Neck Lift General Information

What is a Neck Lift and who is a candidate for the procedure?

A neck lift is a surgical procedure which may offer a smoother and more toned appearance to skin under the chin and neck area which has lost elasticity. The procedure may provide dramatic results on its own or when performed in conjunction with other procedures, such as liposuction. Patients with visible banding on the neck may undergo a neck lift to reveal smoother and more toned skin.  Fat deposits in the neck area may also be removed via liposuction.

Candidacy for a neck lift is a determination made by the practicing physician. Many significant factors must be considered for each patient including age, health factors, diet and family history.  A reasonable expectation level is also important.  Prospective candidates are in good health and have no serious illnesses or allergies that may interfere with a successful surgery. Patients with a healthy skin tone which has retained some of its elasticity and ability to uniformly heal after surgery are generally the best prospective candidates.

How is a Neck Lift performed and what is the recovery like?

Neck rejuvenation procedures are usually performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia. A consultation with the practicing physician will determine how the procedure will be performed based on the physician’s advice and the patient’s goals.  Depending on the patient’s skin elasticity and overall situation, a full neck lift may be recommended.

The specific procedure being performed will warrant either local or general anesthesia to keep the patient comfortable. When a neck lift is performed, the skin surrounding the chin and neck is examined and marked to determine where the neck contours should lay post-surgery.  Any excess skin beyond those contours is removed.

The removal of excess skin is what essentially offers an even more refined neck and jaw line.  Incisions are carefully placed where scars are least visible, usually behind the ears.  The exact location of incisions may be thoroughly discussed with the practicing physician to more fully understand the entire procedure.

After surgery, there may be swelling and discomfort accompanied by bruising.  Swelling and bruising are generally gone within a week though every patient heals at a unique rate based on a number of different factors.  An elastic garment may also be worn around the chin and neck area to support the healing process.  Following post-operative care and the directions of the practicing physician is crucial for a successful recovery.  

Follow-up appointments with the surgeon are important to facilitate the healing process as well.  Sutures may need to be removed in about two weeks.  The healing process continues for a few months after the procedure and results gradually become obvious as the body heals with time. Most patients may return to normal activities within a day or so, though the specific recovery details for each patient may differ and should be discussed with the physician in detail.

What risks are associated with Neck Lifts and what preparation may be necessary?

Some of the primary risks associated with neck lift operations involve the nerves and muscles of the face and neck area.  Damaging these important nerves is one risk of surgery which could result in the inability to move certain muscles of the face and neck. 

Scarring is another obvious risk which accompanies most all surgical procedures.  Though every effort is made to place incisions in areas which are not readily visible, some scarring may be visible and this aspect of the surgery should be thoroughly discussed with the practicing physician.  There are scar removal techniques currently available, however each patient's body will handle scarring differently and some types of scars may be more challenging to remove.

Ceasing the ingestion of any and all over the counter, herbal, and prescription medications and vitamins that affect bleeding to decrease your risk of hematoma formation is vital to prepare the body for surgery.  Patients should cease smoking for at least two weeks prior to surgery (even longer ideally), and smokers can face unique or elevated risks which should be thoroughly understood.  Due to this, discussing lifestyle and any forms of consumption which can affect the body's ability to heal should be thoroughly discussed with the cosmetic surgeon.

Choosing an experienced and professional cosmetic surgeon may help to drastically minimize many of the side effects that may accompany cosmetic procedures.  There are a number of other risks involved which may be related to the body's reaction to anesthesia, the technique used when performing the neck lift, whether multiple procedures are combined (such as combining a neck lift with liposuction), among other factors.

This list is not exhaustive and the risks and potential side effects associated with neck lift procedures ought to be treated seriously and in-depth discussion with a professional cosmetic surgeon is necessary to fully understand what to expect.

How much do Neck Lifts generally cost?

Neck lift procedure costs vary based on location, the cosmetic surgeon, demand, the time and effort required during the procedure, as well as what's required during the procedure from start to finish (lab fees, anesthesiologist, hospital stay fee, etc.)  Generally, spending anywhere from $3,000-$6,000 may be expected, and the cost of course can go higher if other procedures, such as liposuction, are performed simultaneously.

The exact cost of the procedure is of course highly variable and based on the specific situation.  To consult with a cosmetic surgeon and discuss neck lift procedures and the overall cost, find a surgeon in your area that is right for you.

Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.

By OnlineSurgery Staff
Updated: November 13, 2008

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