Length of operation: about two hours
Type of Anaesthesia: General
Length of stay in hospital: normally one night
Recovery time: 10 to14 days for the bruising and swelling to subside. Full recovery is between 3 to 6 months
Time off work: 2 to 3 weeks after operation
About neck lifts: A neck lift is usually performed as part of a full facelift. It involves lifting the neck skin along with the face and removing some lax skin. The superficial neck muscle (platysma) may also be tightened during the procedure. Having said that, a neck lift can also be performed on its own.
Suitable candidate: The neck is one body part that can age faster than the rest of the body. If your neck starts to show signs of ageing then you may be in need of a neck lift instead of a full facelift. Some other factors to consider are loose skin around the neck area from having lost considerable weight, hereditary reasons, or as a complement to a facelift procedure.
Reasons not to go ahead: patients on blood thinning medicine, active smoking, overweight patients.
Pre op: The consultation with your surgeon will be your opportunity to discuss your expectations, learn about the surgery and ask queries or clarify any doubts you might have. The surgeon will perform an examination in order to be able to assess your individual needs and discuss the results in length with you.
On the day: If you decide to go ahead with the procedure, you will receive advice about what to do and what to avoid, prior to surgery. Following the operation, there will be a light dressing on the wounds which must be kept dry for two weeks. There will be scarring and this may be noticeable during the first six months. Keep in mind that it takes about two or more years for scars to be inconspicuous or less noticeable. You will need follow-up visits in the months after the surgery in order to monitor your progress.
Post op: An outpatient appointment is arranged for a few days after surgery for the removal of the dressing when the wound will be inspected, and then cleaned. The patient will receive a complete list of postoperative care instructions before leaving the hospital including how to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in overall health, and when to follow up with the surgeon. You will also be advised to avoid certain activities like taking aspirins, as they are a blood thinning agent, and avoiding any vigorous sport/exercise for 5 to 7 days following surgery.
Convalescence: The scars will usually be very faint at first. However they can be expected to thicken and redden for a few months after surgery before they return to a more natural skin colour and texture. Bruising should mostly disappear after 2 weeks, although it may take several months for swelling to fully dissipate and up to 6 months for incision lines to mature. It is normal to experience numbness in the neck and this will generally take up to 1 to 3 months to subside. You may feel strange sensations in the neck and your neck may also feel tight and tingly. Patients also report feelings of pulling or burning in the neck from time to time. This is usually normal and is not worrying.
Risks and complications: A small percentage of patients can have complications just like for any surgical procedure.
Infection: can be usually readily treated with an antibiotic.
Haematoma (blood clot under the skin) or bleeding: a re-visit to the operating theatre may be necessary.
Delayed healing of the wound: particularly true in case of diabetic patients or those who smoke. This needs to be discussed with the surgeon during the consultation stage.
Asymmetry and scars: usually visible in the early post-operative stage; normally fade over a period of months.
Loss of function or injury to the branches of the facial nerve: rare; occasionally patient may need a revision procedure.
Effects of the procedure: Overall results of a necklift are generally long-lasting.
All results will be affected by your heredity and lifestyle factors.