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The skin on the neck is delicate and needs plenty of care and attention. As we age, our skin loses its elasticity, causing it to wrinkle and sag, with the neck often the very first part of the body to show signs of aging. If you neglect to take care of this delicate area, this will just exacerbate the problem.
Luckily there is one treatment which is perfect for turning back the clock on an aging neck.
A neck lift, also known as a lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure which improves visible signs of aging in the jawline and neck by removing fat and tightening the skin in this area.
Neck lift surgery is an excellent option if you are looking to hide some of the very first tell tale signs of aging in the jawline and neck, such as sagging or loose skin, folds and wrinkles.
The standard neck lift is similar to a face lift, in that the skin and underlying muscle is pulled upwards and back and the excess skin is removed. The result is a smoother, more defined and contoured neck.
Neck tightening is a great way of getting rid of jowls as it is the excess skin and fat in the lower face which causes these unwelcome facial features.
Neck lift surgery can often be combined with a face lift, to achieve a more enhanced result. It is also common for patients to opt for liposuction at the same time as their neck lift. Excess fatty deposits underneath the chin can lead to the appearance of a double chin. Lipo can quickly and efficiently remove this unwanted fat. A chin tuck is a popular addition when undergoing a neck lift procedure.
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We have invited a selection of the country's very best consultants to join us at the Cadogan Clinic so that you can be sure that whatever the nature of your treatment, you will be seeing one of the top practitioners in the country.
Mr. Georgios Orfaniotis
Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Mr Orfaniotis is a board certified Plastic Surgeon with 13 years experience and over 7500 operations performed. His thirst for knowledge, passion for innovation, and years of practice have resulted in the highest level of expertise in reconstructive and aesthetic surgery...See Full Profile
Mr. Tunc Tiryaki
Consultant Plastic Surgeon / GMC: 7497351
Mr Tunc Tiryaki is a Consultant Plastic Surgeon specialising in facial surgery. Mr Tiryaki has a special interest in mini face lifts and is a pioneer...See Full Profile
Mr. Paul Tulley
Plastic Surgeon / GMC: 4035952
Mr Paul Tulley is a renowned Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon specialising in facial rejuvenation, rhinoplasty, cosmetic breast surgery, liposuction and body contouring procedures...See Full Profile
The Neck lift procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and takes between one and two hours.
The standard neck lift is a modification of the facelift, where the skin and underlying platysma muscle are pulled upwards and backwards, towards the ear, where surplus skin is removed. Contouring and undermining are often carried out by liposuction, but we very often combine this procedure with fat grafting to rejuvenate the chin and jawline.
This procedure is effective as a standalone alone treatment but, where necessary, is combined with a facelift to give dramatic results. Your surgeon will discuss this with you in your initial consultation and recommend what is best for your individual case.
There are two neck lift techniques to be aware of:
A combination of both techniques above may be employed to achieve optimal results. It is also possible to remove excess fat through incisions made under the chin, via liposuction or surgical excision, during each procedure.
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To enquire about a consultation with a Neck Lift specialist, please complete the form:
Why Do People Have It?
As we age, we naturally begin to lose the youthful contours of our face and neck. This process can be accelerated by factors such as genetics, gravity, stress and even environmental conditions that may affect the skin on the face and neck.
Stretched or sagging neck skin is unlikely to shrink back naturally and typically cannot be tightened with diet and exercise. This is a common misconception, and surgical intervention may be the only way to deliver your desired results.
You might consider a Neck lift if you want:
The overall effect is to deliver a more sculpted, aesthetically pleasing and youthful neck, firmer to the touch and with tightened, smooth overlying skin.
The benefits of a Neck lift are both cosmetic and psychological, and include:
Who Is Suitable?
Cadogan Clinic considers individuals fit for the procedure, if all of the following are true of them:
A mini neck lift, also known as a one stitch neck lift, is a popular surgery choice for younger patients with less sagging skin but who still have the desire to achieve a smoother, younger-looking neck. A mini neck lift also helps to tackle the problem areas of the chin, jaw and jowls.
It is the perfect choice for a patient who is not quite ready for a full neck lift. It is a much less extensive surgery and costs less than a full neck lift.
Surgeons employ the same techniques as a full neck lift, but this treatment can be targeted at a more specific area, with minimal incisions required. Fewer incisions mean fewer scars and a much faster healing time.
This treatment is ideal for those aged in their 40s or 50s who are displaying the early signs of aging. You need to have good skin elasticity for the mini neck lift to ensure the best possible result. If you are older, or have a large amount of excess skin as a result of dramatic weight loss, you may wish to discuss alternative treatments with your consultant.
Just like every other surgery, not everyone is suitable for a mini neck lift treatment. The amount of extra fat present underneath the skin, the elasticity of the skin and the visibility of the platysma muscle all need to be taken into consideration when planning a mini neck lift treatment.
Although a mini neck lift can reset the aging process, the skin will continue to age from the point of surgery. In order to maintain the best results, it is crucial that patients take care of the delicate skin on the neck and avoid unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking and excessive sun exposure. These will age the skin faster, including the delicate skin on the neck, which is particularly prone to wrinkling and sagging.
The results of a mini neck lift are not as long lasting as the full neck lift, so a patient may wish to consider further treatment or a full neck lift in the future in order to maintain a youthful appearance.
Our expert surgeon will be able to discuss all the available surgical and non-surgical options with you at your first consultation.
I was nervous before my procedure, but I was put at ease by all the staff I encountered from my patient advisor, surgeon and the nursing staff. It was a huge reassurance to have access to the 24/7 on call nurse service immediately after my procedure also.
A massive thank you to the Cadogan Clinic. I am very pleased with the results from my surgery. My patient advisor was extremely organised and made me feel reassured throughout the whole experience. My surgeon was excellent and so was the Clinic team - I could not have asked for a better service
I had a procedure at the Cadogan Clinic. From my first consultation, my surgeon was honest, straight forward, and precise. All the details and expectations of the surgery were fully explained, along with the after care. I am still in recovery, but the results already look fantastic; they delivered on all the promises that he made to me.
Three weeks ago I had advanced fat transfer surgery and I am over the moon with the results. My whole wellbeing has been uplifted and I am so much more confident and happy with myself. Thank you to the Clinic and my surgeon for their fantastic work and expertise
I could not praise the Cadogan Clinic or their fantastic staff more highly. I had a wonderful experience, am delighted with my outcome and in particular very grateful to the 24/7 nursing staff who were always on hand for any questions I had, at whatever time day or night
The Cadogan Clinic and their surgical and nursing staff were excellent throughout my experience with them. The 24/7 nursing support in particular was a huge comfort to me, and I found them extremely responsive
A huge thank you to the Cadogan Clinic who looked after me whilst having surgery. They treated me with so much care and it was truly appreciated. The care from the nurses was wonderful, and I genuinely felt that they really cared. First class service from the start. I also had follow-up calls the day after, couldn’t ask for more. A huge thank you to all involved
I had the most amazing experience with the Cadogan Clinic. They were extremely accommodating and professional. I was a little bit hesitant to go through with it but their safety standards and professionalism put me at ease. Most importantly I am so happy with my results.
The first step for all of our Neck lift patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation. At the consultation, you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible given your existing anatomy.
Your surgeon will take you through the options available to you, and which is the most preferential for you given your stated ambitions. Having established this, several key measurements will be made and standard clinical photography will be taken.
Some questions you may want to ask your surgeon include:
If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two-week 'cooling-off' period.
Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.
If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure. Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended/required:
On the day of your procedure, we ask that you arrive for your admission an hour before the agreed start time of surgery. At this point a nurse will come and record blood pressure and other relevant vitals, you will meet with your anaesthetist and your surgeon who will make the final mark-ups.
Before surgery, the surgeon will measure up your neck to assess how much fat and/or skin needs to be removed. The neck is then photographed, with the skin markings, in various positions, front and back. The procedure is carried out under our form of general anaesthesia called T.I.V.A. (Total Intravenous Anaesthesia) and takes two hours.
Your surgeon will begin by making an incision in the hairline at the level of the sideburn and will continue the incision around the back of the ear. The tissue underlying the neck skin is repositioned, and the platysma muscle is 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 the repair of the muscle. Sutures or skin adhesives close the incisions behind the ear.
The neck is then bandaged after surgery to reduce bruising and you will feel stiff and mildly uncomfortable as you bend or move your neck in the coming days. Most of the sutures used are dissolving to avoid stitch marks, but there may be a few to remove a week or so after surgery.
You should not feel much pain during the procedure, but you may have some for a few days or weeks afterwards. You'll be given painkillers if you need them.
Following the procedure, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms for between two to three hours, dependent on the scale of the procedure. Once our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete and you are safe to return home, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic accompanied by a friend or member of your family.
Once home you will have access to our dedicated on-call nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and pain control, and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post-operative phase.
We ask that you come in and see our nursing team 1 week after surgery to ensure your incision sites have been properly reviewed. At this juncture, we also recommend you meet with one of our on-site aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing and scarring process.
We ask that you come in to see your surgeon after 6 - 8 weeks for a final check-up.
Neck lift surgery is a safe procedure, but it is common to experience:
As with all surgical procedures, Neck lift surgery carries some risk and it is possible that you might experience:
Your surgeon will discuss these risks comprehensively at your consultation and explain how likely these risks and complications are, and how they would be treated.
Our Surgical Patient Advisor, Ellie, answers our patients most frequently asked questions.
WHAT IS A NECK LIFT?
A Neck lift is a surgical contouring procedure designed to remove a surplus of loose neck skin and eliminate fat deposits in the neck region, and restore a more youthful, defined neck and jawline.
The choice of procedure depends on the exact condition (excess loose skin or excess skin and excess fat deposits) but will involve skin excision, or a combination of skin excision and liposuction.
The procedure is carried out as a day case procedure under General Anaesthesia, and takes 2 hours.
There is typically bruising for a few weeks with end results at about 3 months. Scars are insignificant and managed by our Scar Management programme.
AM I SUITABLE FOR NECK LIFT?
A neck lift can result in a more defined, slender neck and jawline, but the procedure may not be for everyone. It's important when undergoing any type of surgical procedure that you're in good health.
If you're age 40 and above, then you may want to consider a neck lift if you're unhappy with any of the following conditions;
A neck lift can also solve the problem of neck banding. This occurs when the two ridges of muscle which run vertically down the neck (known as the platysmal band) become more pronounced as we grow older. Neck banding is a common reason for undergoing a neck lift.
If you are under 40 years of age, it might be better to consider a non surgical alternative such as botox, fillers or Ultherapy.
You would also be a good candidate for a neck lift if you have recently lost a significant amount of weight. When you lose large amounts of weight, large amounts of saggy, excess skin are left behind. A neck lift will see this excess skin removed and the remaining skin pulled back to restore a defined and contoured neck profile.
The best candidates for a neck lift will have:
ARE MY NECK LIFT RESULTS PERMANENT?
Your results will be long lasting and you should see the difference for between 10 – 15 years.
That said, the aging process will continue from your new post-procedure point, and skin laxity will gradually increase over time. The aging process will start from a far better point however, so it should be many years before this becomes noticeable again.
You can protect encroachment on your results by avoiding excessive amounts of sun exposure and maintaining a stable weight.
The sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause huge damage to the skin. Too much exposure to the sun can accelerate the aging process, meaning more wrinkles and sagging skin. To maintain the results of your neck lift for longer, we strongly recommend you protect your neck area from the sun.
Dramatic weight fluctuations should also be avoided as substantial weight loss will leave excess neck skin behind. You should maintain a stable, healthy, weight as much as possible.
A non-surgical treatment such as Ultherapy will help to maintain the results. Your surgeon will advise whether you are a suitable candidate for this procedure.
IS NECK LIFT PAINFUL?
You will not feel any pain during the procedure as you will be under the influence of anaesthetic.
Immediately following surgery, you may experience discomfort but any pain should be tolerable. Your surgeon can provide painkillers for this and the majority of patients no longer need them a few days after neck lift surgery.
IS NECK LIFT SAFE?
Neck lift surgery is straightforward, safe surgery although you should be aware of all the risks and complications before going ahead with surgery. Some are listed on this page, but your surgeon at your will go through these at length and in full at your consultation.
WHAT NECK LIFT SURGERY SCARS CAN I EXPECT?
A skilled surgeon can minimise neck lift surgery scars and place them expertly in locations where they are not visible to the eye. Neck lift surgery scars take some months to settle in, but your surgeon will try and confine the scarring to the neck folds.
Neck lift surgery scar visibility can also be impacted by the level of scar aftercare you receive. By way of example, neck lift surgery scars can be reduced by regular moisturisation and massage techniques, all of which our dedicated team will advise our patients in the days following your procedure.
IS THERE ANY DOWNTIME AFTER NECK LIFT TREATMENT?
Recovery time for this procedure will depend on the individual patient.
We usually advise that you take around two weeks off work following surgery as there will be bruising and swelling which may take around 10 days to subside. We also recommend you do not resume exercise for 4 – 6 weeks.
In the following few weeks, as you heal, smoother skin will appear on the neck and your scars will start to heal.
Our expertise in scarring techniques along with our highly-experienced surgeons ensure a great result, especially as these are usually not visible and hidden behind the ears.
You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort and swelling during this time, but such feelings are normal. Severe pain, bleeding or swelling should be reported to your surgeon.
You will receive more detailed advice from your surgeon ahead of surgery.
WILL I NEED TO WEAR A COMPRESSION GARMENT AFTER SURGERY?
You will need to wear a tight fitting compression head bandage for a few nights, but this can be taken off soon after. If there has been liposuction under the chin to create a sharper jawline definition, a chin strap is recommended by some surgeons at night only for a further week.
WILL I NEED TO STAY AWAY FROM PUBLIC SPACES DURING RECOVERY?
Swelling and bruising is minor in most cases and can be easily covered. It is also temporary and should last just a matter of days.
That said, your lower face and ears may appear swollen in the first few days following surgery and during this period recovering patients will typically avoid going out in public.
We also recommend scarves and high sweaters to conceal swelling, as well as styling long hair to cover up stitches.
This really is only necessary for a few days following procedure and within a week or ten days you should be back to your daily routine.
WHEN SHOULD YOU NOT HAVE A NECK LIFT?
A Neck lift isn't for everyone. Your doctor might caution against a Neck lift if you:
WHEN CAN I RETURN TO SPORTS AND EXERCISE?
For the first four weeks after your surgery, you will need to avoid all sport and strenuous exercise. During this time, we recommend going on gentle walks to keep active, which in turn will help with your recovery.
After week four, you will be able to start doing some exercise again. However, you should still avoid strenuous activity and contact sports. After six to eight weeks you should be able to resume all sports and exercise. This includes contact sports and weightlifting.
You should ask your surgeon for specific timeframes of when you will be able to return to sport and exercise.
WHEN CAN I SHOWER AND WASH MY HAIR AFTER SURGERY?
You should be able to take a shower 48 hours after your neck lift operation.
You will need to wash the wound carefully and ensure it heals well. This may involve application of an antibiotic ointment after your shower.
It is also important that you dry your incisions having washed and bathed them. If you need to use a hairdryer to dry your hair, it must be kept on a cool setting.
You should also take care when brushing your hair around your ears and suture sites.
WHAT ARE THE NON SURGICAL ALTERNATIVES TO NECK LIFT SURGERY?
There are many alternative non surgical solutions for neck lift surgery, ranging from fillers and Botox to simple laser surgery under local anaesthesia and Ultherapy.
These are typically not as effective as surgical solutions, and have results that are not as long lasting.
For a full discussion on the various pros and cons, you should speak to one of our specialist plastic surgeons.
WHAT CAN’T NECK LIFT SURGERY ACHIEVE?
A neck lift cannot change your fundamental anatomy (e.g. the position of the Adam's apple) and cannot stop the ageing process in its tracks.
A neck lift should therefore be considered an effective restorative surgical treatment for the neck area.
As a neck lift only adjusts the skin and muscles of the neck, it will also only address the excess or sagging skin around the neck. It will not resolve the visible signs of ageing that may appear in other areas of the face, such as sagging skin and wrinkles of the forehead or cheeks.
You may need to consider the following surgical procedures if you want to target these other areas of your face:
CAN I HAVE A NECK LIFT UNDER LOCAL ANAESTHESIA?
It is possible to perform a neck lift under local anaesthesia.
That said, it requires large amounts of local anaesthetic to ensure you do not feel anything during the procedure, and you will be awake during the procedure. This means you will feel pulling and tagging, and this can be disconcerting for some patients. You will also need to stay completely still for anything up to 3 hours on the theatre table.
It is also possible to have the treatment under Sedation, whereby painkillers and sedatives are administered via an IV drip. Anaesthetic options will be discussed at your consultation.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT MY BRUISING AND SWELLING?
Even though the visibility of bruising, stitches and dressings is carefully minimised, some people will be more sensitive about these side effects than others.
You may choose to take some extra downtime in order to heal and allow the swelling to reduce before returning to work or regular social activities if you don't want other people to see the stiches and bruises. The main bandage is removed within 48 hours. Bandages are reasonably well hidden around the ears or under the chin. You can leave them open or cover with tape.
Bruising from liposuction is surprisingly slight in this area, and normal activities can be resumed within a day or two. Men do occasionally have a little more, bruising because of the increased blood supply to the beard. Following your surgeon's instructions on how to care for the bruising and swelling will be the best way to ensure a speedy recovery with less downtime.
WILL I NEED ASSISTANCE AT HOME AFTER MY SURGERY?
If you have had a general anaesthetic, then you will need to have a sensible person with you overnight to help take care of you, as you may continue to feel groggy and sleepy, or disoriented.
A little help with some physical activities around the home would be useful for a few days in order for you to rest, relax and recover. Try not to have your head down and maybe sleep with an extra pillow.
WHEN WILL MY STITCHES BE REMOVED?
Any liposuction incisions may or may not be sutured, but other stitches are generally removed a week or so after surgery.
WHAT IS ULTHERAPY AND IS IT A GOOD ALTERNATIVE TO A NECK LIFT?
Ultherapy rejuvenates sun damaged skin and tightens it. It can, therefore, be very useful for the early treatment of these problems, when they first arise, pushing back the time that a proper surgery will be needed. With luck, you may avoid surgery altogether.
Ultherapy uses micro-focused ultrasound to lift up and tighten loose skin over a period of several sessions, with minimal downtime for yourself. This non-invasive procedure uses ultrasound to stimulate the growth and formation of new collagen deep inside the skins layers. New collagen takes time to produce, so the results are not seen immediately, but will become more apparent over 2-3 months' time. The procedure itself is short, taking between 30-90 minutes per session depending on which area you're having treated.
Another use for Ultherapy is as a secondary treatment after a face or neck lift to improve the skin quality of the final lift. If you are considering Ultherapy, consider whether a face or neck lift is more appropriate and vice versa.
We favour treatments that cause minimal disturbance to the patient, and consequently recommend Ultherapy as a viable alternative in cases where we think it can have a comparable impact to surgery.
If you are interested in hearing more about your options, speak to one of our plastic surgeons who can help talk you through the various pros and cons of each treatment.
This month Consultant Dermatologist Dr Susan Mayou discusses rosacea with Heart.co.uk, and talks to the Daily Mail about the latest skincare craze, chlorophyll.