Can Tightness & Swelling Following Neck or Face Lift Affect Neck Structures? Which Surgical Method Least Affects Laryngeal Area?

I'm early 50's w/ minor sag (not fat) just under chin. Lower neck & face looks fine. My ENT said "don't cut too far down" (neck) due to R thyroid nodule which is long & looks like a neck "band." (I won't remove it). What surgical method would fix chin sag without causing even initial swelling, tightness in larynx area? Is usual tightness felt in skin only, or do some feel tight deep in larynx area? Also, can tightness or swelling impair breathing or exacerbate any “airway” medical problems?

Doctor Answers 12

Upper Neck and Chin Sag

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A MACS or Lite Lift® procedure and many other mini facelifts focus on the lower face and upper neck including chin sag and will not affect the lower neck where your thyroid nodule is located.  On the other hand if the chin sag is simply too much fat then limited liposuction there may be indicated. Go to an experienced board certified plastic surgeon that has a large experience.

Minor Chin Sag under Chin and Neck Lift

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   In a patient with limited skin laxity, the skin from beneath the chin can be removed to improve the area.  Find the plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of facelifts each year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Tightness and swelling after face/neck lift

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Most patients in their 50s require a lower face/neck lift, not just a neck lift only.  When there is extra skin a lower face/neck lift must be performed, while a neck lift alone will only address excess fat in the neck.  Any thyroid nodules will not be affected with this type of surgery and needs to be addressed prior to elective cosmetic surgery if needed.  Any time surgery in the neck is performed there will be swelling for approximately 2 weeks after the procedure, however we also place Jackson-Pratt drains in the neck for the first 2 days after the surgery to remove any excess blood and fluid out from underneath the skin in the neck.  We also suture the anterior platysmal edges to the submentum, also known as a platysmaplasty to give a further jaw line definition, which is what most patients desire.  A lower face/neck lift will not affect any other neck structures in the laryngeal area.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

A youthful face and neck..

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In my practice I don’t perform any surgery to the level of the thyroid and create any type of excess swelling in that area. Essentially, I believe you can have a face and neck lift which would address the areas of concern without requiring extensive dissection below the thyroid cartilage. Although it is natural to feel some tightness after a face and neck lift procedure, in my practice my patients rarely are concerned about anything related to breathing. It is important to understand that a youthful face is not an excessively tight face therefore it is not necessary to make the skin very tight but rather restore the normal relationships and structure so that your face and neck will looks more youthful.

Amiya Prasad, MD
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Can Tightness & Swelling Following Neck or Face Lift Affect Neck Structures? Which Surgical Method Least Affects Laryngeal Area?

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 There are ways to vary the amount of skin removal under the chin.  The least invasive method is a localized excision of neck skin.  I do this frequently and it should have no effect on the laryxn or the thyroid nodule.  The procedure is minimally invasive and can be done under a local infiltration without anesthesia.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Neck Lift/Facelift With a Thyroid Nodule

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It's hard to say which technique would be best without a photo. It really depends on how noticeable the nodule is. The good news is that there are a variety of ways to do the lift that would work, depending on your specific situation. The surgeon you choose should be able to tailor the operation so that it works well for you. With regards to your questions about tightness- everyone feels some tightness after the surgery and it always resolves. The tightness is not dangerous.Your thyroid nodule should not effect this issue in any way. Good luck.

Michael R. Menachof, MD
Greenwood Village Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Can neck lift affect larynx?

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The answer is no. You don't have a thing to worry about if your procedure is done by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. For minor neck sag we don't even have to dissect across the front of the neck. 


Lawrence Foster, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon


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You need to find a facial plastic surgeon who has training in head and neck surgery and can assist you with your desire for a necklift/facelift without affected your laryngeal/thyroid region.  If done correctly, you shouldn't have any laryngeal symptoms, although this also depends on how large your nodule is and the current situation of your thyroid.

Kimberly Lee, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Neck lift with a thyroid nodule...

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As usual, a picture is worth a thousand guesses..... its hard to suggest an appropriate procedure without examining you. There are multiple options ranging from traditional facelift incision with chin incision with platysmaplasty, to MACs lift to a modified incision that is mainly behind the ear. All of the surgical options that don't directly touch the neck area from under the chin should not cause much swelling under the chin and none of these methods should impair breathing or 'exacerbate "airway" medical problems' as you mention above. 

Dilip D. Madnani, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

Neck lift should not affect the larynx.

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The type of neck lift that is best is one done by an experienced facial plastic surgeon. When the surgeon examines your neck he should be able to give u the pros and cons of different techniques. 

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.