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What is a neck lift?

Neck lift is a surgical procedure performed to improve the appearance of the neck, specifically the area under the jawline, by reducing the loose sagging skin. Also called cervicoplasty or platysmaplasty firms and tightens the neck area.

How long does neck lift surgery take?

The procedure usually takes two to three hours, but the time may differ accordingly if other surgeries such as liposuction, facelift or blepharoplasty are performed at the same time.

The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. There are a number of methods for this procedure, but the most common involves a small incision, made under the patient’s chin, in front or behind the ear to access the platysma (neck muscle) and tighten as required. Excess skin is then also removed.

Can I have liposuction with my neck lift.

Yes, but keep in mind that this procedure is suitable for people with a BMI under 30. Dr Sharp sometimes combines the procedure with liposuction on the neck to remove small amounts of excess fat. A drain is placed on the neck to drain fluid and decrease the swelling for the 48 hours after surgery. The patient featured below had facelift, neck lift and liposuction surgery. She is shown here 6 weeks after surgery.

neck lift surgeon Dr Sharp
Brisbane neck lift surgery clinic

How long does neck lift recovery take?

Following the surgery, you will wear a compression garment to help decrease the swelling. Most patients are able to return to work or normal activities after 7-14 days, depending on their work. Complications associated with neck lift include infection, swelling, bruising, sensation loss or damage.

What’s the difference between a neck lift and lower facelift?

One of the most common facial surgery questions we receive is “how do I know whether I need a neck lift - or a facelift?” Online forums and surgery websites provide conflicting information and terminology for these procedures; what they entail, and what they address for the ageing face - causing greater confusion. What is colloquially known as a ‘neck lift’ may not technically refer to the surgical procedure that this title traditionally entailed.

The face and neck age together and for the most part a neck lift should include elevation of the lower face. Conversely a facelift should include tightening of loose neck skin. In modern times where facelift and neck lift surgery aims to be less invasive, the operation is sometimes discussed as one of the same.

If you are having a neck lift on its own, the mid face and jawline are not touched; however you will usually have an incision across your neck under your chin so the platysmaplasty can be performed to tighten the mid line neck.

If you have a facelift (for mid, lower and jawline sagging), generally the upper neck will also be tightened and in most cases, the incision across the neck isn’t required as Dr Sharp accesses the upper neck via the pre exisiting incision he’s made behind the ear, and down towards the nape of the neck/hairline.

A neck lift - or lower rhytidectomy - aims to improve the signs of ageing in the neck including

  • Loose neck skin or ‘turkey wattle’
  • Visible muscle bands running down the neck, which created abnormal contours

The face lift technique Dr Sharp uses, targets the above plus:

  • Excess fatty deposits under the chin
  • Excess skin in the lower face and jowlsHorizontal lines running across the neck
  • Depending on your desired result, your neck lift surgery can be performed through a traditional complete neck lift incision, or a limited-incision neck lift.

A limited-incision neck lift may involve incisions only around the ear. While the incisions are shorter and scars less visible, the results of this approach can be more limited.

Dr Sharp always tailors this procedure to the patient’s desired outcome.

Brisbane chin lipo
Brisbane lipo surgeon

What won’t neck lift surgery address?

As a facial rejuvenation procedure, a neck lift will not change your overall appearance - and will not halt the ageing process.

It will not make your lower face look slimmer; fat dissolving injections or liposuction is usually required to remove excess fat in the submittal or upper neck region (see images, left, of liposuction to upper neck).

Neck lift surgery will not improve the condition of the skin on your neck or décolletage; non surgical skin treatments, including laser, micro needling and specialist skincare will address the pigmentation and deterioration of the skin health in these areas.

A neck lift can only be performed surgically; non-surgical rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results in lifting and tightening the skin, but may help delay the time at which a neck lift becomes appropriate.

Often, people feel they need a neck lift to address their jowls and sagging skin in their lower face, however the cause of their concerns actually begin with the loss (and migration) of their underlying facial support structures, such as fat - causing skin and tissue to hang around the lower face. In this case, a facelift - and subtle use of dermal fillers to replace lost bone structure and fat in the upper mid face - may address these issues, and a neck lift might not be required quite as early.

The aim of all facial cosmetic and plastic surgery should be to create as much balance and harmony as possible, while retaining a natural, healthy and realistic appearance. When the neck area doesn’t match the upper facial appearance, a neck lift may be a good solution; in some cases a neck lift may be performed on it’s own in cases where the neck has visibly aged quicker than the face.

Usually, the face and neck age together, meaning a facelift and neck lift are often integrated into a single procedure, to harmonise the facial features and balance the results. A facelift might restore your facial appearance back to that of a 45 year old, but if your neck still looks like it’s 60 with protruding vertical platysmal bands and horizontal lining, the face and neck may look at odds beside each other, which is what we sometimes see in the notorious Hollywood plastic surgery tabloid media, that’s dead giveaway for facelift surgery - without consideration of the adjacent ageing neck.

When is facelift surgery performed with neck lift surgery?

Most neck lift surgery performed by Dr Sharp is coupled with a facelift that particularly focuses on the lower face, to ensure seamless aesthetic and functional results. Facelift surgery is often performed on its own in patients who are in their 40’s and 50’s, but if a patient is having their first facelift in their 60’s, Dr Sharp may recommend a neck lift as well, as this area will be demonstrating advanced signs of ageing.

By eliminating loose, sagging facial skin and repositioning underlying support structures, facelift surgery can create a ‘lifted’ effect that significantly reduces the visible signs of ageing like no other treatment or procedure can. When combined with neck lift, a facelift can compliment the reversal of visible signs of ageing on the neck as well - including sagging skin, loss of definition in the undercroft of the chin, neck wrinkles and thick bands.

What other procedures are commonly performed alongside a neck lift?

Rejuvenation procedures that are routinely performed in conjunction with a neck lift include fat transfer, liposuction, genioplasty (chin implant surgery to create chin projection where a deficit exists), lips and cheek enhancement or eyelid surgery, to rejuvenate ageing or excess skin above the eyes.

Can muscle relaxing or wrinkle injections replace a neck lift?

No. Strategically placed muscle relaxing injections can help soften the downward ‘pull’ of the neck muscles that create prominent Iines and bands, and over time this can give the neck a rejuvenated appearance. The effect last 3-5 months and treatments need to be maintained to see results. The outcome does not replace neck lift surgery but is worth trying if you aren’t ready for surgery yet or want to stave it off! We perform these injections in our Brisbane and Ipswich clinics.

Dr Sharp’s advice for those considering any facial surgery

Ask your surgeon to explain:

  • the steps of the procedure
  • what it aims to accomplish
  • the location of incisions
  • potential pitfalls and complications.
  • and ensure you don’t sign anything until you understand explicitly what you are consenting to!
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