Neck lifts are great for patients who want to reverse some of the changes caused by age and gravity to the neck, such as sagging, excess skin and diminished volume. Most patients requesting evaluation for a neck lift feel that their neck can appear slightly distracting and older compared to the face. Dr. Charles Hsu, a Beverly Hills and Koreatown plastic surgeon, has a combination of different maneuvers he can use to target each patient’s specific problem. His goal is to get a more defined neckline that looks natural and appropriate with the rest of the face. This surgery is not only common for patients who are aging, it is also common for those who have lost a significant amount of weight.
Most patients who come in for a neck lift consultation have similar concerns, such as:
Excess skin and fat in the neck
Necks that have developed folds and lines
A double chin, resulting from loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw
Creased and sagging skin in the neck
During the initial consultation, Dr. Hsu will ask the patient for their medical history and their goals for neck lift surgery. After thoroughly examining the neck, Dr. Hsu will explain the next steps in going forth with the procedure. In order to best reach the patient’s aesthetic goals, Dr. Hsu works with his patients to decide all the necessary details that will ultimately give the best results.
Dr. Hsu will perform the neck lift with the patient under general anesthesia for about 3 hours. He will make a single incision along the front and back of the ear, which will be well hidden and then, another small incision on the bottom of the chin. Rather than simply excising the excess skin, Dr. Hsu will lift up the skin to access and tighten the muscle. Often times, the platysma muscle (a subcutaneous muscle in the neck) can loosen significantly during the aging process and will need to be tightened. He will also pull the muscle in the back of the neck and tuck it behind the ear. This technique provides a more natural and rejuvenating result without making the skin appear pulled.
Recovery and Post-Op
After the surgery, the patient will need to keep their head dry and elevated. Dr. Hsu will remove the surgical dressings and stiches at the first follow up appointment. Patients should expect swelling and bruising for about two weeks. Patients usually return to work 2 weeks after the procedure and they can resume exercise after about 6 weeks. Patients may use pain medication, but it is important that they don’t drive while they are under the effects of the medication.
From Dr. Hsu
“I enjoy neck lift surgery quite a bit because I think the results can be quite dramatic. I do like to use my experience with neck lifts at both the muscle and skin layers to be able to choose which, or both, is suitable for each individual patient. I would say that in my practice, I nearly always do some tightening of both layers. Also, in some patients, I will tighten the muscle in the midline (underneath the chin); in others, I will do some tightening by pulling on the skin and muscle behind the ears; and in some I will do both! Again, this varies depending on each patient’s individual appearance and what specifically needs to be corrected. This has worked well for me and given my patients longer-lasting results that they are very happy with.”
Frequently Asked Questions
How many times do I have to go in for Follow Up?
After a neck lift, patients should plan to visit Dr. Hsu for several follow-up appointments. Usually, neck lift patients are seen 1-2 weeks after the procedure. Then, patients should come in at specific interval marks after their surgery. It is important to come to all follow-up appointments so Dr. Hsu can ensure the patient is healing correctly.
Recovery Tips to Neck Lifts?
An easy way to maintain the elevated position during rest is to sleep on two pillows at night. Dr. Hsu also highly recommends wearing a handkerchief or shawl to cover the area so the patient will be more comfortable going outside. Makeup should be able to conceal most bruising about one week after surgery. Patients should refrain from direct sun exposure, since they will be highly susceptible to sunburn or the formation of irregular, darkened pigmentation.