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Can loose skin on my neck be tightened or removed?

Q:

I grew a beard for 38 years. When I cut it off, there was loose skin hanging. I would like this tightened or removed. Is this possible?

A:

This is a commonly performed procedure called a neck lift. Usually a 1-2 hour procedure performed under sedation anesthesia. A small incision under the chin in a normal skin crease and a small incision behind the ears well hidden by the hair will take care of your concerns. The results usually last 9-10 years. Minimal discomfort from the procedure.

A:

A.: Loose neck skin is a frequent reason that males and females seek plastic surgery. In a patient with the appropriate anatomy, it can be corrected through a small incision under the chin which allows tightening of the underlying tissue including the muscles that separate and sag. In some patients who have a greater amount of skin and tissue laxity, an additional incision is placed behind the ear in order to remove the excess loose skin. Up until this time, it is generally felt that non-surgical procedures for neck skin laxity have been unsuccessful or have produced minimal and only temporary results.

If the skin looseness involves not only the neck, but the jowls and cheeks as well, then a neck lift alone will not adequately correct the problem. There are a variety of mid-face or cheek lifts that can be individually tailored to correct the problem depending on: Your anatomy, desired outcome, and full understanding of the pros and cons of the various procedures. I would suggest that you find a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery that you trust and are comfortable with. You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person as well as the pros and cons of the various options.

Robert Singer, MD  FACS

La Jolla, California

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