may use limited liposuction to remove it. If necessary, a second incision may be made under the chin for better access. After dealing with the fat, next up is the platysma muscle. This muscle runs from the upper parts of the pectoral and deltoid muscles all the way up onto and around the jaw. This is the muscle that creates neck banding when it loosens. Dr. Altamira tightens the platysma to eliminate this banding. The last step is to pull the skin back up, re-draping it and trimming away any excess.
- Limited incision neck lift: Rather than the relatively lengthy incision required with a traditional neck lift, here Dr. Altamira makes small incisions only around the ears. Of course, the limited size of the incisions also only allows a smaller degree of tightening and repositioning.
How Painful is a Neck Lift?
After a neck lift, many patients experience a little soreness or tightness near the incisions. However, this discomfort can be easily managed and usually goes away within 2 weeks. While sleeping, try to keep your head elevated to reduce swelling. You should also avoid turning your neck as much as possible for the first week or so.
What is recovery like?
Full recovery from your neck lift will take some time. This is due to the excessive twisting involved with the human neck. When you return home you’ll have elastic bandages around your lower face and neck to minimize swelling and bruising. Obviously, you won’t be able to twist your neck or bend it very far forward. You’ll need to sleep with your head elevated. Unlike most areas after surgery, you cannot apply ice to the neck area after a neck lift. This can restrict blood flow and damage the skin in the area.
Most patients return to work in 10 to 14 days. But you need to be patient when it comes to your results. Swelling tends to linger in this area, taking up to six months to fully dissipate. You’ll also need to avoid any sports and strenuous exercise, particularly those involving any twisting of the neck, for at least six weeks.
What Are the Benefits of a Neck Lift?
There are several benefits you can expect from a neck lift surgery performed by Dr. Altamira. In addition to reducing excess skin under the neck and along the jawline, a neck lift surgery can:
- Minimize lower facial lines and wrinkles
- Tighten underlying facial muscles
- Give the chin and jawline a youthful contour
- Provide long-lasting results
Neck lift surgery also has the added benefit of a quick recovery compared to other surgeries. Most patients can see the results right after the procedure as well.
What Kind of Results Can I Expect from Neck Lift Surgery?
Once you near the end of your recovery, you will notice a tremendous improvement in the shape of your jowls as well as the smoothness of your skin. Wrinkles and creases around your neck will be diminished and muscle banding will be reduced. Loose skin will also be gone, restoring a natural contour to your jawline. Excess fat underneath the chin will be eliminated as well, minimizing the appearance of a double chin.
How do I Maintain my Post-Op Results?
Once you recover from your surgery, there are some steps you can take to prolong the results of your procedure. First, make sure to avoid excessive sunlight. Exposure to UV light is the number one cause of skin aging and can reduce the elasticity of your skin. To protect your results, wear a wide-brimmed hat or sunscreen when outside for extended periods of time.
Second, try to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly. Fresh fruits and vegetables high in vitamin A will support your skin health, while physical activity will prevent fat from being deposited under the chin. Foods high in vitamin A include spinach, carrots, sweet potato, peppers, eggs, and milk.
Finally, if you smoke, try to quit. Nicotine not only restricts blood flow to your skin, but also damages both collagen and elastin. These natural chemicals are responsible for keeping your skin smooth and elastic.
Will Neck Lift Surgery Leave a Scar?
A neck lift surgery will involve some scarring at the incision sites. However, Dr. Altamira strategically places these incisions behind the ears or under the chin, hiding them from view. Over time, these scars will fade to a light pink color, making them even more difficult to see.
The best way to reduce the appearance of your scars is to follow your post-operative instructions. In addition, you should avoid prolonged sun exposure, which can damage scar tissue.
What Are Some Potential Risks Associated With Neck Lift Surgery?
Like any other form of surgery, there is a risk of potential complications with neck lift surgery. This includes:
- Changes in skin sensation
- Prolonged swelling
- Skin discoloration
- Facial asymmetry
- Hair loss around incisions
- Nerve injury
For this reason, it is important to work with an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Altamira. He will thoroughly examine your medical history and provide detailed care instructions to reduce the risk of complications.
Schedule A Consultation
If you are interested in Neck lift surgery and would like to see if you are a good candidate, call (713) 271-9000 to schedule a consultation. Dr. Altamira has plastic surgery offices located in Houston and Sugar Land, Texas.