The neck lift is a surgery performed to eliminate sagging skin and wrinkles in the neck area. It is a rejuvenation procedure performed on patients who have an excess of skin or fat in that area.

It is very common for patients over 40 years old to resort to this intervention to correct the imperfections and signs of aging that occur at the level of the neck. The neck lift is an efficient and simple solution to rejuvenate the neck and jawline and get rid of the double chin. After the intervention, patients can enjoy firmer skin, and a smooth and youthful-looking neck. A neck lift is almost always performed in conjunction with a lower facelift.

How is a cervical lift (neck lift) performed?

Before scheduling the procedure, you will have a consultation with the facial plastic surgeon to discuss the details, your eligibility for the intervention, as well as other aspects such as pre-operative preparation and post-operative care. The surgeon will review your medical history and ask about current medication. It is possible that the surgeon also recommends avoiding taking analgesics that contain aspirin and anticoagulant medications in general before the procedure is performed.

The patient must stop smoking at least 4 months before the operation.

To carry out the aesthetic operation of the neck, the surgeon makes an incision on the nape, just before the hairline, and another incision behind each ear, approximately 4-5 centimetres. The surgeon will use these incisions to separate the skin from the neck muscles and tighten them to remove wrinkles and extra skin.

The neck lift intervention has an estimated duration of 1-2 hours; however, it can be prolonged up to 5 hours when it is associated with a lower facelift. General anaesthesia is often preferred. Depending on the type of change or modification to be made and whether or not it will be combined with another procedure, the surgical technique may vary.

In this sense, the procedure consists of making incisions under the chin and behind the ears (there are cases where the incision is only made in a single area), then the skin is stretched, and the excess is removed. Finally, the muscle and skin are sutured again to reshape the neck.

If liposuction of the neck is performed together with the neck lift, the procedure begins with the extraction of the fat through tiny incisions, using a cannula. After the fat deposits have been eliminated, the neck lift is performed. At the end of the surgery, the doctor will place bandages or dressings to control inflammation and reduce postoperative discomfort. These must be worn for 24 hours and then replaced with an elastic band.

Risks and complications

Like any surgical intervention, the neck lift is not without risk. Hematoma, infection, skin necrosis, scars, and paralysis are among the complications which, in theory, are extremely rare when the procedure is performed by an experienced surgeon.

If we want to rely on the scalpels of cosmetic surgery, we must indeed be aware that several factors predispose to the risk of complications. For example, necrosis affects smokers more. In addition, infections remain more frequent in cases of diabetes or the absence of immune defences.

  • Infection can cause fever, chills, inflammation, or itching. But these complications are fortunately quite rare.
  • Hematomas also occur more readily in smokers, people taking certain medications (aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), or people with uncontrolled hypertension. The risk of having a haematoma is also very rare.

The real risk that we fear during any cosmetic surgery intervention, especially when it comes to the neck area is getting unsatisfactory results after the surgery was performed. This risk is significantly minimized when working with an experienced, talented surgeon that performs the procedure frequently.

Results and how to preserve them

Results from a neck lift can be seen almost immediately following surgery. Often, however, there may be persistent swelling in the sub-mental region which may take several months to resolve. The results can often be assessed at 6 months following surgery.

The scars left by the surgery are then still present but have faded and become hardly visible because hair partially covers them.

By choosing a surgeon specializing in facial plastic and aesthetic surgery, the neck-lift will be performed according to the latest proven techniques, and the patient will be able to observe a natural result with a rejuvenating effect on the neck and jawline.

Throughout the postoperative period, the patient will have to take certain precautions to facilitate proper healing of the incisions. Make sure to follow the surgeon’s recommendations to get the best results possible and sustain them for as long as possible:

  • Avoid sun exposure or at least carefully protect the skin with sunscreen to avoid pigmentation problems. Wear a hat when you go outside, to the pool or the beach for extra protection;
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle before and after the neck lift, (avoid the consumption of tobacco and/or alcohol);
  • Avoid tension in areas addressed during the procedure so not to rupture the sutures – as this could lead to visible scars or a delayed healing process.
  • After the surgery, rest on two pillows, with your head elevated above your heart for at least a few days.
  • For a few days post-op, eat soft foods.
  • Avoid intense physical activities, especially those that require a lot of neck twisting for a minimum of 2 to 4 weeks.

Final words

If you are ready to take a several years off your neck and regain a youthful appearance, the neck lift procedure might be just what you need. The intervention is safe and delivers spectacular results getting you rid of the double chin, as well as the wrinkles and fat deposits present in the neck area. The neck lift surgery is often performed in association with other plastic surgery procedures such as the face lift and brow lift.