A neck lift is a set of procedures used to enhance the appearance of your neck. Cervicoplasty is the procedure used to remove excess skin. Platysmaplasty removes or alters neck muscles. Your surgeon also can perform neck liposuction, which removes excess fat. In some cases, Botox® injections are used in patients who have fullness or “bands” in the neck.

Is this procedure right for you?

For patients with weak or loose neck muscles, which may cause banding or “turkey wattle” in the neck, a platysmaplasty may be appropriate. For those with excess fat around the neck, liposuction may be all that is required. In cases of excess skin, a cervicoplasty may be recommended to trim parts of the skin, lift it, and attach it in a higher location with stitches or tissue glue. Patients should have realistic expectations of the outcome and have good mental and physical health to pursue any of these surgeries.

What does a neck lift entail?

In a platysmaplasty, incisions are made beneath the chin and/or behind the ears to reach the neck muscle. Muscle may be relocated or removed to form the shape decided on by you and your surgeon. You will have the option of going under general or local anesthesia. This procedure may also be done using endoscopic equipment. Botox® injections may be used in place of or to supplement this surgery.

If you opt for liposuction, it will involve a small incision under the chin, through which the surgeon will remove excess fat before closing the incision with stitches. This procedure takes about an hour.

In cervicoplasty, the surgeon will make incisions under the chin and behind the ears, then trim off excess skin, lifting the skin over the neck into its new position before using stitches or tissue glue to attach it together. You will have the option of going under general or local anesthesia. After surgery, you will need to wear a compression bandage for at least a week.

What will I need to do before surgery?

If you smoke, you will need to stop smoking far ahead of the procedure; smoking increases the risk of complications and poor healing, as it adversely affects blood circulation in the skin. On the day of your surgery, wear loose clothing with a button-down top, make sure someone is available to drive you home, and have a recovery area prepared at home.

What should I expect from the post-surgery recovery period?

After surgery, you will have bruising, swelling, and sensations such as tightness, numbness, tingling, pulling, or burning. These may last for a few days or weeks but will subside as you heal. While you should keep your activities low-key for several days after having a neck lift, most patients return to school or work in two weeks or less. You should refrain from strenuous physical activity for at least three weeks after the surgery.

What risks are involved?

Complications of a neck lift can include infection and reaction to anesthesia.

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