Hedden Plastic Surgery

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Face Procedures Neck Lift

Birmingham, Alabama Neck Lift

Lower Face Rejuvenation with our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons

The loss of youthful contours in the face and neck can be caused by factors including heredity, gravity, environmental conditions and stress. This condition often results in excess fat and skin relaxation in the lower face that creates jowls, excess fatty deposits under the chin, loose neck skin and abnormal contours created by muscle banding in the neck.

A Neck Lift, or Lower Rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves the visible signs of aging in the jawline and neck. When the neck area doesn't match the appearance of the upper face, a neck lift at Hedden Plastic Surgery's cosmetic surgery center in Birmingham, Alabama may be a good solution.

Neck Lift Candidates

In general, good candidates for a neck lift include:

  • Healthy people who do not have medical conditions that impair healing.
  • Non-smokers.
  • People with a positive outlook and realistic expectations.

Facial rejuvenation procedures that can be performed in conjunction with a neck lift include a Brow Lift to correct a sagging or deeply furrowed brow, Fat Transfer to add fullness to the lips and cheeks and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and upper or lower Eyelid Surgery to rejuvenate aging eyes.

Some people feel they are not ready for a full Facelift because the upper face is still pleasing. However, many patients note excess wrinkling of the neck skin, a "turkey wattle" or double chin and jowl lines.

A neck lift can only be performed surgically. Nonsurgical rejuvenation treatments cannot achieve the same results, but may help delay the time at which a neck lift becomes appropriate and complement the results of surgery.

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Your Neck Lift Consultation

By choosing a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) for your neck lift procedure, you can be assured that you are choosing a highly-trained, board-certified plastic surgeon. ASPS Member Surgeons must meet rigorous standards for training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery.

During your neck lift consultation, be prepared to discuss:

  • Your surgical goals.
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments.
  • Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
  • Previous surgeries.

Your neck lift surgeon will also:

  • Evaluate your general health and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors.
  • Examine and measure your face.
  • Take photographs.
  • Discuss your facial rejuvenation options and recommend a course of treatment.
  • Discuss the likely outcomes of a neck lift and any risks or potential complications.
  • Discuss the type of anesthesia that will be used.

Be sure to ask questions at your consultation. It is very important to understand all aspects of your neck lift. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether preoperative stress or excitement about your anticipated new look. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

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Neck Lift Risks and Safety Information

The decision to have neck lift surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits of a neck lift will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.

The risks of a neck lift include:

  • Anesthesia risks.
  • Bleeding.
  • Temporary or permanent hair loss along the incisions.
  • Facial asymmetry.
  • Rarely, nerve injury that could cause weakness of the lower lip.
  • Fluid accumulation (hematoma).
  • Infection.
  • Unfavorable scarring.
  • Prolonged swelling.
  • Skin irregularities and discoloration.
  • Skin loss.
  • Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation and require removal.
  • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation.
  • Persistent pain.
  • Poor wound healing.
  • Rarely, risk of deep venous thrombosis with cardiac or pulmonary sequelae.
  • Unsatisfactory results which may require revisional surgery.

These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all of your questions directly with your plastic surgeon. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.

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Preparing for a Neck Lift

In preparing for neck lift surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation.
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, as they can increase bleeding.

Special instructions you receive will cover:

  • What to do on the night before and morning of surgery.
  • The use of anesthesia during your neck lift.
  • Post-operative care and follow-up.

A neck lift may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, licensed ambulatory surgical center or hospital. Since your neck lift will be performed as an outpatient procedure, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and stay with you for at least the first night.

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Neck Lift Procedure

Medications are administered for comfort during your neck lift procedure. Anesthesia choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Neck Lift Incisions

Depending on the degree of change you would like to see, your neck lift choices include a traditional neck lift incision or a limited incision neck lift.

A traditional neck lift incision often begins in the hairline at the level of the sideburn, continues down and around the ear and ends in the posterior hair. Fat may be sculpted or redistributed from the jowls and neck. The tissue underlying the neck skin is repositioned and the platysma muscle is commonly tightened. Skin is redraped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is trimmed away. A separate incision under the chin is often necessary for Liposuction of this area and for repair of the muscle. The incisions are closed with sutures or skin adhesives.

A limited incision neck lift may involve incisions only around the ear. While the incisions are shorter, the results may be more limited.

Incision lines are closed with sutures and perhaps skin glue. Sutures may be dissolving or may need to be removed after a few days. Once healed, the incision lines from a neck lift are usually well-concealed within the hairline and in the natural contours of the ear.

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Neck Lift Recovery

Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself. Following your plastic surgeon's instructions is essential to the success of your surgery. These instructions may include:

  • How to care for the surgical site and drains.
  • Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection.
  • Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health.
  • When to follow-up with your plastic surgeon.

When your neck lift procedure is completed, a bandage may be gently placed around your face and neck to minimize swelling and bruising. A thin tube may be present to drain any excess blood or fluids that collect under the skin.

It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. Avoid wearing any clothing that must go over your head.

It is important to keep your head elevated above your heart to minimize swelling and to keep your head straight (no excessive twisting or bending of the neck). Do not apply ice to the neck as this can compromise blood flow and result in skin death.

Be sure to ask your neck lift surgeon specific questions about what to expect during your neck lift recovery period:

  • Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
  • What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
  • Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery, and when will they be removed?
  • Are stitches removed, and when?
  • When is it safe for me to drive?
  • When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
  • When do I return for follow-up care?

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Neck Lift Results

The visible improvements of a neck lift appear as swelling and bruising subside. As you begin to evaluate the results of your neck lift, remember that it may take several weeks to months for swelling to fully dissipate and up to 6 months for incision lines to mature. Your final result should not only restore a more youthful and rested appearance, but also help you feel more confident about yourself.

Life-long sun protection and a healthy lifestyle will help extend the results of your rejuvenated, more youthful appearance.

Although good results are expected from your neck lift, there is no guarantee. In some situations it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single procedure and another surgery may be necessary.

As a restorative surgery, a neck lift does not change your fundamental appearance and cannot stop the aging process.

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Procedure Information © American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Please contact our Birmingham, Alabama cosmetic surgeons today for a consultation to learn more about improving the jaw and neck with a Neck Lift.