Steps to Getting a Neck Lift Surgery
- 31 July 2016
- Dr. Mark Broudo
Your neck may seldom get noticed by others, but getting a neck lift surgery is actually one of the best ways to instantly rejuvenate your appearance.
The neck is one of the body parts where signs of aging first start to show, so improving its appearance through a neck lift can make you look and feel a lot younger.
Also known as platysmaplasty, the neck lift is a pretty straightforward procedure that involves the alteration of neck muscles to improve the visible signs of aging on your neck and jawline. The surgery generally lasts between two and three hours, depending on the extent of the surgery and whether or not it is combined with another procedure.
To get an idea of how your surgeon performs a neck lift surgery, here is a rundown of the steps involved in this procedure.
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Creating the incision
Since the neck lift is a surgical procedure, anesthesia administration is important. The type of anesthesia largely depends on the preferences of both the patient and the surgeon. For many patients, local anesthesia combined with a sedative is enough. However, some choose to be unconscious during the surgery, hence choosing general anesthesia.
After administering the anesthesia, your surgeon will first mark the areas where the incisions will be placed. The pre-operative markings are done while you are in a sitting position to make sure that they are accurate.
For the traditional neck lift, the incision often begins in the hairline at the level of the sideburns, continuing down and around the ear, and then ending in the posterior hair. If the neck lift is combined with liposuction for the removal of excess fat, a small stab incision may be necessary.
Removal of excess fat
More often than not, excess fat deposits are removed from the neck. They may be sculpted or even redistributed from the jowls and neck.
The liposuction is performed using a cannula directed just beneath the surface of the skin. The skin should be tented upward during this stage. The cannula is then moved in a fan or spoke-wheel pattern in order to reduce the fat from both the central and peripheral regions of the neck. Your surgeon will be able to figure out if the right amount of fat has been removed by pinching the skin and feeling only a thin layer of fat between the rolled-up skin. This layer is typically only three to four millimeters thick.
For those needing extensive removal of fat, the small stab incision might need to be enlarged up to three centimeters in order to help your surgeon properly visualize the fat on your neck and jaw areas. A retractor may even be needed to excise the fat using long forceps and scissors.
There is a risk of damaging the nerves and veins of the neck in this step, so make sure that you only get a neck lift from an experienced and board-certified plastic surgeon.
Removal of bands
The actual removal of neck bands is done by creating a fold on the neck muscles that extends from the lower part of the jaw to the thyroid cartilage. Sutures are used to create a muscle sling that will hold the fold in place, tighten the neck muscles, and reposition the underlying neck tissues. Sometimes, a small portion of the neck muscles may even be removed in order to restore the youthful appearance of your neck and enhance the definition of your jawline.
There is also another neck lift technique known as purse-string platysmaplasty, which is often done on male patients and those with poorly defined necks. It is especially helpful in rejuvenating the male lower face and neck because of the heavier deeper structures of the male neck.
The purse-string platysmaplasty adds a third dimension to the neck by folding the neck muscles back on itself in order to form a cavity or pouch. This is held in place using sutures and is fastened to deeper neck tissues, hence adding support and definition to the neck contour.
Removal of excess skin
Before closing the incisions, your doctor will remove any excess skin in order to complete your neck lift surgery. Though most neck lifts only need an incision around the ear, more comprehensive incisions may be needed if you also need to remove excess fat and skin on your neck.
If you have sagging neck skin, your surgeon creates another vertical incision in the middle of your neck in order to get better access to your neck muscles and jawline. The placement of sutures is critical because this is responsible for defining your jawline. Skin is redraped over the uplifted contours and pulled tautly. Any excess skin is then trimmed away before sutures are closed. In some cases, direct excision of excess skin is done using a Z-plasty technique.
Keep in mind that removal of excess skin is not performed on some patients undergoing fat reduction only.
Closing the incision
Incisions are closed with minimal tension using sutures and adhesives like skin glue. Your surgeon will let you know whether the sutures will dissolve on their own or will need to be removed after a few days.
A drain may be placed for a couple of days in order to prevent accumulation of fluid in the post-operative area and prevent swelling and discomfort. You will also be fitted with a compression bandage that you need to wear to help reduce post-operative swelling. This is usually worn all day and night for five to seven days, and then only at night for a longer period of time.
Your cosmetic surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to take care of your drain and change your bandages after your surgery to ensure proper recovery.
Aside from a neck lift, you can also ask your plastic surgeon to perform other facial surgeries with it such as a facelift, chin augmentation, and nose lift. You can discuss the neck lift and other related surgeries with one of our board-certified cosmetic surgeons here on Face + Body Cosmetic Surgery. Schedule a Free Consultation with us to learn more about various facial procedures.