Neck Lift

What Is A Neck Lift?

A neck lift, also known surgically as a platysmaplasty, is a popular surgical procedure designed to tighten the loose muscles and skin from around the jawline down the neck. As a person ages, it is common to develop sagging skin, excess fat, and muscle laxity around the jawline and neck. It’s nearly impossible to hide a “turkey neck,” which can be due to excess skin or banding of the platysma muscle.

Neck lift surgery is offered in Washington, D.C. at West End Plastic Surgery to rejuvenate the neck by directly treating the platysma muscle, which is the band of muscle that extends from the upper collarbone to the edges of the jawbone. After the procedure, you can expect a natural and more youthful appearance of the neck.  After meeting with your surgeon, they may determine that you are a better candidate for a J-Plasma Neck Lift.

Candidates For Neck Lift Surgery

An ideal candidate for a neck lift is a man or woman who is between 40 and 70, in good overall health, and has realistic expectations about the procedure. It is helpful if you have good skin tone and elasticity. If your primary concern is a double chin, your surgeon may recommend KYBELLA™ injections to reduce the fat under your chin. Your skin and neck structure will be evaluated at your initial consultation to determine whether a neck lift is appropriate for you.

People typically choose this procedure to correct one or a combination of the following concerns:

  • Double chin
  • Loose neck skin due to age or extreme weight loss
  • Wrinkled skin in the middle of the neck

Some patients with laxity of the neck may be candidates for a non-surgical approach. Your surgeon can discuss minimally invasive options such as JPlamsa,  ThermiTight™ , or Ultherapy® skin tightening if you are a good candidate.

“Dr. Wang rolled back the clocks of time for me. I look like I did 10-15 years ago! Friends can't put their finger on what has changed and have asked if I lost weight or come back from vacation. I giggle inside as I no longer have those deep hollows under my eyes, the jowls, or the ugly turkey neck. I am one month out now and still in the process of healing but am overjoyed with the amazing results.” -S.D.

What To Expect From Your Neck Lift Consultation

Your consultation with Dr. Ruff and Dr. Wang is the time to discuss your cosmetic goals. Your doctor explains the procedure, details his surgical plan, and answers your questions. The type of anesthesia used, potential risks, and cost and payment information are discussed. You will be asked to provide a medical history.

During your consultation we will:

  • Review the various neck lift options with you
  • Clearly discuss the potential risks of the procedure
  • Outline in detail how the surgery is performed and what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure
  • Provide detailed cost and payment information
  • Answer all your questions
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You will be asked to provide:

  • Details about your medical history
  • A list of all medications you take, including over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, vitamins, and herbal supplements
  • Information regarding your tobacco and alcohol use

The Neck Lift Procedure

Your neck lift procedure is performed in our state-of-the-art surgical suite or at one of the area hospitals where our surgeons operate. The surgery can be performed using either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation depending on what you and your doctor prefer. With general anesthesia, you will be completely asleep throughout the procedure. With local anesthesia, you will be lightly sedated and your neck and the surrounding area will be numbed. You will be awake but will be relaxed and will feel no discomfort. The type of anesthesia used as well as the length of your procedure (usually 1 to 3 hours) will be discussed with you at your initial consultation.

Working through an incision under the chin, your doctor carefully lifts the skin of the neck, removes excess tissue, and tightens underlying muscles with sutures. Excess skin at the point of the incisions may also be trimmed away.

The incisions are then closed with stitches, and a bandage is placed under your chin. An elastic garment is wrapped around your neck and head to aid in the healing process. The bandage and any drains that were used are usually removed the morning after surgery, but the elastic garment must be worn at night for the first 2 weeks after your surgery.

What To Expect After Your Neck Lift Surgery

Bandage Removed The Day After Surgery
Shower and Shampoo Hair 2 Days After Surgery
Stitches Removed 1 Week to 10 Days After Surgery
Back to Work 2 Weeks After Surgery
Driving As Soon as You Feel Comfortable
Strenuous Activity 3 Weeks After Surgery
Fading of Scars Several Months to 1 Year
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We’re as thrilled with our patients’ results as they are. Check out our before-and-after photo gallery and see for yourself the kind of work our talented surgeons do.

Immediately After Your Surgery

In most cases, neck lift surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and you go home shortly after the surgery. You may be sleepy from the anesthesia and the area around your incisions will be sore, so you will need to have someone drive you home. You will have mild discomfort, most of which can be alleviated with prescribed pain medication.

The First 24 to 48 Hours After Your Surgery

Most neck lift patients are up and around the day after surgery. The bandage that was placed under your chin will be removed the day after your surgery. The elastic garment that was wrapped around your head and neck can be removed during the day, but must be worn at night for 2 weeks after your neck lift. There will most likely be some swelling and localized bruising, both of which usually disappear in 10 to 14 days.

The First 2 Weeks After Surgery

You will notice a marked improvement in your discomfort level during the first few weeks after your surgery. In fact, the majority of neck lift patients return to work within 2 weeks of their surgery. Normal activities can be resumed as soon as you feel comfortable. Any bruising or swelling will generally disappear within 10 to 14 days of surgery. Your stitches are removed approximately 5 to 7 days after your neck lift. The elastic garment that wraps around your head and neck must be worn while sleeping for the first 2 weeks after surgery.

When Can Normal Activities Be Resumed After My Neck Lift?

Everyone heals at different rates, and you are the best judge of when you are ready for certain activities, but the following are general guidelines:

  • You can most likely return to work or school within 2 weeks after your surgery.
  • You can resume driving as soon as you feel comfortable doing so.
  • You can most likely return to your physical exercise program within 3 weeks of your neck lift. Our patients are encouraged to plan an exercise program and discuss it with the staff prior to resuming exercise.
  • Most of the visible signs of your surgery should fade within about 3 weeks.

Things to Be Aware of After Your Surgery

  • You may experience a loss of sensation or numbness in the area of your surgery. This is entirely normal and may take several months to disappear.
  • You may notice a tingling sensation in the surgical area. This feeling is a result of the healing of the nerves in the area and will go away within several months of your procedure.

Risks Of Neck Lift Surgery

All surgical procedures have some degree of risk; however, major complications from neck lift surgery are unusual. During your initial consultation with Dr. Ruff, Dr. Wang, and the staff of West End Plastic Surgery, your individual risks will be assessed and discussed. As with any surgery, you can help reduce the risks by closely following the pre- and post-surgery instructions provided to you. We will be with you every step of the way to ensure a safe and pleasing outcome.

Most likely risks include the following:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood or fluid collection
  • Asymmetry
  • Scarring
  • Distortion of the earlobe

How Long Will the Results of Your Neck Lift Last?

Neck lift surgery can provide you with a more youthful and defined profile. These results generally last 5 to 10 years and longer in many cases. It is important to keep in mind that the effects of aging and gravity will eventually cause the skin and muscles in your neck to become loose and begin to sag.

Read what our patients are saying!

" The office is stunning. So stunning they have art viewings! The office is bright, clean, and there are cold beverages to sip while you wait. The white leather couches are comfortable and the front office staff are helpful, non-judgmental, and open to helping with all billing and scheduling needs. You never have to wait long, which is awesome for a Dr.’s office! I have nothing but glowing things to say about Dr. Patrick! She makes me laugh and is so personable you always feel comfortable. She is professional and discusses everything without rushing you. I always feel like I'm in good hands. "

Click here to read more reviews.

What Is J-Plasma?

J-Plasma represents a paradigm shift in plastic surgery.  J-Plasma is a revolutionary minimally invasive procedure that uses subdermal cold plasma energy to instantly tighten and rejuvenate anywhere on the face and body. A unique alternative to traditional facelifts, tummy tucks and body sculpting, the J-Plasma procedure will shrink and sculpt loose and lax skin without large incisions, downtime or the complications of cosmetic surgery.

Questions You May Have

What is a Single Line Neck Lift?

The Single Line Neck Lift can be used to treat the sagging platysma muscle and loose, misplaced skin in the submental (chin) region. While this treatment has been "trending" it does not offer the same comprehensive and long terms results as a traditional neck lift. The Single Line Neck Lift doesn’t address the entire neck, jawline, and jowls. Most people looking to improve the appearance of their lower face and neck would not be a candidate and it would not be an effective solution for them.

What is a Deep Plane Neck Lift?

There are several different neck lift techniques that can target visible aging and create a more youthful appearance. The right approach for you will depend on your cosmetic concerns and the degree of change you want to see. Arguably, a deep plane neck lift offers the most dramatic and comprehensive results. It addresses the structural causes of an aging neck including the skin, fat, muscle, and ligaments. Your newly sculpted and refined contours will last for many years.

Are There Other Procedures That Could Be Done Along With Neck Lift Surgery to Enhance the Overall Appearance of My Face?

A neck lift is often performed in conjunction with a brow lift or a facelift to provide a smoother, more youthful look to the face. Facial implants can be used to provide fullness and youthfulness to certain areas of the face, especially the chin and jawline. Procedures complementary to your neck lift surgery will be discussed with you during your initial consultation.

Will My Insurance Coverage Pay For My Neck Lift?

Neck lift surgery is considered cosmetic surgery and, therefore, is not covered by insurance. You are responsible for the full payment of the procedure. Cost and payment information will be fully discussed with you during your initial consultation.

Are There Alternatives to Neck Lift Surgery?

If you have excess fat in your neck area but your skin is still taut, VASER LipoSelection™ may produce a more sculpted, angular, and youthful jawline.

How Does J-Plasma Compare to Neck Lift Surgery?

The lower face, jawline, and neck are some of the most common areas to change as we age. Tissue from the mid-face descends downward and fatty tissue may become depleted across the cheeks, leaving the skin looking deflated and soft at the jawline. Mid-face changes, as well as the decline of collagen and elastin on a widespread level, can also contribute to the development of submental fullness under the chin. Historically, neck lift surgery has been performed to correct these issues, as well as loose skin on the front of the neck, often referred to as "turkey neck."

While the neck lift surgically tightens and trims excess tissue, resulting in a more sculpted jawline, J-Plasma treatment is cleared to tighten loose tissue via helium plasma technology combined with radiofrequency. This minimally invasive procedure is designed to stimulate deep tissue contraction. However, it is best suited for younger adults or those who have only moderate tissue laxity. In this circumstance, J-Plasma works in just one treatment session. Performed through tiny incisions, this non-surgical neck tightening treatment requires only a few weeks for complete healing. That said, it may take some time for the full effects of the treatment to develop.

If your neck is affected by more severe drooping and submental fullness, you may be a better candidate for a surgical neck lift. You can expect longer-lasting results by taking this avenue, and can also maintain your results as needed by having J-Plasma years down the line when you begin to notice age-related softening at the jawline. 

Can Neck Lift Surgery Eliminate Jowls?

Jowls are a very common problem that can develop sometime around mid-life. The pockets of sagging skin at the sides of the jawline occur as a result of tissue laxity across the lower and mid-face. Because the jowls are right at the jawline, patients often feel unsure about which procedure they need to correct this issue. A neck lift can improve the appearance of jowls because this procedure tightens skin right up to the jawline. However, your surgeon may explore the benefits of a facelift to address your concerns more effectively. During your comprehensive consultation for neck or face rejuvenation, your surgeon will examine the origin of jowls. For instance, if you have minor softening at the jawline and under the chin that is solely related to laxity in the immediate area, you may be a good candidate for a neck lift. Often, what we discover is that jowls are also a result of the descent of mid-face tissue. With this being the case, optimal results may be achieved with a facelift or a combination facelift and neck lift. 

We are committed to achieving optimal cosmetic outcomes for every patient. When you consult with your surgeon about your concerns, you can expect a thorough discussion about the factors that may be contributing to the problem and your options for successful, long-term correction. 

Schedule a Neck Lift Consultation

To schedule an appointment for Neck Lift surgery or to set up a consultation with a specialist, please call us at 202-869-1900 or fill out an online contact form and our office will be in touch with you. Thank you for choosing West End Plastic Surgery in Washington, DC!

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