If you are one of the many people who feel like they see a “turkey neck” when they look in the mirror, you are not alone. Sagging or drooping skin on the neck is a very common problem for people who have had significant weight loss. While neck lifts are usually performed as part of an overall facelift, they can be done alone if that is your primary aesthetic concern.

A neck lift is also known as lower Rhytidectomy. It is a surgical procedure meant to improve and correct problems with the skin of the neck, including sagging or relaxed skin that creates the appearance of jowls, removing excess fat beneath the chin, loose skin on the neck, and “bands” on the neck that create displeasing contours. Neck lifts are often done as part of a traditional Rhytidectomy or a facelift, but a full facelift is not for everyone. The Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Center of South Texas understands and that is why we offer neck lifts as an individual procedure as well as a complementary one.

Depending on the type of problem you are trying to address, neck lift surgery can last anywhere from two to five hours. Longer surgeries are generally required for neck lifts that are dealing with more excess skin.  For any type of neck lift, the procedures are very similar. Your plastic surgeon will make incisions in the neck — the exact placement of the incisions depends on what is being corrected or improved.

During the surgery itself, excess fat can be sculpted, redistributed or removed (sometimes with the help of liposuction). The tissues beneath the skin of your neck may be repositioned and the platysma muscle — a muscle that stretches from your pectorals and deltoids and up along the sides of the neck — is tightened. The skin is then redraped over the new neck contours and any excess is trimmed or removed. Then, your surgeon will close the incisions with either sutures or skin adhesives, depending on what is best for your surgical needs.

Recovery from a neck lift can range from two to four weeks to a bit longer if more than just a neck lift was performed. Most patients will be advised to take time off work during recovery, so the healing process can occur under the most relaxed circumstances and all doctor’s post-operative orders can be followed.

You will have bandages and dressings that will need to be cared for and changed, and you may have drainage tubes to collect any residual fluid that collects under the skin. You may have medications to assist with any pain and to prevent bruising or swelling from being an issue. All of your postoperative care will be discussed with you in detail both before your surgery and afterward, so that we can be sure your healing process goes as smoothly and swiftly as possible. Also remember that a neck lift is a surgical procedure, so you will need someone to drive you to and from the hospital or surgical center.

For more information about neck lifts and whether one can help address the aesthetic concerns you have, call our office today.