Droopy neck skin can age us more than anything else. No matter how good your face, if your neck sags and hangs like a turkey gobbler, you will often not be perceived as youthful.
Loose neck skin appears as we age and the skin loses elasticity, sometimes there is also a contribution of excess fat in that area. Skin sagging can also appear after losing large amounts of weight.
How can we treat sagging neck skin?
While you may have seen skin tightening laser treatments and creams advertised, the only effective way to restore a sagging neckline is to surgically remove the excess skin and tighten the underlying platysma muscle. It is the laxity of these muscles that are responsible for the appearance of ‘banding’ on the neck.
Neck lift surgery can be carried out independently, or in conjunction with a lower facelift. The benefit of the latter is improvement of jowls and the cheek area where skin and fatty tissue also droop as we age.
We can also employ the use of liposuction to remove fatty deposits from underneath the chin and create sharper definition around the jawline.
How is neck lift surgery carried out?
A neck lift is accomplished through small, hidden incisions behind the ears and on the underside of the chin.
A portion of the neck’s platysma muscle is removed and then stitched together along the midline of the neck. This creates a sling effect, lifting and supporting the soft tissues and permanently eliminating the platysma bands.
Fatty tissue is removed from beneath the chin, while the neck skin is drawn tight and sutured behind the ears, with the excess skin removed. If the incisions are created and closed correctly and without undue tension, a very natural looking result can be obtained with no obvious signs that a neck lift has been performed.
Treating sagging jowls and cheeks
If you also have lax skin on the lower portion of your face that you want addressed, we can perform a MACS (Minimal Access Cranial Suspension) facelift at the same time as the neck lift.
If you are having this procedure, the incisions will be made in the hairline, around the contour of the ear at the front and around the sideburn to the back of the ear. This is a minimal incision or short scar technique and results in near invisible scars.
The MACS-lift procedure will elevate the skin of the jawline in continuity with the neck skin to restore a smooth jawline contour. It will also soften the nasolabial fold around the nose and mouth, and lift the cheeks and lower eyelids, giving you a significantly more youthful appearance without it being obvious that you’ve had surgery.
We can also enhance the anti-aging effect by using advanced fat grafting techniques to restore volume to hollow areas of your face and by carrying out a chemical peel to reduce wrinkles and improve the overall texture of your skin.
How long is the recovery from neck lift surgery?
A neck lift takes between two to three hours to carry out and you may be able to go home the same day. Pain should be minimal, but you will be given a prescription for painkillers in order to control any discomfort.
Usually dissolvable sutures are used, but if any non-dissolvable stitches have been used, these will be removed in seven to 10 days.
Recovery from neck lift surgery takes approximately two weeks. Patients should expect swelling, bruising, and discoloration of the skin during this phase and it is advisable to sleep with the head elevated to minimise swelling.
It is important not to perform any exercise, heavy-duty lifting or strenuous activities for two weeks after the surgery and at least one week off work is recommended.
Scarring will be pink at first but is easily hidden with a bit of ‘camouflage’ make-up.
Results from your procedure will become increasingly more evident as weeks pass and swelling subsides. After six to 12 months the dramatic results of your surgery will be apparent, taking an average of 10 years off your appearance.