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Neck Lift

Koch Facial Plastic Surgery

R. James Koch, M.D.

Facial Plastic Surgeon located in San Mateo, CA

It is a natural part of the aging process to experience neck skin sagging due to the effects of gravity and changes in the quality of the skin (such as being less firm and more lax).  Neck fat also changes in response to aging and gravity.  At Koch Facial Plastic Surgery in San Mateo, California, skilled surgeon R. James Koch, MD specializes in in-office neck lift procedures that are less invasive than a traditional neck lift without the need for general anesthesia.  This treatment helps to refresh your appearance and the natural contours of your neck without extensive surgery.  Dr. Koch customizes your treatment plan and can also perform other neck-contouring procedures to enhance your overall results. Call Koch Facial Plastic Surgery to schedule a neck lift consultation or book one online today.

Neck Lift Q & A

What is a Neck Lift?

A Neck lift, usually performed in the office setting, is a surgical procedure that improves the visible signs of aging in the neck such as loose and wrinkled skin, and excess fat deposits in the neck. This treatment improves the natural contours of your neck and addresses the effects of aging and also weight loss.  Depending upon the patient’s condition and desires, the treatment plan is customized and may include neck fat removal (liposuction), ultrasound-assisted liposuction (VASER®), direct removal of loose skin (submentoplasty), or reducing the appearance of neck cords aka platysmal bands (platysmaplasty).

What is my Neck Type?

Is it a) Youthful, b) Small Amount of Loose Skin & Fat, c) Moderate Amount of Loose Skin & Fat, d) Severe Amount of Loose Skin & Fat, e) “Turkey Neck”, or f) Platysmal Bands?  Some neck types can be significantly improved with standalone suction-assisted liposuction while some may further benefit from simultaneously tightening the neck skin with ultrasound-assisted liposuction (VASER®).  Others may experience significant improvement when the liposuction is supplemented by a submentoplasty (direct removal of excessive neck skin performed in a hidden fashion).  Some may not have a noticeable amount of neck fat or loose skin but have visible neck muscle cords which can be significantly improved with a platysmaplasty.  Still, some may further require a facelift (which is also a type of neck lift) for the optimal result. 

What does it mean that the procedure is performed in the “office setting”?

Dr. Koch performs many procedures in his on-site procedure room in Suite A under “twilight” conscious sedation using oral medications and tumescent anesthesia.  These are not “Mini” versions of the procedures, but the Gold Standard ones.  Although patients are fully monitored and pre-screened for this approach, they are performed without an IV or the cost and risks of a general anesthetic. Dr. Koch finds that most patients enjoy a twilight anesthetic where they are completely comfortable but can still communicate with their surgeon.

What happens during a Neck Lift?

The goal of neck liposuction is to eliminate fat deposits in your neck and under your chin to give your neckline a more refined, nicely contoured appearance.  After the area is anesthetized, a small incision is made beneath your chin in a natural crease to access the excessive neck fat.  At times additional incisions are made, hidden behind the ears, to improve access to harder to reach fat.   A small cannula is then used to remove the excess fat and sculpt the remaining fat to improve the natural contours of your neck and chin.  In many cases, the skin of the neck becomes tighter after simple liposuction, further enhancing your results.  If you’re having additional surgeries to improve the appearance of your neck, such as removal of excess skin or repair of cord-like neck bands, this will then occur while ensuring natural-looking results.

How long does it take to recover from a Neck Lift?

Because only small incisions are needed to remove neck fat and any excess skin is removed in a controlled fashion, you can expect to heal faster and with fewer complications than you might experience with more invasive surgery.  Immediately following an in-office neck lift, you will need to wear a neck support strap for several days to help you heal properly.  Typically, one is able to remove the neck support strap after 2 days to shower but it is otherwise worn continuously for 1 week and then at night for an additional week.  Usually drainage tubes or a compressive dressing are not necessary.

You will need a ride to and from the office on the day of surgery, and someone to stay with you that night.  You can usually do light activities the day after the procedure and get back to most of your usual activities within a week. Your sutures are typically removed after 1 week.  Dr. Koch can determine when it’s safe to resume strenuous exercise and heavy lifting based upon your healing process.

It’s common to have bruising and swelling in the treatment area, which will resolve on its own within a week or two of your procedure. As these issues go away, the results of your neck liposuction will become more noticeable.  If your neck still has good skin tone and elasticity, primarily based upon age, your neck will further tighten over the following months.  Your neckline will look slimmer, and your overall appearance will look younger and refreshed.

What can a Neck Lift not do?

While it directly improves the fat deposits and loose skin under the chin, which is the problem area for most patients, it does not affect those of the lower neck.  Because the procedure targets the upper neck, it will not affect the jowls or jawline for which a Facelift should be considered.  In addition, if the neck has a significant amount of loose skin and fat, then a Submentoplasty may be added to the liposuction to obtain the optimal result.

Finally, if a true “Turkey Neck” exists, the best approach is usually a Facelift plus elements of the Neck Lift as outlined.  Understanding this, some patients will proceed with a Neck Lift for interval improvement yet plan for a Facelift at a later time. Others will opt to have both performed at the same time to have one procedure and one recovery. 

Dr. Koch will discuss the best options for you considering your individual condition and desires.  To find out if you’re a candidate for a neck lift or another neck-enhancing procedure, call Koch Facial Plastic Surgery or schedule a consultation online today.