Neck Lift Surgery (Platysmaplasty)
Performed either alone or as part of a face lift, a neck lift can remove excess skin, fatty tissue and banding, and restore a smooth appearance to the neck.
For people with loose, sagging skin under the chin, vertical bands and wrinkles or necks that are too heavy. Neck lift surgery can be performed either alone or in combination with other cosmetic procedures and different procedures are used for each of these problems:
• Sagging skin - this may be tightened or removed entirely, using a procedure called cervicoplasty.
• Vertical bands - a technique called platysmaplasty can be used to tighten the muscles of the neck.
• Fat deposits - these can be removed directly or by liposuction.
The end result of all these procedures will depend upon the elasticity of the neck skin and degree of sun damage to the area. It is also important to have realistic expectations.
Genetics can play a large part, so that people whose relatives have a well defined jaw line, or chin may likewise keep this definition in their own features as they age.
For those who have inherited a relatively small chin, a combination of neck lift and chin augmentation can give improvements to facial balance and neck contours.
A relatively small group of people tend to have poor definition in the neck very early in life, without ever being overweight. If the elasticity of the skin allows, it is possible to do extensive contouring with an anterior neck lift. This is usually done with a small incision (3 cm) under the chin. Through this it is possible to reduce the fatty tissue situated below the skin, as well as deeper tissue of the platysma muscles; trim the lower pole of the submandibular glands (if necessary) and; adjust the position and tension of the platysma muscles, so that the neck contour is improved.
During your consultation your surgeon should take a general medical history and ask about any other facial surgery you may have had. You should then discuss your goals and your surgeon will explain what results you can reasonably expect.
Often, in particular for patients after their mid-40s, the lower part of the submandibular glands is palpable below the jaw line. It is possible during the neck lift procedure to address both the superficial and deep seated fatty tissue in the neck, as well as trim the lower poles of the submandibular glands, for a more detailed neck contouring.
A neck lift can be done in conjunction with a face lift or other cosmetic procedures.
What to expect from surgery
Neck lift surgery usually takes between two and three hours, longer if it is being performed in conjunction with a face lift or other procedure. If it is being performed alone, neck lift surgery is usually done as a day case.
• Platysmaplasty for vertical banding - small incisions will be made under your chin or behind your ears to reach your neck muscles and move them as required.
• Cervicoplasty for correction of loose and sagging skin - your surgeon should use similar incisions to a platysmaplasty, trim the skin, move it into place and secure it using stitches or tissue glue. Your surgeon may also fit you with a compression bandage and instruct you to wear it continuously for at least a week.
• Liposuction is normally used if you wish to get rid of excess fat. This is a process whereby fat is vacuumed away through thin cannulas (or tubes). If this is the only procedure you are having it should take an hour or less. If more extensive contouring is required, reduction of fatty tissue is normally done through an incision under the chin.
After your surgery
In the days after your surgery there are several things you should expect:
• Depending on how extensive your procedure was, you may have some swelling and bruising. Both should settle in 4 to 10 days.
• You may also experience feelings of tightness, burning, pulling and numbness. These are normal in the first few weeks and should resolve on their own.
• If you have sutures that need removing they should be taken out within 7 to 10 days after surgery.
• Any discomfort you experience can be controlled by taking paracetamol or medication provided by your surgeon. Do not take aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medication as these can promote bleeding.
• If you smoke, you should be advised to stop entirely for 2 weeks before and 2 to 3 weeks after your surgery to give your body the best opportunity to heal.
• You should be able to return to work in 1 to 2 weeks, however you will need to avoid sporting activities for at least 3 weeks, possibly longer, as advised by your surgeon.