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What Happens During a Neck Lift?

Conveniently located to serve San Antonio and surrounding communities.

The aging process is something we all deal with, but it impacts some more than others. A sagging chin and neck can add years to the look of your age. However, you can erase years away with a surgical procedure called a neck lift, or lower rhytidectomy, for those who prefer the medical term. Read on to learn more about this cosmetic procedure that we have successfully performed numerous times here at the Plastic and Cosmetic Center of South Texas in San Antonio, TX.

What Defines a Neck Lift?

We often pay countless dollars and spend hours unknown rejuvenating our faces. After all, it’s what people focus on the most. What many people do not consider is the fact that your neck can often age faster than your face.

Of course, lifestyle habits, gravity, fluctuations in weight, genetics, and even demographics can be impactful on the aging process. This elective cosmetic procedure erases time away by tightening and smoothing out the skin, while lifting the jawline, leaving a natural-looking transformation.

What Happens During a Neck Lift Procedure?

Initial Consultation

The first step with any type of procedure is to call our office and schedule your initial consultation with one of our providers. It is crucial to be as honest as possible during this first step so that we can be sure to achieve your aesthetic goals as accurately as possible.

You will then be asked to elaborate on your current medical status, past medical history, previous surgeries, and any complications involved. This provides us vital information to make sure you are a good candidate and that everything goes smoothly during the surgical procedure.

The Surgical Procedure

There are two stages involved with a lower rhytidectomy. In stage one, a local or general anesthesia is used for sedation to provide the most comfort possible during the procedure. This will have been decided upon during the initial consultation. Once it has taken effect, the excess skin is removed.

In stage two, the neck muscles are surgically tightened, in the event that muscle banding is present. This is also the stage where the liposuction of fatty tissue will be removed. This entire procedure usually takes up to two to three hours to complete and is usually performed on an outpatient basis.

Double Chin

Excess fatty tissue or loose, sagging skin can often give the appearance of a double chin. A neck lift can eliminate this problem by removing the excess fatty tissue through liposuction and removal of any loose skin. The removal of the double chin provides a drastic and immediate change in appearance.

The Jawline

During our youth, our face usually looks rounder and more plump. As we age, we lose volume and mass in our face, resulting in sagging cheeks and an undefined jawline. Some even develop jowls, which is simply loose skin sagging from the lower jawline. A lower rhytidectomy can remove the excess skin eliminating any jowls, while tightening the skin around the jawline, leaving a more youthful look.

Vertical Muscle Banding

During youth, we have subcutaneous fat in ample amounts hiding our neck muscles. However, as we age, this fatty tissue can decrease dramatically, leaving the appearance of thick bands of muscle around the neck. A lower rhytidectomy can affect these neck muscles, often referred to as platysmal bands, by tightening them, while simultaneously elevating the skin on the lower facial area, thus, reducing the appearance of thick bands around the neck.

Am I a Good Candidate for Surgery?

Though cosmetic plastic surgery is one of the most comprehensive options for anti-aging, body contouring, and rejuvenation for a more youthful appearance, it isn’t ideal for everyone. We have listed the criteria below to help determine if you are a good candidate for this surgical procedure.

Unsatisfied With the Excessive Aging of Your Neck Area

We all deal with the process of aging, but it can be more detrimental for some than for others. If you are dissatisfied with the look you see in the mirror every day and have tried every anti-aging product available to no avail, then you could be a good candidate for a lower rhytidectomy.

You Satisfy the Age Requirements

Most often we find that our patients seeking cosmetic surgical procedures are between the ages of 40-60. However, there are cases where younger people seek these procedures as well, given special circumstances. For example, a young person who has undergone drastic weight fluctuations may be dealing with loose, sagging skin and desire to have it removed.

There are no restrictions on age for a lower rhytidectomy procedure, but it’s more likely that older patients are the best ideal candidates. For our younger patients seeking to improve the appearance of their neck and chin area, we usually recommend an alternative from our line of anti-aging products.

You Are in Good Health

Good health is not only crucial for the safety of the patient but can also affect the outcome of the procedure itself. Of course, this will be discussed in detail during your initial consultation, so it’s very important that you are honest and forthcoming about everything in your medical history, as well as your current health status.

If you have had prior illnesses or complications, this does not mean that you are not a good candidate for this procedure. This would be something that you should discuss with your other health practitioners as well, to determine if there are any possible risk factors present.

You Are a Non-Smoker or Willing To Stop Temporarily

This information does not apply to non-smokers. However, if you are a smoker, it’s crucial to pay close attention to this section. Smoking cigarettes or using tobacco products in any form can pose a huge risk to any surgical procedure because it greatly increases the risk of bleeding.

We will insist that you stop smoking at least six weeks prior to your surgical procedure, as well as several weeks post-surgery. If you feel that this is not doable for you, then you may not be a good candidate for this procedure.

You Have a Good Understanding of the Procedure’s Limitations

Dramatic changes can be achieved with cosmetic surgical procedures, but this does not mean that a neck lift can make all things new. It will improve the appearance of your jawline and neck area, taking years off your age. However, if it’s a total facial makeover that you are seeking, then perhaps you can elect to have other procedures or treatments done simultaneously with your lower rhytidectomy.

FAQs Regarding a Lower Rhytidectomy

Is It a Complicated Procedure?

When people hear the word surgery, they typically think of a major operation happening in some surgical room in a hospital or specialty clinic. A lower rhytidectomy is not one of those. It is a rather simple cosmetic procedure performed in an outpatient clinic all over the world every day.

Some patients even elect to have local anesthesia rather than general. This should leave you feeling reassured because any major surgical procedure requires general anesthesia with an anesthesiologist required to be present during the entire procedure. That is not the case with this cosmetic procedure.

Are the Results Long-Lasting?

While a neck lift will leave you looking years younger post-surgery, expecting the results to last the rest of your life is not realistic. After all, we continue to age every day, as the aging process never ceases.

You can rest assured, however, that the aging process will begin post-surgery and will not revert to what your neck looked like prior to the procedure. That will take many years to catch up to, so long as you take good care of yourself and eat a proper diet.

Can the Results Be Extended?

The same rules apply post-surgery as they do pre-surgery. If you want to curb the aging process as much as possible, then it’s vital to follow a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, and live a healthy lifestyle. Other factors such as chemical or sun exposure can also increase the aging process, reducing the amount of time for appreciating the dramatic results of your neck lift procedure.

Try limiting these as much as possible such as wearing sunscreen when you are expected to be in the sunlight for long periods of time. Avoid exposure to chemicals by wearing the properly-rated face masks if required to be near them. There’s no possible way to make an accurate prediction for the duration of your results, as so many factors play into the equation, including genetics. Following these guidelines should help you extend your results as much as possible.

What Is the Recovery Time?

Recovery time usually equates to the degree of the surgical procedure. Being that a lower rhytidectomy is a minor, outpatient surgery, you should be back in the swing of your daily routines in a week or less. Most patients go home the same day as their surgical procedure. Patients who live healthy lifestyles have minimal downtime.

Can Other Surgical Procedures Be Done at the Same Time?

Your appearance entails more than just your neck and jawline. The appearance of your face and eyes speak loudly too. Rejuvenating only one area of your face can often over-emphasize the other aged areas while lacking an even flow to your overall appearance. For this reason, most of our patients elect to pair surgical procedures simultaneously.

In addition, many patients elect procedures like breast augmentation or a tummy tuck to be paired with a neck lift. Undergoing multiple procedures at the same time reduces your downtime for recovery. Since very few of us get multiple vacations in a given year, this is a major reason why many choose this option. This can be discussed during your initial consultation to determine what your options are.


When most think of “facial appearance” they are referring to the entire face from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the décolletage area. Many patients opt to have both a facelift and lower rhytidectomy simultaneously, to lift sagging cheeks, while eliminating jowls, loose skin, and vertical muscle banding. The results are stunning and can erase an entire decade away easily.

Liposuction of the Neck

Removing excess fatty tissue with liposuction can leave loose, sagging skin (think double chin), if skin laxity is poor. That’s why this procedure is usually paired with a lower rhytidectomy, especially for patients with low skin laxity. Getting these procedures done at the same time yields greater results and tighter skin.

A Chin Implant

The aging process isn’t the only factor as to why some patients are unsatisfied with their appearance. Many patients have weak chin contour and desire to enhance the look of their chin as well. Several options include chin implants or pairing chin and neck liposuction simultaneously, emphasizing the chin while contouring the neck for a more youthful appearance.


The shape of a person’s nose has a dramatic effect on their overall appearance. If a patient is dissatisfied with the shape of their nose, it can cause lower self-esteem. Rhinoplasty is the surgical procedure for reshaping the nose and is often paired with a lower rhytidectomy for greater results.

Take Ten Years Away With a Neck Lift

If you find yourself perplexed and unsatisfied with excess fat or loose, sagging skin on your neck, jowls, or a double chin and desire a dramatic change, then a lower rhytidectomy may be the perfect solution for you. Contact us at the Plastic and Cosmetic Center of South Texas in San Antonio, TX to schedule your initial consult. We are here to help you meet all of your aesthetic goals.

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