The face and neck lift are usually performed together, although in certain instances a necklift is performed independently, if the only concern of the patient is loose skin under the chin and in the neck area. A short incision is placed in front of the ear and follows the back curve of the ear before extending into the hair. The loose muscle layer under the skin is tightened, and the excess skin is trimmed. The neck lift involves liposuction to remove excess fat and tightening of the midline neck muscle (platysmaplasty) to correct the bands that occur with aging. Deep sutures dissolve or are permanent sutures meant to stay in place. External sutures are removed in about one week.
Necklift surgery can done on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. Often patients choose to stay overnight in the hospital to recover from anesthesia. Bulky compression is placed in the OR and changed to more streamlined compression the morning after surgery. Swelling and bruising goes away in about one to two weeks and most patients have minimal discomfort.
If You're Considering a Necklift
As people age, the effects of gravity, exposure to the sun, and the stresses of daily life can be seen in their faces. Deep creases form between the nose and mouth; the jawline grows slack and jowly; folds and fat deposits appear around the neck.
A necklift 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 re-draping the skin of your neck. A necklift can be done alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as a forehead lift, eyelid surgery, or other cosmetic procedures.
The best candidate for a Necklift is a man or woman whose face and neck have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well-defined. Most patients are in their forties to sixties, but necklifts can be done successfully on people in their seventies or eighties as well.
A necklift can make you look younger and fresher, and it may enhance your self- confidence in the process. But it can't give you a totally different look, nor can it restore the health and vitality of your youth. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with Dr. Sasmor.
A neckift usually takes several hours-or somewhat longer if you're having more than one procedure done. For extensive procedures, Dr. Sasmor may schedule two separate sessions.
In general, Dr. Sasmor separates the skin from the fat and muscle below. Fat may be trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. Dr. Sasmor then tightens the underlying muscle and membrane, pulls the skin back, and removes the excess. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions; metal clips may be used on the scalp. Following surgery, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any blood that might collect there. Dr. Sasmor may also wrap your head loosely in bandages to minimize bruising and swelling.
There isn't usually significant discomfort after surgery; if there is, it can be lessened with the pain medication prescribed by Dr. Sasmor. (Severe or persistent pain or a sudden swelling of your face should be reported to Dr. Sasmor immediately.) Some numbness of the skin is quite normal; it will disappear in a few weeks or months.
Dr. Sasmor may tell you to keep your head elevated and as still as possible for a couple of days after surgery, to keep the swelling down.
If you've had a drainage tube inserted, it will be removed one or two days after surgery.
Bandages, when used, are usually removed after one to five days. Don't be surprised at the pale, bruised, and puffy neck you see. Just keep in mind that in a few weeks you'll be looking normal.
Most of your stitches will be removed after about 1 week. Your scalp may take longer to heal, and the stitches or metal clips in your hairline could be left in a few days longer.
You should be up and about in a day or two, but plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery. Be especially gentle with your face and hair, since your skin will be both tender and numb, and may not respond normally at first.
Dr. Sasmor 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 neck may look and feel rather strange. Your features may be slightly distorted from the swelling, your facial movements may be slightly stiff, and you'll probably be self-conscious about your incisions. Some bruising may persist for two or three weeks, and you may tire easily. 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.
The chances are excellent that you'll be happy with your necklift especially if you realize that the results may not be immediately apparent.
You'll have some scars from your necklift, but they're usually hidden in the natural creases of your face and ears and neck. 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, 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.