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Introduction

Do you have a ‘turkey neck’ or ‘double chin’ or both? Excess or loose skin of the neck may be caused by aging, weight changes, sun exposure, or genetics. Weight gain can also cause the appearance of a ‘fat neck.’

If you have loose neck skin, wrinkled neck skin, or a fat neck, a Neck Lift might be the answer to your problems. This patient to the right demonstrates the degree of improvement that can be achieved by undergoing a Neck Lift procedure from Dr. Lawrence Tong, our board-certified plastic surgeon.

What does a Neck Lift accomplish?

A Neck Lift makes the neck slimmer, tighter, and more youthful looking. Specifically the procedure:

  • lifts loose or sagging skin
  • tightens the lax neck muscles (‘neck bands’)
  • removes neck fat and ‘double chin’ fat

Issues to be Considered With a Neck Lift

Most patients’ concerns with the appearance of the neck can be simplified by categorizing them into:

  1. excess fat (e.g. ‘double chin’, ‘fat neck’)
  2. muscle banding (due to lax muscles) (vertical cords commonly seen in the necks of older patients)
  3. excess skin or stretched skin (e.g. ‘turkey neck’)

The goal in treating your neck is to utilize the least amount of surgery to accomplish your wishes. Dr. Tong is committed to this principle and will always recommend the appropriate procedure for your specific neck concerns.

A patient that has only excess fat can be treated with Neck Liposuction. A patient with excess fat and muscle banding can be treated with a Mini Neck Lift. But when a patient has skin excess (i.e. loose, sagging, or stretched), or inelastic neck skin, a Neck Lift is needed. This is true whether excess fat or muscle banding is present.

The Extended Neck Lift

There is a variation of the Neck Lift called an Extended Neck Lift, which addresses the neck in the same fashion but also helps to get rid of jowls. Adding jowl removal helps you attain a smooth neck and jaw line contour.

Who is a Candidate for a Neck Lift?

A Neck Lift is designed for men and women that have concerns about loose/stretched skin in the neck, with or without associated fat and muscle laxity. Unlike a Facelift procedure, the typical Neck Lift patient can be fairly young. The common candidates include:

  • Older patients that have moderate to advanced signs of aging in the neck
  • Old or young patients with significant neck fat and excess skin
  • Old or young patients who have lost significant weight and have substantial neck skin sagging

Patients who are smokers must quit at least 2 weeks prior to surgery and not resume afterwards for at least 4 weeks. Patients should generally be fit and in good health; Dr. Tong will evaluate your overall health status to make sure that you are a suitable candidate.

Incisions for Neck Lift

Any surgical procedure will leave some type of scar. Dr. Tong specializes in obtaining the least visible scars and putting them in the least visible places.

The incision for a Neck Lift:

  • Starts at the earlobe, and travels along the back of the ear, along where the ear attaches to the head
  • If you have an extended neck lift, there is an incision along the front of the ear which follows its natural curves and edges
  • The incision continues backwards and along the hairline
  • A small incision is also made beneath the chin, in the ‘double chin’ crease
  • The Extended Neck lift incision is the same, but also continues in the front of the ear (along the natural creases and curves) up to the top of the ear

These scars hide well as they blend into the natural curves and lines of the head and neck. Once the incisions have matured, the vast majority of women are able to wear their hair up and not be concerned with visible Neck Lift scars.

Neck Lift Procedure Details

Dr. Tong performs your Neck Lift under general anesthesia or IV sedation. Once under general anesthesia, you are completely unaware of your surroundings. With IV sedation, you make be aware from time to time but should not feel discomfort. Dr. Tong performs your surgery within the CAAASF accredited private surgery centre, at 199 Avenue Road, Toronto where his office is also located.

Dr. Tong starts the Neck Lift by first making the incisions behind the ear and then exposing the underlying muscle and fat layer. He plicates (tightens) the muscle layer to remove the vertical banding caused by muscle laxity. This also helps to achieve a deeper angle under the chin. Dr. Tong removes the fat either with Liposuction or directly. If you are having an extended neck lift, the incision in front of the ear is made, the muscle layer along the jaw line is elevated, and jowl fat is removed as necessary. Finally, the skin is re-draped and elevated to achieve a natural, non-operated look. The excess skin up behind the ear is removed. He performs the same procedure on the other side, and then Dr. Tong stitches the incisions back together using plastic surgical techniques. After he places the last stitches, a dressing is applied and you are gently awakened from anesthesia.

Recovery after Neck Lift

After your Neck Lift, you are taken to the post-anesthesia recovery area, where you are observed by our nursing staff. You are allowed to go home following surgery after the effects of anesthesia have largely worn off, accompanied by a friend or family member.

At home, you should try to rest and relax as much as possible. You may do non-strenuous activities such as watching television, reading, and making meals. Try to sleep in a reclining chair, or use multiple pillows to keep your head elevated when you sleep. This helps decrease facial swelling.

Pain is typically mild. Pain medication will be prescribed, and can be used during this time. You may have bruising in the first 1-2 weeks. The majority of patients return to work (non-strenuous) at 7-10 days.

You will have an appointment with Dr. Tong at 1-2 days after surgery so that your dressing and drain can be removed. At one week, you will have another appointment to have stitches removed. Light exercise (e.g. walking) will likely be allowed at 1-2 weeks after surgery. Avoid strenuous activity until 4-6 weeks after surgery. After the initial post-op visit, you will follow up with Dr. Tong at 6 weeks, 6 months, and one year after surgery. Post-operative photos will also be taken at these visits.

As with any surgery, there are risks involved with having a Neck Lift. Although the procedure has a low risk profile, Dr. Tong will make sure to go over the potential problems associated with Neck Lift at the time of your consultation.

Get Educated about Neck Lift

Patients need to know about their surgery options before making a decision. The initial Neck Lift consultation may take over 45 minutes to complete, and Dr. Tong will make sure you understand the information presented. Our first goal is to have you become an educated patient. We know an informed patient will make better choices about their surgery, and their surgeon.

To learn more about how Toronto Neck Lift surgeon Dr. Lawrence Tong can help the appearance of your neck, set up a Neck Lift consultation with Dr. Tong by giving us a call at (416) 972-0999. Alternatively, let us give you a call; just fill out our contact form and we will call you on the same or the next business day. No physician’s referral is required.

See Dr. Tong’s work in our Neck Lift Before and After Photos.

Neck Lift at a Glance

What the procedure does
Makes the neck more youthful and slimmer by removing fat, tightening neck muscles, and elevating the skin (also lifts the jowls if the ‘extended’ Neck Lift option is chosen)
Duration of the result
7-10 years, face may gradually sag with weight gain, aging, smoking, sun exposure
Length of time to perform the procedure
2.5 – 3.0 hours
Type of anesthetic most commonly used
IV sedation or general anesthesia
Length of time off of work
5-7 days
Time to get back to exercise
2 weeks light exercise, 4-6 weeks heavy exercise
Pitfalls your Plastic Surgeon should avoid
  • ‘Operated-on’ look (too tight)
  • Overly defatted neck (skeletonized appearance)
  • Poor scars
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