Neck lifting (Platysmaplasty)

What is a neck lift?

A neck lift is a procedure to remove excess or saggy skin and fat from the neck and give more definition to the jawline. The procedure is also called a platysmoplasty as the platysma muscle of the neck may be altered or tightened in the process.

Why is a neck lift performed?

With age and sun exposure, the skin of the neck loses its tone and starts to sag under gravity. Excessive fatty deposition can result in a double chin. Some people develop loose, hanging skin under the chin referred to as a turkey neck. This happens gradually in both men and women after the age of 40 though it may be more noticeable in some people.

Signs of aging affect both the face and neck so other cosmetic procedures such as an eyelift or facelift can also be performed with a neck lift. A liposuction may also be performed to remove excess fat. Your doctor will evaluate your condition and discuss the appropriate combination of procedures for you.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

Your doctor will review your medical history and advise you to stop certain medications such as blood thinners before the procedure. Smoking can prevent proper healing so you will have to quit a few weeks before and after the procedure. Make sure you have someone to escort you home after the procedure and be ready to take at least 2 weeks off work.

How is the neck lift procedure performed?

The procedure is performed in a hospital or advanced clinic under general anesthesia. It usually takes 1-2 hours to complete and you will be allowed to leave the same day but your doctor may require that you stay overnight for evaluation. During the procedure, incisions are made under the chin or jawline and below or behind the ears. The skin is tightened and the excess trimmed. Some muscle tissue may be removed to tighten the muscles and liposuction may be performed. Anti-wrinkle injections may be administered to relax certain parts of the platysma muscle to eliminate banding in the neck. At the end of the procedure, the incisions are sutured and closed with bandages.

What happens after the procedure?

Following the procedure, a compression bandage is worn over the neck and it is immobilized for at least a week, but you will have to engage in some activity to keep the circulation going. You may experience some swelling, bruising as well as itching which is normal. An ice pack can help you with your symptoms. After a week, gentle neck movements are permitted. You may notice some stiffness initially but this gradually subsides. Neck strengthening exercises are recommended at 4-6 weeks. Your doctor will advise you on treatments or measures to minimize scarring. Complete healing usually takes a year.

Does the procedure have any risks?

As with any surgical procedure, a neck lift is associated with certain risks. These include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Tissue necrosis
  • Anesthetic complications
  • Improper healing of scars

How long do the results last?

A neck lift can greatly improve your appearance but does not prevent you from aging. It may be repeated in a few years if necessary.

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