Treatments for Jaw Line and Neck Aging

Cameron Chesnut, MD, discusses some minimally invasive options to address skin aging in the jaw line and neck area.

Neck Lift

What is a neck lift?

Neck lifts are a surgical option to improve the appearance of the neck. Results are typically long-lasting. There are two primary types of neck lifts:

  • Cervicoplasty: In this procedure, excess skin is surgically removed from the neck.
  • Platsmaplasty: This procedure reduces the banded appearance of the neck by removing, tightening or realigning the muscles of the neck.

Possible Risks

Typical side effects affect the neck, jaw and ears, and may last up to 10 days. They include:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Numbness of the skin

Pain medication and antibiotics to fight infection are often administered.

More serious complications include:

  • Permanent skin numbness
  • Scarring
  • Puckering of the skin
  • Infection
  • Reaction to general anesthesia

Is it painful?

The surgery is performed under sedation and local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Patients will experience minor discomfort and swelling for up to two weeks following surgery.

Who is not a candidate?

Neck lift candidates should be in good physical, mental and emotional condition and have realistic expectations. Patients with chronic health conditions and allergies to anesthesia are not good candidates.

When is it appropriate?

A neck lift can restore the appearance of taut, supple and relatively line-free skin on the neck. It’s a good option for people who have lost a great deal of weight and have loose-hanging neck skin with little elasticity.

What to expect after the procedure

Most procedures are done on an outpatient basis. It’s a good idea to have someone to drive you home. Most patients experience tightness, soreness and pain following surgery. Painkillers are usually prescribed.

Bandage and tape are applied to the incision sites to reduce swelling and discomfort. The head and neck are wrapped in an elastic band. Bruising and swelling may continue for as long as 10 days. Numbness can occur around the incision and elsewhere. Patients should avoid twisting and turning the neck after a neck lift. Your sleeping position may need to be adjusted. It’s important to keep the head elevated while sleeping for the first one to two weeks. Avoid bending over or lifting heavy objects for two weeks following surgery. Avoid alcohol, aspirin and ibuprofen for a week after surgery. Do not participate in contact sports until given clearance by your doctor.

What to expect before the procedure

Before the procedure, the doctor will usually review the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. This is the time for the doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the procedure. It’s important for the patient to have a realistic expectation for the outcome of the procedure.