For some people, the appearance of their neck is of more concern to them than the appearance of their face. They may complain of a 'heavy' or 'turkey' neck, or they may have stringy bands in the front of their neck which they find unsightly. Whatever the problem, there is an appropriate surgical solution.
What causes signs of ageing in the neck?
There are four possible causes.
- Separation ('divarification') of the platysma, which is the sheet-like muscle that covers the front of the neck. This causes stringy bands in the front of the neck, clearly visible through the skin (see the photo below).
- Accumulation of fat in the front of the neck, leading to a 'heavy' neck or 'double chin'.
- Loss of elasticity in the supporting ligaments of the neck which then sag, leading to a loss of the 'chiselled' or 'Nefertiti / George Clooney' jaw line.
- Laxity and sagging of the skin of the front of the neck, leading to a 'turkey neck'. This may also occur after significant loss of weight.
All of the above may exist alone or in combination in any given individual. All of the above can also be accentuated by a 'weak' or receding chin. It follows therefore that there is no single surgical solution.
What can be done for stringy bands in the front of the neck?
This is the most straightforward problem to remedy. The solution is an operation called a platysmal plication, in which the two separated sections of muscle are simply sewn back together. In order to gain access to the separated edges of the platysma muscle, it is necessary to make an incision in the skin under the chin. Surgical access cannot be achieved any other way. However, the results of a platysmal plication are immediate and gratifying. Below are two photographs sent to us by a patient showing the results five days after surgery. Note the incision made in a natural skin crease.
What can be done for a heavy neck or double chin resulting from fat deposits in the neck?
The most effective solution is simply to remove the fat deposits under direct vision in an operation called a lipectomy. Again this requires a separate incision under the chin in order to gain access to the fatty deposits, as for a platysmal plication. The two operations (lipectomy and platysmal plication) are often performed at the same time through the same incision.
Is cervical liposuction of any use for a heavy neck or double chin?
We no longer perform cervical liposuction. Liposuction of the neck often results in unsightly fibrosis, scarring and nodule formation and has been superseded by removal of fat under direct vision during a neck lift.
What can be done for loss of jaw line definition?
The solution is to re-suspend the tissues of the front of the neck using a stitch rather like the stitch used during the Advanced Mini Facelift. This can only be achieved as part of a full facelift and we recommend this solution to patients who are not suitable for an Advanced Mini Facelift.
What can be done for lax or redundant skin (a 'turkey neck')?
This responds well to a full facelift with removal of any excess loose skin.
Does an Advanced Mini Facelift lift the neck?
This is an issue that causes significant confusion. Many people come to their initial consultation with the notion that the Advanced Mini Facelift will totally correct a heavy or 'turkey neck'. The Advanced Mini Facelift does not lift the neck in the dramatic way that a full facelift or neck lift does. It will give a slight degree of lift to the neck, usually enough to cause a noticeable improvement. The Advanced Mini Facelift is primarily intended to improve the appearance of jowls and it achieves this very effectively.
What does a neck lift operation entail?
A 3-5 cm incision is made under the chin in a natural skin crease, typically under local anaesthetic and sedation. Any excess fat is removed (lipectomy) under direct vision through this incision and if the platysmal muscle has split, its edges are also sewn back together (platysmal plication). The incision can then be closed with the removal of any redundant skin. The incision is of necessity longer than people normally expect, but usually heals well (and is out of everyday sight because of its position under the chin). The end result is to make the neck less 'baggy' with resulting improved definition and contour of the neckline.
Are there any risks or side effects of a neck lift or platysmal plication?
Both neck lift and platysmal placation are generally well tolerated. Infection, haematoma formation, bruising and swelling may occur. Damage to the nerves of the face is extremely unlikely.
Can I just have a neck lift on its own without a facelift?
We are occasionally asked if we can do a neck lift as a standalone procedure. Whilst theoretically possible, in practice we only perform this procedure in combination with the Full Facelift as they are so powerfully synergistic.
How much does a neck lift cost?
We rarely (if ever) carry out a neck lift as a sole procedure or alongside an Advanced Mini Facelift. More representative are our fees for a Full Facelift with or without a neck lift:
Full Facelift (including sedation and all hospital costs) £10,048
Full Facelift plus neck lift (including sedation and all hospital costs) £11,248