Some of the signs of aging or after-effects of significant weight loss can be a double chin, drooping skin, and loss of definition along the jawline.
A neck lift is a surgical procedure that lifts and tightens the skin on the neck and jawline, eliminating jowls and creating a smoother, more defined look. A neck lift may be done alone or as part of a face lift.
Often extra fatty tissue is localized in a specific area on the body and may not change even when you lose weight. The neck is a common area for these stubborn fat deposits to accumulate. You may be a good candidate for a neck lift if you have no major medical problems and wish to tighten the skin and/or remove stubborn neck fat. You must be emotionally mature, understand your motivations for having this procedure, and have realistic expectations about what the surgery can achieve. You cannot be a smoker.
During your consultation, your surgeon will listen to your goals and concerns and then complete a careful physical examination to assess your neck and see how the surgery can correct the problems you identify. They will then go over all your options and discuss with you what the surgery will entail, including outcomes and recovery time.
Day surgery approx. 3-4 hours
Light activity the next day.
Back to work in 3-4 weeks
Sometimes liposuction can correct the double chin and fat deposits but that alone will not fix loose skin or sagging muscles. If these conditions need to be addressed, your best option would be a combination of surgery and liposuction to remove the fatty tissue and excess skin and to correct and tighten the muscle bands. The procedure involves making a small, inconspicuous incision that starts just in front of the earlobe but runs mainly in the hairline behind the ear.
In some case, a second incision under the chin is necessary. Your surgeon will discuss this and any other issue with you during your consultation so you can make the most informed decision about what is right for you.
Before your surgery, you will have a pre-operative visit with a nurse to review the details about what to expect during your surgery and recovery. You may need to get some baseline blood tests and sometimes meet with an anesthesiologist prior to surgery. You will be asked to stop taking any over-the-counter pain or fever medicines (except Tylenol) and blood thinners for two weeks prior to your procedure. Many herbal medicines can also cause bleeding and so need to be stopped before surgery, such as ginkgo biloba, St. John’s Wort, and high doses of fish oil, flax seed oil, or vitamin E.
Expect to have some discomfort for a couple of weeks, especially for the first 48 hours following your surgery. This can be controlled with the pain pills prescribed by your surgeon. You will be able to shower and wash your hair within 24-48 hours. Extensive swelling, bruising, and skin discoloration is very common and usually will subside within 3 weeks. A special dressing is worn after surgery to reduce swelling and bruising.
You may be able to resume light work or school within 2 weeks, although most people take 3-4 weeks off with a neck lift procedure. Returning to work should be discussed with your surgeon before your surgery.
It will take 6-12 months for you to see the final benefits of your neck lift surgery.
As with any surgery, there are risks. These include the normal surgical risks of infection, scarring, delayed wound healing, bruising, and bleeding. Complications specific to this surgery are asymmetry, numb skin, and contour irregularities. However, all risks in this procedure are rare. They will all be discussed further during your consultation.