Neck Lift Surgery: All Your Questions Answered

Unless you live in a very cold climate, say Alaska, where turtlenecks and scarves are part of a year-round wardrobe, it can be very difficult to hide the telltale signs of aging on your neck. This traitorous feature can undo even your most ardent efforts at keeping the skin on your face youthful and vibrant.

At McHugh Plastic Surgery, we want our patients in The Woodlands, Texas, and surrounding areas, to have access to the full slate of anti-aging procedures, which is why we offer neck lifts in addition to our facelift services. Tightening up sagging neck skin may not be the marquee event that a facelift is, but it quietly does more to erase your passing years than almost any other cosmetic surgery.

In the following, we go over everything you need to know about neck lift surgery.

The turkey in the room

As the years go by, the skin on your neck suffers the same fate as the skin elsewhere on your body, but the effect is magnified thanks to its exposure and high visibility.

The average human skin covers a whopping 21 square feet, making it your largest organ. Its primary role is to protect your body from bacteria and the elements, such as the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, and it does a great job. Unfortunately, the evidence of this job well done often comes in the form of mounting blemishes, scars, and hyperpigmentation, mottling your otherwise clear skin.

On top of this, as you age, your skin naturally loses collagen and elastin, the two proteins responsible for the tone and elasticity in your skin. This means that your skin is unable to bounce back as it once did, or hold its place, which can be very evident in your neck.

Rounding out the forces that contribute to a sagging neck is the migration of fat down to the lowest point. When your skin loses elasticity and tone, it also loses the ability to hold the thin layer of fat beneath your skin, so your fat falls and ends up gathering around your chin, creating the dreaded double chin or large jowls.

Taken all together, these forces, along with your neck’s prominent and clearly visible position underneath your face, leave you with a neck that belies all of your anti-aging efforts, or worse, highlights the fact that you’ve “had work” in some areas, but not in others.

For a more overall youthful look that will leave people guessing, a neck lift provides a critical piece to the anti-aging puzzle.

The lift

A neck lift isn’t a terribly complicated procedure, and we’re often able to perform it on an outpatient basis, which means you’re free to return home on the same day. During the surgery, Thomas P. McHugh, MD, goes in through the underside of your chin or around your hairline to camouflage the incision. Once he gains access to the tissue in your neck, he removes or redistributes any excess fat and tightens your muscles.

When he’s successfully resculpted your neck and jowls, he pulls your skin taut over the area, removes any excess tissue, and sutures the skin back together.

After the lift

When your procedure is done, and we’re satisfied that you’re doing well, we send you home with detailed aftercare instructions. You should plan on taking it easy for the next few days to allow your body time to heal properly. While we use the most minimally invasive techniques possible, it’s still a surgery, and you may have some bruising and swelling afterward while your body is hard at work underneath to repair and rebuild itself under your new neck shape.

To speed up your recovery, you should follow our recommendations for keeping your incision site clean, which may mean skipping a shower for a few days. Once we give you the green light to get the incision wet, we still ask that you steer clear of any activity where you’re immersed in water.

As well, we also ask that you give your body some rest time, which means that you should avoid any strenuous exercise for a few weeks after your neck lift.

The debut

Since this is a surgical procedure, it’s hard to predict how one person heals as compared to another, so it’s almost impossible to supply you with a definite timeline. As well, many of our patients combine a neck lift with other procedures, which may extend the recovery period somewhat.

Ultimately, as your body heals, you’ll notice gradual results that improve each day as the swelling subsides, revealing a more shapely and taut neck beneath.

If you still have more questions about a neck lift, please don’t hesitate to call us. Or you can use the online scheduling tool to request an appointment.

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