Neck Lift surgery, also known as the medical term rhytidectomy, is a type of cosmetic surgery to address excess skin and fat around the jaw. This procedure can improve the definition of the jowls and neck, leaving patients with a more youthful-looking lower face.
Depending on the patient’s goals, the surgeon will sculpt the skin and muscles of the neck to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Typically, the surgeon will perform one of two types of neck lifts: cervicoplasty or platsmaplasty. Cervicoplasty addresses excess skin, while platsmaplasty realigns the neck muscles to reduce a banded appearance.
Whether you are self-conscious about the natural configuration of bands in the neck or looking to reduce the signs of aging below the jaw, neck lifts can improve the look of your neck for up to 15 years. Keep reading to learn the many benefits of neck lifts.
- Remove Excess Skin
Over time, wrinkling neck skin is inevitable. The skin loses elasticity, and repeated exposure to UV light eventually causes the skin to wrinkle. Premature wrinkling can also result from your lifestyle, i.e. if you smoke or do not regularly apply sunscreen.
While preventative methods can keep the neck from wrinkling, once the wrinkles appear, it can be difficult to live with them. Especially, when the rest of the face and body are not wrinkling at the same rate.
Neck lifts are the primary cosmetic procedure to address neck and jaw wrinkles. The surgeon will create a small incision at the hairline down the jaw and cut away excess skin before closing the incision.
- Tighten Neck Muscles
After creating a small incision under the chin, the surgeon is free to manipulate the tissues and muscles of the neck to craft a smoother overall appearance. The platysma is a neck muscle that superficially spans most of the front and back parts of the neck. When it weakens, it causes the skin of the neck to sag and separates into uneven bands that stick out from the neck.
Part of a plastmaplasty is adjusting the appearance of the platysmal bands. A small incision is made right underneath the chin and an endoscope is used to identify where to adjust the muscles. The surgeon then tightens the platysma to create a midline platysma plication.
The edges of the platysma tighten over time, so the surgeon creates incisions to flatten them out again. This reduces the appearance of platysma bands and leaves the patient with a smoother-looking neck.
The platysma bands may tighten because of age, genetics, and muscle activity. While you can temporarily get rid of the appearance of banding using Botox, neck lift surgery is a longer-lasting solution.
- Reduces Appearance of Jowls
Neck lifts address the skin and muscles of the neck, but also of the jaw. Excess fat in the chin and jaw alongside the wrinkling of the skin on the neck can lead to jowls. During your neck lift, your surgeon will remove excess fat and tighten the skin along the jaw to create a stronger jawline.
Jowls are another natural side effect of aging due to thinner and less elastic skin. People with thick skin, more fat, and more collagen in the face and jaw are more prone to jowls than others. Other causes of sagging jowls include losing a lot of weight in a short time, sun damage, genetics, and smoking.
Correcting jowls might be the only adjustment you need to improve the appearance of the face, jaw, and neck. Mild sagging might be remedied using injectables. However, jowls may be accompanied by drooping cheeks in which case a facelift might be a better option to reduce the signs of aging on the face.
- Improve Overall Face Contour
The neck, chin, and jaw all play a crucial role in overall facial contour. If the skin of the neck is sagging or the chin loses its definition, the whole face appears older and less defined. Sagging jowls alone add 10 years to any face, young or old.
Neck lifts improve facial contour by reducing excess skin, removing fat deposits, flatting out wrinkles, and adjusting the muscles in the neck. They address the overall facial aesthetic by changing the contour of the entire lower half of the face.
Facial rejuvenation requires an experienced hand and an artistic eye. A lot can be achieved through a neck lift, but sometimes a little extra help is needed.
Neck lifts Pair Well with Other Treatments
Since neck lifts last 10 to 15 years on average, they are a long-term solution to aging around the jaw and neck and are not reversible. When you go in for your one-on-one consultation, be clear about your goals for your procedure. That way your surgeon can choose the right procedure based on your specific needs.
If wrinkling in the face matches that found on the neck, your surgeon may advise you to do a more comprehensive procedure. Traditional facelifts typically include a neck lift in addition to tightening the skin on the cheeks.
Your surgeon may suggest alternative or additional procedures that better address your problems. If the sagging or wrinkling of your skin around the neck isn’t too pronounced, less-invasive facial fillers may fix the problem. Or maybe the problems you describe are better addressed with another procedure altogether.
Keep an open mind throughout your consultation as an experienced plastic surgeon has an artist’s ability to see the final result.
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Dr. Gordon is an accredited plastic surgeon performing plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Retreat at Split Rock in Connecticut and New York. He specializes in procedures that reconstruct the face and neck. For more information about neck lift surgery, contact us to schedule a consultation.