The results of facial plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures, no matter how natural, often look out of place if the aging neck is ignored during the rejuvenation process. Plastic surgery of the neck is often necessary for complete facial rejuvenation. In the same way that the face and body eventually show signs of aging, the neck also deteriorates later in life. Over time, patients may notice significant changes in this area, like a poorly defined jawline, sagging skin below the chin, prominent vertical bands, and excess, wrinkled neck skin. Neck lift surgery is performed by facial plastic surgeon Dr. Allan Wulc of Philadelphia’s W Cosmetic Surgery to restore a youthful-looking neck and improve a patient’s overall aesthetics.
Table of Contents
- Why a Neck Lift?
- How is a Neck Lift Performed?
- Neck Lift Differences
- Neck Liposuction
- Healing and Post-Operative
- W Cosmetic Surgery
Why a Neck Lift?
Signs of aging in the neck can cause a person to look older than they actually feel. There are many causes of visible aging, only some of which can be controlled. Weight gain and loss, sun damage, genetics, and gravity are the main causes of neck area deterioration. Over time, laxity of the tissues can affect neck skin and create a “turkey wattle” appearance.
Those who would like to improve the look of their neck by removing skin and excess fat and tightening the tissues can opt to undergo a cosmetic neck lift surgery. The procedure is designed to slim the jawline and improve facial attractiveness, eliminate the look of a double chin, and smooth bands and creases in the neck.
How is a Neck Lift Performed?
Generally performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis, a neck lift begins with Dr. Wulc making small incisions. These are hidden in the natural curvature of the ears and are sometimes also created under the chin or on the front of the neck. Once Dr. Wulc reaches the interior structures, he can begin the neck contouring procedure. Localized fat deposits can be repositioned within the neck, or removed through liposuction or excision. Loose muscles can also be repaired through a tightening process. The separated vertical platysma muscles of the neck are sutured closer together with horizontal stitches to create a sleek and slender neck. Loose tissue is reattached from areas where it has sagged. Extra skin is trimmed away from the neck to hug the new contours and the skin is closed with sutures.
Through this skin-tightening, muscle repositioning, and expert liposuction technique, neck lift surgery can eliminate the look of a double chin and a turkey neck or “wattle,” which are the chief complaints most patients relay to Dr. Wulc.
Neck Lift Surgery Results
To achieve a more youthful appearance, a neck lift is often performed simultaneously with a facelift. Some typical results of both procedures are featured in our neck lift gallery.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
Female and Male Neck Lift Differences
Women and men tend to have different facial shapes which are dictated, in part, by hormones. Often, men have squarer jaws, while women have rounded or oval-shaped lower faces. During the aging process, sagging of the facial tissues can create jowls, causing a square appearance of the jaw. Neck lift surgery is carefully tailored to enhance a masculine jawline in men or restore a feminine look in women while eliminating unwanted bulk and laxity. Contouring below the chin also helps to highlight the preferred aesthetic of the patient’s face.
Procedures that Complement a Neck Lift
The neck typically ages at a rate similar to the rest of the face and should be considered when planning an anti-aging makeover. A neck lift can be performed on its own or alongside additional facial plastic surgeries. Because the neck is positioned between the face and décolleté in women, and the chest in men, the area below the neck may also be addressed.
A neck lift is commonly performed as the natural extension of a facelift. While the facelift and mini facelift address the upper neck or the portion around the jawline and chin, these procedures do not address the entirety of the neck.
Eyelid Lift (Blepharoplasty)
In many patients who display signs of aging, the eyes are no exception. They can appear tired or hooded with creepy upper eyelid skin, there may be visible fat pads creating bags below the eyes, or the patient may have wrinkles surrounding them. Upper and lower eyelid surgery can be performed to address these issues.
Vertical expression lines often span the forehead in aging individuals, or the brows may sag over time. A brow lift surgery treats both of these issues by lifting the skin and eliminating extra tissue. In some cases, a brow lift may also create minor changes in the upper eyelids.
Collagen Remodeling Treatments
Along with aging skin of the face and neck, the décolleté or chest can have wrinkles and age spots. In this area, non-surgical treatments are favored. Laser skin resurfacing, intense pulsed light therapy, microdermabrasion, microneedling, and even some chemical peels can smooth the skin and lighten pigmented areas. These treatments change the makeup of the skin at the cellular level. By stimulating collagen production through medically-controlled skin injuries, patients can enjoy the benefit of long term results and better skin health.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
Neck Lift Candidates
Both men and women alike can benefit from neck lift surgery, as it is not gender-specific. The procedure can be tailored to enhance either a feminine or masculine jawline. Patients who are best suited for a neck lift are those who want to rejuvenate their neck, are in good overall health and have realistic expectations of the surgical outcome. One benefit of undergoing a neck lift is that it can make the patient appear slimmer. Extra bulk under the chin can lead to the perceived look of weight gain. By eliminating unwanted fat and skin and tightening the neck muscles, a patient’s face can appear slimmer. During the planning phase, a surgeon will discuss any recommended complementary procedures to enhance the results of a neck lift.
The best way for prospective patients to find out if they are a surgical candidate is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wulc at his Philadelphia practice, W Cosmetic Surgery. During this initial office visit, the doctor will review the patient’s provided health history, perform a thorough examination of the neck, and ask the patient to explain which changes of the neck they are expecting.
Using this process, Dr. Wulc can determine if neck lift surgery is the best cosmetic procedure for the patient’s needs. In some cases, he may recommend other treatment options or suggest a combination of procedures to help the patient achieve their aesthetic goals. The surgeon will discuss the procedure or procedures in full, detailing how each is performed and the expected outcome. While at the office, the patient can also ask questions and review the cost of a neck lift or any other recommended surgical procedure with the business staff.
Patients interested in neck contouring who have good skin elasticity may be candidates for liposuction without neck muscle tightening or neck skin removal. This version of the procedure is most ideal for patients 50 and younger. After the fat has been suctioned away, the skin will retract on its own and the neck will appear trimmer. Neck liposuction can also remove excess fat to eliminate a double chin. This cosmetic procedure is usually performed through tumescent liposuction, which involves the use of a medicated liquid below the skin to cause a firming of the fatty tissue for easier removal.
Patients with minimal excess skin may be candidates for less invasive skin-tightening options, rather than a full surgical procedure. Laser lipolysis offers a minimally-invasive treatment under brand names Smart Lipo™, SlimLipo™, or Lipotherme™. During the procedure, laser energy is delivered through the skin to heat and destroy fat cells while simultaneously contracting the skin. During the ThermiTight® procedure, radiofrequency (RF) energy is delivered through the skin in an incision-less treatment to produce similar effects. Both laser lipolysis and radiofrequency treatments eliminate unwanted fat and tighten the skin with minimal downtime.
Healing and Post-Operative Care Following Neck Lift
The recovery period for a neck lift is generally 5-7 days in most cases. If the neck cosmetic surgery was performed in conjunction with other procedures, like a facelift, the healing time might be longer. Patients may notice area bruises and swelling in the days following the neck lift, which should subside in a week or so. Any discoloration or surgical incisions in the neck area can be covered with approved cosmetics and clothing after Dr. Wulc deems it to be safe. The neck may feel tight and slightly stiff for the next few weeks, but the sensations will gradually fade as results emerge, and ultrasonic techniques that we employ in our office can help soften this stiffness.
Frequently Asked Questions about Neck Lift Surgery
How does a neck lift differ from a facelift?
Neck lift surgery addresses the area of the neck from below the chin to the chest. During the procedure, Dr. Wulc can remove extra fat and skin and tighten the neck muscles. Facelift surgery is performed to restore youth to the lower and middle areas of the face, spanning from the upper cheeks to the jawline. It can rejuvenate the upper neck area with fat and skin removal, but will not improve muscle laxity.
Should I undergo a surgical procedure or non-surgical neck lift?
During a doctor-patient consultation, Dr. Wulc can advise patients on which neck rejuvenation options are best for their needs. Generally, younger patients or those with good skin quality will be better suited for laser lipolysis or radiofrequency energy distribution. Patients with excess skin that will not retract to its original shape against the neck will usually need neck lift surgery.
Why do fatty deposits develop in the neck?
Fat can accumulate in the neck for different reasons. When the platysma muscles separate, the underlying fat layer is no longer covered by a tightly-woven structure. This causes the fat to appear in deposits below the skin. After weight gain, fat accumulates throughout the face and body, including the neck. Other conditions or factors may also contribute to a bulky appearance of the neck.
Is a neck lift painful?
Patients are placed in a medically-induced sleep with a combination of sedation and local anesthesia, so they are not aware during the surgery and therefore will not feel pain. After the procedure, any unwanted post-operative sensations can be kept at bay with pain medications. The neck may feel tight for several days, or even a few weeks after surgery.
I'm so happy I found Dr. Wulc. The entire staff is personable, competent and friendly. My procedure included a face and neck lift and chin implant. Dr. Wulc did not disappoint. He even incorporated some extra nip tucks I didn't anticipate which provided amazing results. His kindness and attentiveness is only exceeded by his artistry and skill. I am delighted.
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W Cosmetic Surgery of Philadelphia
Philadelphia facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Allan Wulc, MD, FACS, has credentials unique to his fellow practitioners in the tri-state area. Dr. Wulc is board certified by the ABMS board in Ophthalmology. Additionally, he is board certified in Facial Cosmetic Surgery by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, where he served as a trustee for six years. He is also board certified in plastic surgery by the American Board of Physician Specialists.
He is further trained in Oculoplastic Surgery, Orbital Surgery, and Cosmetic Surgery and a diplomate of the nationally recognized and highly exclusive American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, and the American Academy of Surgeons.
With these additional qualifications in cosmetic eye surgery, Dr. Wulc is a top blepharoplasty doctor in the Philadelphia area. Dr. Wulc is passionate about anti-aging medicine and specializes in minimally invasive treatments that result in maximum aesthetic improvements. With over 25 years of experience, Dr. Wulc has made his mark in the field of facial plastics by developing new surgical techniques, educating fellow surgeons, and publishing numerous works.
W Cosmetic Surgery boasts an extensive menu of cosmetic treatments, including various ways to improve the look of the neck. Call the clinic to book your neck lift consultation at (610) 828-8880, or fill out the Contact Us form to request a staff member to reach out to you.