We are often so busy staring at our faces for signs of wrinkles that we fail to notice the sneak attack happening just below our chins. As Nora Ephron says on page 5 of her bestselling book, I Feel Bad About My Neck, “According to my dermatologist, the neck starts to go at forty-three, and that’s that. You can put makeup on your face and concealer under your eyes and dye on your hair, you can shoot collagen and Botox and Restylane into your wrinkles and creases, but short of surgery, there’s not a damn thing you can do about a neck. Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth.“
Well, that’s that. Now that we’re all running to the mirror to check out our necks, let’s take a closer look at the solution, shall we?
What is a Neck Lift?
A neck lift is a cosmetic surgery that can improve the look of your neck by tightening the loose skin, tightening the underlying muscles and removing the excess fat via targeted liposuction or direct excision. For minimally sagging necks, the incision can be placed in front of the ear, but more often the incision is under the ear lobe and runs behind the ear.
The plastic surgeon then lifts the skin from the ear to the midline of the chin and neck. He will also adjust the underlying muscle and soft tissue as needed. Excess fat in the neck is also removed. The more excess skin you have, the more redraping you may need, which results in a longer incision. The problem of excess skin and where to put it is one of the main reasons that most neck lifts are performed along with a facelift.
Why is a Neck Lift Often Combined With a Facelift?
A facelift rejuvenates the face below the eyes and above the jaw, but does not include the chin line and neck. If a patient undergoes a facelift without a neck lift, the loose skin around the neck will take away from the end result. Conversely, if only a neck lift is performed, most people will not get enough tightening of the cheek and jowl area and the results will look, well, strange.
If you have sagging jowls around your jaw line, you will need to undergo a lower face lift. A lower face lift is a subcategory of a traditional facelift that pulls and tightens the skin around the jaw and chin that can’t be eliminated with either a facelift or a neck lift. Depending on the rest of your face and its aging symptoms, you may also elect to undergo a brow lift, eye lift or fat grafting to achieve the most natural results.
Are There Less Invasive Options That Can Rejuvenate the Neck?
Most plastic surgeons would say, when it comes to the neck, surgery is the only option for true long lasting and dramatic results. There are some more minor surgical options including a device called the iGuide that uses a threading technique to suture the underlying muscles to the deeper neck structures. iGuide procedures are performed by plastic surgeons and are only effective on those patients who have minimal neck issues.
How Much Does a Neck Lift Cost?
Average neck lift costs range from $5,000 to $8,000 depending on the surgeon’s experience level and the geographic location of the surgery. This price usually includes liposuction of the chin, but be sure to ask if this is the case. The price does not include additional procedures such as a facelift.
What is the Recovery Time for a Neck Lift?
Patients will be sore and swollen for approximately one week after surgery. Keeping your head above your heart and icing your neck will reduce swelling and thus pain. Always follow your plastic surgeon’s post-op instructions to ensure the quickest recovery. Most people can expect to return to non-strenuous work in 7-10 days.
Is a Neck Lift Right for You?
If you have banding around your neck, excess skin, jowls, a double chin, vertical chords or the dreaded “turkey wattle,” then you are probably a good candidate for a neck lift. But don’t despair or feel alone. According to Nora Ephron’s dermatologist, after age 43, we’re all in this together!
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