Neck Lift Plastic Surgery


Natalia Casas, Staff Writer

Natalia Casas is a bilingual (English-Spanish) writer whose work has appeared in magazines and on websites across Latin America and the United States. Her areas of expertise include fashion, health, lifestyles, travel, and self-improvement. She is a professional English-to-Spanish translator and holds a mass communication and journalism degree from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín, Colombia.

January 28 2008

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Uplift Your Neck

Is your neck making you look older than you really are? Even some young people may be affected by the most common neck complaints such as excess fat, a "turkey wattle" or a double chin. Cosmetic surgery, such as a neck lift, may be the answer – for people of various ages. That's because there are many factors that can affect the way your neck looks, including if you've lost a lot of weight or have a genetic predisposition. There comes a point when you have to realize that neck strengthening exercises just won't do the trick.

Of course, age can also play a big role in how your neck appears. In fact, because the skin on the neck is thinner and less elastic than the skin on the face, the neck often displays some of the earliest tell-tale signs of aging. The neck can also succumb earlier to the forces of gravity. That is why jowls and double chins are among the first signs of aging.

Face lifts are one way to restore a more youthful look, but zeroing in on the often-overlooked neck area may be all that's needed to shave years off your appearance.

What Is Involved in a Neck Lift?

Just as all people are different, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to having a neck lift. There are a variety of procedures that can be used to address different problems ranging from loose skin to lax muscles to extra fat. In many cases a combination of procedures is used to achieve optimal results. These procedures can include:

  • Altering neck muscles (called platysmaplasty) or removing excess muscle
  • Neck liposuction
  • Chin augmentation (often with solid silicone implants)
  • Removing excess skin
  • Botox® Cosmetic injections
  • A face lift, including tightening the neck

Neck Surgery: Tightening It All Up

A tightening procedure is best for a person who does not need a full face lift, but who still needs to tighten up protruding muscles and sagging skin in the neck. A doctor can make a small incision that is hidden by the ears or in the crease beneath the chin, and then tighten the supportive muscles in the neck (the sheet of muscle called the platysma) and suture them in place. If necessary, extra fat can be removed through the same small incisions and a small amount of skin may also be removed. Botox injections can be used to relax parts of the neck muscles responsible for the "band" appearance. Doctors may choose to use Botox in conjunction with surgery – or in some cases instead of it, depending on the situation.

It's also possible to perform tightening procedures endoscopically (with fiberoptic devices), which is a less invasive method. General or local anesthesia can be selected, depending on your preference and the extent of the procedure.

Getting Rid of Excess, Hanging Skin

Skin can be removed by making a vertical incision, pulling the skin smooth, and trimming the excess skin. The incision is often closed in a zigzag pattern, known as z-plasty, which helps disguise the scar. Although this technique can be very effective in getting rid of extra skin, some scarring will occur. So people who like to wear open necklines may choose to opt for a different procedure, such as a face lift or a tightening procedure.

Neck Liposuction as an Option

If you have fatty deposits in your neck area, neck liposuction may be the way to go. Liposuction can help define the jaw line and improve the profile – and it can also help you get rid of a double chin. The incision is generally placed in a natural crease near the ear or below the chin, and the procedure itself typically does not take a long time. Liposuction is often combined with other neck surgery procedures to achieve the best results possible.

Where Chin Augmentation Fits In

Sometimes removing fat and tightening the skin isn't enough to help you achieve the profile you desire, especially if you have a weak or receding chin. That's where a chin implant (often solid silicone implants) may help. A doctor can choose to combine a chin implant with a tightening procedure or the removal of excess skin, depending on how you would like your profile to look.

Because there are so many different combinations of procedures that can be used to achieve your desired result, it's especially important to ask your doctor for all the options available. Some procedures are more invasive than others, some are more long-lasting, and there is probably one that will be right for you.