in San Antonio TX
What is a Neck Lift?
Neck lift surgery is a cosmetic procedure through which the definition of the jawline and neck can be improved. There are two basic techniques that make this possible. A neck lift, or neck contouring, is a procedure that focuses on the removal of “neck bands” on the front of the neck. This neck lift technique tightens the platysma muscles, therefore improving the appearance of overlying skin. A neck lift tightens the platysma muscles and also the skin and superficial tissue of the jawline (jowls). Neck lift procedures may be joined by liposuction and other facial procedures, such as chin augmentation, to further enhance results.
Am I a Candidate for a Neck Lift?
Good candidates for neck lift surgery are adults who are in good general health and do not smoke. Dr. Schaffer conducts a thorough medical history and consultation during which the expectations of surgery are clearly discussed. It is important to know what is possible from cosmetic surgery and have realistic expectations based on this discussion.
You may be a good candidate for a neck lift if the tissue on your neck appears loose and weak with visible cords or bands. This procedure may also be right for you if you have a double chin. A more extended neck lift may be right for you if the tissue on your neck is loose and wrinkled; if you have a “turkey neck” or double chin and the skin along your jawline is loose and saggy.
What can a neck lift address?
These are the issues Dr. Schaffer targets with his neck lift surgeries:
- Loose neck skin
- Muscle banding
- Double chin
- Fat pockets and relaxed skin at the bottom of the face
- Fat pockets under the chin
Is there a perfect age to have a neck lift?
The realization of the need for a neck lift often comes when the weather heats up here in San Antonio. When we change over to our sundresses and other styles that show off our necks and upper shoulders, it can be suddenly obvious that our neck has aged faster than the facial skin above it. This isn’t unusual. The neck doesn’t benefit from the underlying bone support that our facial skin does.
Is there an age when this typically happens? Not really, as neck aging is quite variable. Dr. Schaffer starts seeing patients interested in neck lifts in their mid to late 40s. But he also sees plenty of patients in their late 50s and 60s.
Can a neck lift be combined with other procedures?
Some degree of a neck lift is usually a part of every facelift, as the lower incisions enable tightening of the area just below the chin. These are not full neck lifts, as these extensions of a facelift typically don’t tighten the platysma muscle.
So, combining a traditional neck lift with a facelift is an obvious way to extend your rejuvenation up through the lower and mid-face areas.
Any facial procedure could really be combined. For instance, blepharoplasty could be combined with a neck lift, particularly if the patient already had a facelift performed in earlier years.
If you’re interested in combining procedures into a single surgical session, this is something to discuss with Dr. Schaffer during your consultation. You do need to take into consideration your recovery, though, as adding an additional surgical area can make an already somewhat involved recovery even more so.
Preparing for Neck Lift Surgery
After our initial medical evaluation and consultation, we may request that patients under lab testing before neck lift surgery. Full pre-operative instructions are provided well in advance of surgery and include details such as:
- Avoiding tobacco
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Some patients may need to stop or modify certain medications
- Avoiding medications and supplements that may increase bleeding
- Fill prescriptions before the day of surgery
- Arrange reliable transportation to and from the surgery center
Neck Lift Procedure
Neck lift surgery is conducted under IV sedation or general anesthesia. The procedure takes place in an accredited outpatient surgery facility.
During surgery, the underlying muscle is accessed through a small incision made just under the chin. Small instruments are inserted through incisions to tighten the platysma muscle. Excessed skin is removed to reveal a smoother surface and the incision is closed. This procedure typically takes 2 to 2.5 hours.
If a full neck lift is performed, the same incision will be made under the chin. An additional incision is made just in front of each ear. Through the chin incision, small instruments tighten platysma muscles and skin before the incision is sutured. Through the incisions at the ears, instruments are inserted to lift and reposition the tissue along the jawline and lower face. Excess skin is removed to reveal a tighter jawline, and incisions are sutured. This procedure typically takes up to 5 hours.
Neck Lift Before & After Photos
Recovery from Neck Lift Surgery
During the initial recovery after surgery, patients are monitored in the surgical center as the anesthesia wears off. A compression garment is also applied around the neck and/or head. This garment supports healing during the first 24 hours and reduces post-surgical swelling. Patients need to leave the garment on for the duration of this time.
Healing is best supported when patients sleep on their back with their head elevated above their heart. This can then be made more comfortable by adding a second pillow beneath the head and shoulders. Swelling and bruising are expected and may appear worse the day after surgery. Depending on the extent of tissue manipulation involved in the surgery, a drain may also be in place for a few days after surgery. This will be removed in our office during the post-operative follow-up visit. Patients are encouraged to take pain medication as needed and follow other surgical instructions provided by our team.
Post-surgical recovery details include:
- Wearing a compression garment for at least the first 24 hours after surgery.
- Sleeping in a slightly elevated position for approximately one week.
- Taking prescription medications as directed.
- Returning to work: 2 weeks after full neck lift.
- Returning to exercise: 2 weeks for low-level exercise, 4 to 6 weeks for the full return to exercise.
- Most bruising and swelling subsides within the first month.
How soon will I see my results after a neck lift?
You’ll be able to see your results as soon as your elastic bandages are removed, but you will have residual swelling across the area. This can last on and off for up to six months before it fully resolves. As your swelling resolves, your results will become more and more evident and they will be very satisfying. During your consultation for your neck lift, Dr. Schaffer will stress the need for some patience in looking for your results afterward with these surgeries.
How long will my results from my neck lift last?
The changes made by Dr. Schaffer are permanent. He’ll tighten the skin, remove unwanted fatty deposits, and remove the neck banding involved with the platysma muscle. These are long-lasting results; your neck skin will never sag and loosen to the same degree again. Our patients from San Antonia and the surrounding areas find these procedures very satisfying.
Of course, nothing can stop the aging process, but future loosening will start from a much younger position. Generally, our patients can expect great results from our neck lifts for 10-15 years and longer. But you’ll see a difference for the rest of your life.
Can I just have liposuction instead of neck lift surgery?
Dr. Schaffer uses some amount of liposuction with many of his neck lift surgeries. But the question of whether a patient would only need liposuction depends on his or her situation. If the sagging you’re concerned about is mainly in the jowls, and if this is caused by pockets of fat basically weighing down the skin, then you could only need liposuction. For this to be fully effective, your skin in your jowls needs to have good elasticity so that it can tighten down once the fat is removed. This would typically be a path for a younger patient who may have gained weight and then lost it.
For older patients, sagging skin is more of an issue. All of our tissues slacken as we age; that’s universal. On the neck, this creates much of the looseness that ages us so much. Also, neck banding is caused by the underlying platysma muscle. These issues have nothing to do with fat accumulation, so liposuction won’t be an effective solution. For loose skin and neck banding, a patient would need a neck lift.
What are the risks involved with a neck lift?
Neck lifts are major surgery, so they involve all of the risks inherent with any surgery: reaction to anesthesia, excessive bleeding, poor wound healing, infection, and the like. Dr. Schaffer is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has been in practice for over three decades; his extensive training, expertise, and experience make these issues exceedingly rare.
For neck lifts specifically, there can be nerve injury, although this is typically temporary. As long as you follow our recovery instructions, these are low-risk procedures.
“Dr. Schaffer did an amazing job! I am very pleased with the results. I highly recommend him if you need help. He has a great team that are very helpful and supportive. They make you feel like family. He is an expert hands down with his work.”
Neck Lift Costs
The cost of a neck lift varies depending on contributing factors such as:
- Surgeon’s fee
- Procedures involved
- Medical screenings
- Anesthesia fees
- Surgical facility fees
- Post-surgical costs such as garments and medication