The Mini Neck Lift: Turning Back the Clock
A mini neck lift tightens some of the early excess skin that a patient usually sees in their late 30s and early 40s. It is designed to be minimally invasive for the patient and can be done under local anesthesia or under sedation if the patient desires. Mini neck lifts are usually not offered to anybody over the age of 50 because they normally have a little bit of extra skin by that point. The incisions are smaller than a traditional neck lift and the surgeon goes in through the incisions to remove excess skin and tighten the neck muscles.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Mini Neck Lift?
In general, patients who want to improve the appearance of loose skin and neck banding while not going through the normal downtime of a traditional neck lift are a good candidate.
Ideal candidates also include patients who:
- Are in good physical health
- Have realistic outcome expectations
- Have enough skin elasticity to achieve the desired outcome
- Understand that a mini neck lift will not produce the same dramatic results as a traditional neck lift
- Are younger (less than 50 years old) and have less banding and sagging than older patients
As mentioned above, older people are generally not ideal patients due to the typical advanced banding and sagging they have in the neck area. Patients who smoke are not good candidates as smoking can impact the healing process. Also, patients who do not realize that a mini neck lift doesn’t deliver the same results as a traditional neck lift will likely be disappointed which makes them a less than ideal candidate.
How is a Mini Neck Lift Performed?
The first step is consulting with a doctor to determine if the patient is an ideal candidate for a mini neck lift. The surgeon will examine the patient to see if he, or she, is in good overall health and has enough skin elasticity to provide the desired results. A mini neck lift can also be performed with skin resurfacing or facial lipo to achieve the desired outcome.
As mentioned above, the surgery can be performed with local anesthesia or under sedation (if desired by the patient). The surgeon makes incisions behind the ears and just in front of the ear lobe but it should be noted that these incision are smaller than the ones for a traditional neck lift.
As opposed to a traditional neck lift which often focuses on just the bands in the neck, a mini neck lift tightens the neck bands as well as addresses the loose skin located at the jowl line. The incisions at the front of the ears allow the surgeon to lift, dissect and remove the desired amount of excess skin and then tighten the remaining skin. Scars are small and are hidden under the chin or behind the ears.
Some people have a lot of fatty tissue and, while the skin can be tightened, there also has to be removal of fat. In this case, liposuction would be added to this procedure. There are also other people who are thinner and do not have a lot of fat but they do have a lot of skin that hangs. A mini neck lift is for very mild skin excess. If a patient has a lot of extra skin, they are better served by a full neck lift.
Some patients have banding in the neck with two vertical lines in the middle of their neck that are the edge of a muscle. Often, a surgeon has to get that muscle back together because, as people get older, it starts to sag. It has to be pulled together and then the skin is tightened.
For patients with other medical concerns such as excessive bleeding, there is the option of doing a nonsurgical neck lift. Fillers can be used to lift the neck skin for about a year. Another option is using a CO2 laser for the neck in order to tighten the skin a little bit. The CO2 laser does not tighten as much as a mini neck lift but using the laser will tighten it a little bit and make it look smoother and tighter. There are seven days of downtime involved with the laser but there is no incision and just a little bit of bruising.
What Is the Cost of a Mini Neck Lift?
The total cost of a mini neck lift depends on if the patient only has a mini neck lift or if it is combined with another treatment like liposuction. The price range is $4,000 to $7,500.
Recovery and Downtime
Patients can get a little bit of bruising just behind the ear that lasts about seven to ten days. In general, any bruising is very easy to cover with a little makeup or the individual’s hair.
Any pain from the surgery can be controlled with pain medication prescribed by a doctor or over the counter medications though greater than 95% of patients don’t use anything for pain.
Most patients are able to return to work by day seven as it takes about a week for a patient to be presentable enough to where the skin is healed. If they do not want anybody to see their bruised neck, they may have to wait ten days.
Patients can turn the clock back about three to five years with a mini neck lift. That amount of time might not mean much to someone who is 70 but it makes a huge difference to someone who is 40. The results can last three to five years if patients maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow post-op instructions from their doctor.
Limitations and Risks of a Mini Neck Lift
There are multiple limitations to a mini neck lift and they include:
- The age of the patient as younger patients do really well with mini neck lifts.
- People with really short hair, or those who put their hair up a lot, might have their surgical incisions and scars seen initially until they completely heal.
- There is a limit to how long the results last. A patient who is 39 will get three to five years out of it while a patient who is 45 may only get three years out of it. The difference is due to the age of the patient. These results are compared to a regular neck lift which lasts seven to ten years. There is a lot more tightening of the muscle and the skin during a regular neck lift which causes it to last longer.
Besides the limitations listed above, there are also some risks involved in having a mini neck lift:
- A patient can get a thin scar from having a mini neck lift
- Darker skin types sometimes get thicker scars and pigmentation
- Patients can experience a little bit of numbness around the area that is operated on that takes about three months to go away
What Results Does a Patient Want?
The decision to have a mini neck lift should be decided on after the patient has a consultation appointment. If the patient does not mind getting results that do not last as long, he or she can choose a nonsurgical neck lift. If the patient wants long lasting results that take a larger number of years off the clock, they can go with a mini neck lift for the best results. A board-certified facial plastic surgeon can examine the patient and determine the best treatment option to achieve the results desired by the person.
About Mike Majmundar, M.D.
Dr. Mike Majmundar has been named a Top Doctor by Atlanta Magazine, a National Top Doctor by U.S. News & World Report & Castle Connolly, a Top Beauty Expert by The Atlantan, Best Self, and Northside Woman, and Best Botox and Filler Injector by Jezebel. To read his patient reviews, visit RealSelf or Google+. Dr. Majmundar is also a member of the American Association of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), the world’s largest association of facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons (with over 4,000 members) and the only organization dedicated to the advancement of plastic and reconstructive surgery of the face, head and neck, as well as the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery.