A neck lift, also known as a lower rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic surgery procedure that improves the appearance of the neck by tightening the skin and underlying muscles. The procedure can address issues such as loose or saggy skin, a double chin, and wrinkles or lines on the neck. A neck lift may involve liposuction to remove excess fat, surgical incisions to remove excess skin, and methods to tighten the underlying muscles. The outcome is a neck that is well-defined and has a smooth contour, achieved through techniques based on sound anatomical principles.
At Millard Plastic Surgery, Dr. David Hendrick, a triple-board-certified plastic surgeon of over three decades, understands the complex anatomy of the neck and how to address the effects of age. While aging of the face can be an upsetting sight for any patient, an aging neck can devastate even the most secure person. But there is a solution! Meet with Dr. Hendrick, a skilled surgeon, for consultation before making this important decision so you have all the information necessary. In Denver, Englewood, and the surrounding areas, call (303) 792-5665 or fill out our contact form to get started.
About Neck Lift Surgery
As we age, the skin and fat under and around the neck can become loose and saggy, with more fat and muscle banding. These symptoms make the neck look thick and not as sleek and slender as it does in young people; this is a common concern for people who want neck lift surgery.
A youthful neck starts with a clearly-defined jawline with no extra skin, a clear line of the muscle called the sternocleidomastoid, and an angle of 105 to 120 degrees between the neck and chin. 
The hyoid bone is a U-shaped bone located in the front of the neck, just above the adam’s apple. It does not attach to any other bone in the skull, but muscles and ligaments suspend it from the jaw, temporal, and occipital bones. The hyoid bone plays an important role in swallowing, speech, and tongue movement. It is a vital structure in the neck and is often used as a reference point during neck lift surgery.
A youthful and harmonious neckline is crucial for successful facial rejuvenation. Otherwise, the neck may appear skeletal, hollow, and tethered without proper surgical technique. People may need a combination of different treatments , such as:
- Surgery to remove extra skin and fat under the chin
- Surgery to lift and tighten the neck
The right treatment will be chosen based on individual criteria. For people who are not ready for a full face or neck lift, surgery can be done through a small incision under the chin, taking out extra fat, and repairing the platysma muscle.
What are the Benefits of a Neck Lift?
The benefits of a neck lift surgery include:
- Improved appearance of the neck
- Enhanced self-confidence
- Long-lasting results
- Minimally invasive options available
- Combination with other facial rejuvenation procedures
A neck lift can remove excess skin, fat, and muscle banding to create a more youthful and defined neckline.  A more attractive neck can help boost self-esteem! The effects of a neck lift can be long-lasting, especially when combined with a healthy lifestyle.
Depending on the case, liposuction or submentoplasty can be done with minimal invasiveness and combined with other facial rejuvenation procedures, such as a facelift or brow lift, which can enhance the overall result.
It is important to note that every patient has different expectations, anatomy, and goals, and the outcome will vary. Consultation with a triple-board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Hendrick will help you understand the benefits and risks of the procedure.
Ideal Candidates for Neck Lift
Ideal candidates for a neck lift are typically individuals in good overall health and with realistic expectations for the procedure. They typically have one or more of the following concerns:
- Loose or sagging skin on the neck
- A double chin or fullness in the neck
- A “turkey gobbler” appearance caused by muscle banding in the neck
- Excess fat that is resistant to diet and exercise in the neck
- A loss of definition in the jawline
A person who is not a smoker or has stopped smoking at least two to three weeks before the surgery and who has a stable weight is a good candidate for surgery. Patients should be at or near their ideal weight or not planning to lose a significant amount of weight.
It is important to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. They will review your medical history, examine your neck, and discuss your goals and expectations to determine the best course of treatment for you.
Dr. Hendrick will carefully examine the tissues of your neck and determine the best surgical approach for your individual needs. He thoroughly understands the intricate structures that make up the neck and how to evaluate them during your consultation. He will consider your goals and anatomy to create a personalized treatment plan that will help you achieve the youthful and well-contoured neck you desire.
Dr. Hendrick will show you a step-by-step plan for the surgery; this plan is based on what can be changed about your neck. He will explain how much the surgery will help and what you can expect after surgery, including what to expect from recovery.
Dr. Hendrick needs to make sure you are a good candidate for surgery, so he will ask you questions like:
- How is your health?
- What surgeries have you had before?
- What medications are you taking?
- What do you expect from surgery?
You should bring in a list of questions for the doctor as well. Dr. Hendrick and his team are here to answer questions and address your concerns, so you feel ready and confident going into surgery.
Preparing for Surgery
Dr. Hendrick may require you to have a physical examination and blood tests before the surgery to ensure that you are in good health and can safely undergo the procedure. Here is what you can do to prepare; we will give you detailed instructions before your surgery.
- If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking at least two weeks before surgery and two weeks after.
- We will inform you of any medications to avoid before and after surgery, including aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as they can increase the risk of bleeding.
- You will be under either local or general anesthesia during the procedure and will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours.
We will give you instructions on how to care for yourself after surgery, including any restrictions on activities, medications to take, and when to follow. By following these steps, you will be better prepared for your surgery and increase the chances of a smooth recovery.
It is very important to follow the instructions of your surgeon and the Millard Plastic Surgery medical team, as we are well-equipped to advise you on the best way to prepare for the surgery and to recover from it.
Patients will receive anesthesia to ensure they are completely and pain-free during the procedure, ensuring they are comfortable and safe during the surgery. An anesthesiologist will closely monitor the patient throughout the surgery.
For patients with youthful but fatty necks, the doctor will remove the extra fat with a procedure called liposuction. Liposuction of the neck removes excess fat from the neck and jawline area. The procedure is usually performed using a thin tube called a cannula inserted through small incisions near the area to be treated. The cannula is used to suction out excess fat.
Liposuction of the neck can be used to
- Improve the appearance of a double chin
- Reduce a thick or full neck
- Create a more defined jawline
It is often performed in combination with other facial rejuvenation procedures, such as neck lifts, to achieve the desired results.
For patients with early signs of aging in the neck, the doctor will do a surgery called submentoplasty, which includes making a small cut under the chin, taking out extra fat, and tightening the muscle under the chin.
For patients with a more advanced aging neck, the doctor will do a neck lift, which involves removing extra fat, doing submentoplasty, and then lifting and removing extra skin. It is important to fix the front part of the platysma muscle when doing a neck lift.
Platysmaplasty or platysma banding surgery addresses the platysma muscle, a sheet of muscle running down the front of the neck. The platysma muscle can become lax and develop bands or cords as we age, creating a “turkey gobbler” appearance. Platysmaplasty tightens and smooths out these bands, creating a more youthful and defined neckline.
The procedure may involve making small incisions in the neck and then tightening or suturing the platysma muscle. It is often done with other facial rejuvenation procedures, such as a neck lift.
After the surgery, the patient will wake up from the anesthesia and be closely monitored by the medical team until they recover.
Recovery from Surgery
Recovery from a neck lift surgery can vary depending on the individual and the type of procedure performed. Generally, patients can expect some swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the neck area following the surgery. Dr. Hendrick will prescribe medication to help manage any discomfort you may experience during recovery. Applying cold compresses to the neck can further help reduce swelling and bruising.
You will have bandages or dressing on the surgical incisions; these will be removed or changed by Dr. Hendrick according to the type of procedure. Your surgeon will give you instructions on caring for any surgical incisions, including the best ways to minimize scarring.
You will need to rest and avoid strenuous activities for the first few days or weeks following the surgery. Follow the instructions we provide you, trust your body, and you will show off your neck in no time.
What are the Results of a Neck Lift?
The results of a neck lift are usually long-lasting and can be further enhanced with a healthy lifestyle. They may vary depending on the individual and the type of procedure performed. Still, generally, patients can expect a more defined and youthful neckline with improved contours and a more defined jawline.
The procedure can help to reduce the appearance of
- A double chin
- Crepey, wrinkled neck skin
- A thick or full neck
- Muscle banding in the neck
Patients will no longer need to dress to hide the age of their neck, so wear those low-cut tops, the scoops, and v-necks that have sat at the back of your closet for years. Confidently present your new appearance to the world!
What is the Cost of a Neck Lift in Denver?
The cost of your procedure will depend upon the extent of surgery and which techniques Dr. Hendricks uses, and other factors. Patients will receive a full cost breakdown from Dr. Hendricks during the consultation, including the cost of the surgical procedure, anesthesia, and any necessary post-operative appointments.
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- DiBernardo BE. The aging neck: A diagnostic approach to surgical and nonsurgical options. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy. 2013;15(2):56-64. doi:10.3109/14764172.2012.758383