If you’re considering a Necklift…
If the eyes are the first place we begin to show our age, then the neck is arguably the second. Vertical banding, horizontal creases, fatty jowls, the dreaded “turkey-wattle,” and a crepe-y quality to the skin all work together to make us look much older before our time. A necklift (or platysmaplasty, so named for the plastysma muscles which run along the front of the neck) tightens the skin and the underlying muscles to lift the neck as well as improve and sharpen the contour of the jawline. It is often performed in conjunction with a face lift, but may also be done as a stand-alone procedure.
A necklift (technically known as platysmaplasty) can’t stop this aging process. What it can do is set back the clock, improving the most visible signs of aging by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles, and redraping the skin of your face and neck. A necklift can be done alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as a forehead lift, eyelid surgery, or nose reshaping.
If you’re considering a necklift, this information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure when it can help, how it’s performed, and what results you can expect. It can’t answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and Dr. Beals. Please ask Dr. Beals about anything you don’t understand.
photo not actual patient
Where Your Surgery Will Be Performed
A necklift may be performed in Dr. Beals office-based facility, an outpatient surgery center, or a hospital. It’s usually done on an outpatient basis, but Dr. Beals may hospitalize patients for a day when using general anesthesia. Certain conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure should be monitored after surgery, and may also require a short inpatient stay in the Surgical Recovery Center on the campus next to the Surgery Center.
The Best Candidates For a Necklift
The best candidates for a necklift are non-smokers who are in generally good health and who have a positive outlook and realistic expectations about outcome. Sagging of the neck may be due to age, but may also be a result of significant weight loss or simple heredity. Those who have sagging and/or wrinkling of the neck and a loss of separation between the neck and the chin or jaw can benefit from a necklift procedure.
When a necklift is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, like Dr. Beals complications are infrequent and usually minor. Still, individuals vary greatly in their anatomy, their physical reactions, and their healing abilities, and the outcome is never completely predictable.
Dr. Beals will confirm your health status before operating. He or she may also require that you adjust, cease, or begin taking certain medications in the week or two before your surgery. It is also very important that you avoid aspirin, many anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements, in the 2 weeks prior to surgery, as all of these can increase bleeding. Talk to Dr. Beals about everything you may be taking.
Most necklifts are performed on an out-patient basis. After surgery, Dr. Beals will place a pressure dressing that will wrap around your head and underneath your chin. Your neck will feel tight and sore as the anesthesia wears off, and may show even more swelling and possible bruising over the next 3 days. Dressings may be removed after just a few days, but your sutures will remain in place for 7 days.
Dr. Beals should check for medical conditions that could cause problems during or after surgery, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, blood clotting problems, or the tendency to form excessive scars. Be sure to tell Dr. Beals if you smoke or are taking any drugs or medications, especially aspirin or other drugs that affect clotting.
If you decide to have a necklift, Dr. Beals will explain the techniques and anesthesia he or she will use, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, and the risks and costs involved. Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Beals any questions you may have, especially those regarding your expectations and concerns about the results.
tions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly. If you smoke, it’s especially important to stop at least a week or two before and after surgery; smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin, and can interfere with the healing of your incision areas.
If your hair is very short, you might want to let it grow out before surgery, so that it’s long enough to hide the scars while they heal.
Whether your Arizona necklift is being done on an outpatient or inpatient basis, you should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for a day or two if needed.
- Anesthesia is administered. Necklift surgery can be performed either under IV sedation or general anesthesia. For a very minimal lift, Dr. Beals may even determine that regional anesthesia or a combination of an oral sedative and local anesthetic[/link may be sufficient.
- Incisions are made. The traditional necklift incision begins in front of the ear lobe and loops under and behind the ear ending in the scalp towards the back of the neck. If the platysma muscles will also be tightened, there may be an additional small incision under the chin. However, newer and more specialized procedures may involve an incision only inside the hairline at the back of the neck (known as a posterior necklift), or behind the ear only (for some suspension techniques), depending on the techniques used and the degree of lifting required.
- Platysma muscles are tightened. In an aging face, the platysma muscles often separate, creating a loss of support for the skin as well as a tendency toward a vertical “banded” appearance of the neck. Using sutures, these muscles are sewn back together in the center, using a technique that looks similar to lacing up a corset. It is also possible that a small piece of this muscle will be removed, and that some laser-assisted tightening may be used on the under-side of the deeper layers of the skin.
- Excess skin is removed. Excess skin is carefully trimmed away.
- Tissue and skin are repositioned and secured. In the case of a suspension lift, Dr. Beals will use some sort of sutures, mesh, or other materials in the deeper layers of the skin and muscles in order to create a sort of “hammock” to suspend and hold the tissues in their new, higher position.
- Incisions are closed and bandaged. Using a multi-layer suturing technique, Dr. Beals closes the incisions. If needed, drains will be placed at this time before bandaging the wounds.
Dr. Beals will give more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities. They’re likely to include these suggestions: Avoid strenuous activity, including sex and heavy housework, for at least two weeks (walking and mild stretching are fine); avoid alcohol, steam baths, and saunas for several months. Above all, get plenty of rest and allow your body to spend its energy on healing.
At the beginning, your face may look and feel rather strange. Your features may be distorted from the swelling, your facial movements may be slightly stiff and you’ll probably be self-conscious about your scars. Some bruising may persist for two or three weeks, and you may tire easily. It’s not surprising that some patients are disappointed and depressed at first.
By the third week, you’ll look and feel much better. Most patients are back at work about ten days to two weeks after surgery. If you need it, special camouflage makeup can mask most bruising that remains.
You’ll have some scars from your necklift, but they’re usually hidden by your hair or in the natural creases of your face and ears. In any case, they’ll fade within time and should be scarcely visible.
Having a necklift doesn’t stop the clock. Your face will continue to age with time, and you may want to repeat the procedure one or more times-perhaps five or ten years down the line. But in another sense, the effects of even one necklift are lasting; years later, you’ll continue to look better than if you’d never had a necklift at all.