How Does a Neck Lift Work?

Apr 05, 2023
How Does a Neck Lift Work?
If age is doing a number on your neck, causing loose skin and shifting fat stores, a neck lift may be in the cards for you. Keep reading to learn how it works and what you can expect.

As you age, you lose the plentiful supplies of the structural proteins collagen and elastin that helped create the plump, taut skin of your youth, and your skin becomes riddled with fine lines and wrinkles. Then, as the proteins continue to decline, and with the constant downward pull of gravity, the skin around your jaw and neck starts to sag, hanging in loose folds you may find quite unflattering.

In the early stages, injectables, such as Botox® and dermal fillers, can help maintain your youthful appearance, but they’re not powerful enough to overcome lax skin and shifting fat stores. For those, you may need a neck lift.

At 817 Surgical Arts, double-board-certified facial cosmetic and plastic surgeon Dr. Emily Johnson and our staff offer neck lifts for our Fort Worth, Texas, patients who want to halt the more advanced signs of aging. Here’s how the process works.

What can a neck lift address, and how?

Neck lifts address several different issues:

  • Wrinkled, sun-damaged neck skin
  • Sagging or hanging jowls
  • A turkey wattle
  • A double chin
  • Excess skin under your chin 
  • Muscle bands in your neck that create abnormal contours

How we address neck contouring depends on your symptoms and aesthetic goals. Dr. Johnson uses a different surgical approach for someone who wants to lose a turkey wattle versus someone who wants to lose a double chin.

The contouring can be a stand-alone treatment or combined with other procedures, such as a facelift, brow lift, rhinoplasty, and/or chin augmentation, to provide more comprehensive and complementary de-aging. The neck lift is an outpatient procedure using IV sedation or general anesthesia.

If your primary concern is excess fat under your chin, Dr. Johnson starts with liposuction, removing the fat with suction through a small cannula. Your skin must have good elasticity, so it contracts evenly following the procedure. Liposuction alone can’t significantly improve sagging skin, so if you’re just going for liposuction, you should be no older than your early 50s.

If you also want to address sagging jowls and loose neck skin, Dr. Johnson performs a cervicoplasty (removes excess skin) and a platysmaplasty (tightens loose neck muscles), giving you a smoother and better-defined neck appearance.

To accomplish these, Dr. Johnson makes a small incision behind each ear and may also make one underneath your chin. She then tightens the neck muscles and/or underlying tissues, removes excess, sagging skin, then sutures the wounds closed.

Recovery time depends on your age and health and the number of procedures performed. You can expect temporary bruising or swelling after your neck lift, and Dr. Johnson may have you wear a compression garment on your neck to minimize swelling and movement.

Most patients can return to daily activities after about two weeks — but don’t do anything strenuous until the doctor gives you the go-ahead.

If you’re unhappy with lax or sagging neck skin or the contour of your jawline, a neck lift might just help you look more like the younger you. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Johnson, call 817 Surgical Arts at 817-241-5375, or book online with us today.