Although patients tend to focus on signs of aging that appear on the face, the neck can show its age even earlier in some cases. Signs of time passing might include thickened, visible neck bands, turkey wattles underneath the chin and crepey skin throughout the neck area. These symptoms can be a source of disharmony with an otherwise youthful and vibrant face. Instead of running for the turtlenecks, consider your surgical options in neck rejuvenation such as a neck lift. This procedure can address a myriad of aging concerns in a single operation, refreshing your appearance and boosting your self-confidence.

Facial plastic surgeon Corey S. Maas MDTM has performed dozens of neck lifts for patients in the San Francisco area. The surgery removes excess fat and skin from the neck to produce a smoother, more youthful transition from the jawline to the shoulders. The operation can be performed as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with other anti-aging procedures like a facelift. Dr. Maas utilizes a variety of techniques that allow him to tailor each surgery to the specific concerns and desired outcome of the individual, which means you get the precise amount of correction you need – no more, no less.

What is a Neck Lift?

A neck lift, also known by its medical name cervicoplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to reduce signs of aging around the neck. Dr. Maas performs neck lifts for his Bay Area patients at the Maas ClinicTM, using local anesthesia and mild oral sedative in most cases.

If the surgery is combined with a facelift or another procedure, general anesthesia might also be used.

This procedure removes loose skin and stubborn fat deposits from the neck area while correcting the horizontal muscles to minimize the appearance of platysmal bands. Dr. Maas will plan your surgery around your specific concerns and the enhancements you hope to achieve.

Components of a Neck Lift

There are three essential components to a neck lift that Dr. Maas might address during your surgery. The first is submental fat under the jawline that gives the appearance of a double chin. Submental fat is a common concern among patients, causing just as much dissatisfaction as fine lines and wrinkles. The extra volume under the chin creates an aged look and suggests you might have gained weight even if you haven’t added a pound to the scale. The addition of neck lipo is usually enough to reduce these pockets of fat and created a smoother transition from the face to the neck as well as a more defined jawline.

The second component of a neck lift is to address the changes to the muscles over time that result in the formation of platysmal bands. Thinner bands can be broken up using the same liposuction technique that removes the unwanted submental fat underneath the chin. If the bands are thicker, they can be surgically cut as well.

The final component is skin laxity, which leads to loose, hanging skin and the formation of the dreaded “turkey wattle.” This change can be attributed to collagen depletion, which strips support from the dermal structure and creates loose skin. Collagen naturally decreases as we age, which is why loose skin on the face and neck is so common. Although it is common, it is rarely embraced, and surgery to remove loose skin is one way to dramatically rejuvenate your appearance.

Who Should Consider a Neck Lift?

A neck lift is an excellent choice for men and women that are troubled by changes they have noticed from the jawline to the upper chest. This procedure addresses all signs of aging around the neck at one time and is perfect for those that require more correction than they can achieve through nonsurgical skin rejuvenation treatments. You may want to discuss a neck lift with Dr. Maas if the following applies to you:

  • Changes to your neck have created an aged appearance
  • You have developed “tech neck” (horizontal bands visible around the neck)
  • You don’t like the folds of loose skin at the front of the neck
  • You are in relatively good health without contraindications for surgery
  • Self-consciousness about your appearance is affecting your confidence and quality of life

Dr. Maas will assess you personally to understand your concerns and goals for surgery. He will also take into account your overall health and any medical conditions to determine whether surgery would be both safe and effective for you. Dr. Maas performs neck lift surgery on an outpatient basis at The Maas ClinicTM. If neck liposuction is done as part of the neck lift, Dr. Maas will make a small incision underneath the chin, which will be easily hidden in a natural crease of the skin.

Through the incision, Dr. Maas infuses a dilated local anesthesia that adds numbing to the area and breaks up fat cells for a gentler removal process. This approach, known as tumescent liposuction, also effectively minimizes bleeding during surgery and bruising afterward. A cannula is then used to suction away unwanted fat, creating a slimmer more contoured transition from the jawline to the neck.

Removal of loose, redundant skin is done through an incision behind the ear and into the hairline. This opening provides access for Dr. Maas to remove the excess skin while elevating and pulling up the remaining skin to achieve a smoother, more youthful neck profile. This procedure also reduces the appearance of crepey skin in the front of the neck that exacerbates an aged appearance. Once all the corrections are completed, Dr. Maas uses tiny sutures and clips to close the incision, taking care to minimize post-operative scarring even if it is disguised behind the ear or inside the hairline. Most neck lifts take a couple of hours to perform if no other procedures are added to the surgery. If you are combining treatments, such as a facelift and neck lift simultaneously, the time of your operation will adjust accordingly. You will return home a few hours after your procedure, once the anesthesia has worn off and you are able to move about safely.

Bruising and swelling are common side effects after neck surgery, but they can be managed effectively by applying ice to the area and keeping the head and neck elevated. Both side effects are relatively minor and will subside within two to three weeks. Dr. Maas will remove your sutures within a week or so after your procedure.

Most patients head back to work and resume other activities within one to two weeks. However, Dr. Maas will likely advise you to refrain from strenuous exercise for four weeks or longer to prevent complications and ensure full healing of the surgical site.

Making the Most of Your Results

While neck lift plastic surgery alone may offer the full results you want, many patients find that undergoing nonsurgical procedures after surgery will further enhance neck skin texture and lingering laxity. Dr. Maas offers ActiveFX, a revolutionary fractional laser resurfacing procedure for some patients due to its ability to improve the overall appearance of the neck. Considered the gold standard in fractional laser resurfacing, ActiveFX offers mild to moderate enhancement with less downtime than other laser resurfacing procedures.

Ultherapy is another option after a neck lift that can put the finishing touch on your cosmetic transformation. This device uses ultrasound technology to address minor skin laxity that might be left behind after a neck lift. This procedure can be done soon after surgery or much later to help maintain the positive results of the neck lift and ward off the signs of aging for much longer. Ultherapy achieves significant improvement after a single treatment session. No downtime is necessary after the procedure.

Corey S. Maas MDTM and the staff at The Maas ClinicTM look forward to answering any questions you might have about a neck lift in San Francisco. To schedule a consultation and find out if a neck lift is the right procedure for you, contact The Maas ClinicTM today at (415) 567-7000.

The information about rhinoplasty was reviewed by Corey S. Maas MDTM. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form below.


What is a mini necklift?

A mini necklift is a less involved procedure than a full necklift, which addresses just the neck, and to some extent the jawline. The incisions will be hidden behind the ear and into the hairline. Dr. Maas will perform liposuction through a tiny incision under the chin to remove fatty deposits in the area, and perform platysmaplasty to address bonds in the neck. Loose skin of the neck will be elevated through gentle pulling of the skin on each side, to return youthful contours. To envision what a mini neck lift might look on you, stand in front of a mirror and gently pull back the sides of the neck.

I feel tightness in my neck after my procedure. Is this normal?

Yes it is! This transient phenomenon is related to post-surgical swelling and mild inflammation in the neck area during the recovery period, and is absolutely nothing to be worried about. The sensation may feel strange, but should not hurt. Once some laxity returns to the skin as swelling is completely resolved, Dr. Maas’ patients often tell him they wish that feeling of tightness had continued indefinitely.

If I only require neck liposuction, how long will the procedure take?

For younger patients with redundant fatty tissue in the area, we are able to perform this procedure under local or sedation anesthesia, and gave patients walk out within an hour or so after the procedure with significant improvements in their neck contours.

What are platysmal bands and how can I get rid of them?

Plastysmal bands or cords of muscle on the neck are often very disconcerting for people, but there are multiple ways of managing the way they look, both surgical and non-surgical. These strips of muscle start at the base of the neck and run up the left and right side, and are sometimes called the “grimace muscles”. Surgically, Dr. Maas will go under the skin to identify the cervical mental junction where the chin meets the neckline, erasing the band and preserving a nice, smooth contour to the neck.

What are my options to rejuvenate a crepey neck?

Neck lifts provide the most significant improvement to the contours of the neck, and can be accompanied by laser resurfacing treatments to further improve on skin tone and reduce the amount of laxity in the neck.

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