A neck lift (platysmaplasty) is a surgical procedure that reduces excess skin and fatty tissue and lifts saggy skin on the neck. Essentially, a neck lift gives definition to the jaw line.
Candidates for this procedure are both women and men, usually between the ages of 40 and 70 years old.
Reasons for choosing to have a neck lift
As we age, our skin loses elasticity and begins to sag from the pull of gravity. The sun is also a factor in ageing the skin, especially areas like the neck that are usually exposed more than other areas of the body. Excess skin under the chin that falls below the jawline is often referred to as a “turkey neck”.
Women sometimes comment that the signs of ageing appears first on the neck. If you feel that your neck has aged unacceptably and you need to wear scarves or high collars to hide it, a neck lift could be an ideal procedure for you. Sometimes neck lifts are performed in conjunction with full facelifts and eyelid surgery. These options should be discussed with your surgeon.
Things to consider one you‘ve decided to have a neck lift
If you have fatty deposits under your chin, a neck lift can be performed in conjunction with liposuction to remove the fat. Otherwise a neck lift simply removes excess skin and tightens the muscles. After you and your surgeon have established whether or not you will undergo a ‘skin-only’ neck lift with or without liposuction, you need to talk about your expectations. A neck lift will not stop the ageing process altogether, and the procedure may need to be repeated as your skin continues to sag in future years.
Sometimes this procedure is performed in conjunction with a facelift and/or eyelid surgery.
What to expect
A neck lift takes between 1 to 2 hours and is performed in a hospital or approved clinic under anaesthesia. Two incisions are made under or behind the ear, and the skin is redraped and trimmed to remove any excess. Often a small amount of muscle is removed, and the remaining muscle is tightened. Most neck lifts are performed on an outpatient basis, which means you will more than likely be sent home several hours after you’ve recovered from the effects of anaesthesia. Your surgeon may wish to monitor you in hospital overnight.
Before and after surgery
You will need to keep your neck still for at least a week following the surgery, although you must also get up and walk around in order to boost your circulation. After the first week you can gradually and gently begin to move your neck.
Swelling and bruising is common after surgery, but they should start to disappear after a few days. Itching is normal and will diminish over time. Your scars may take a full year to recover, however, be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions on scar-healing treatments. Mostly, the scars from this procedure are hidden under the jaw line. You will notice some tightness in your neck from the way your face moves. This stiffness will subside after about a week and continue to feel totally normal over the next few months .
You should expect to be back to work and most normal activities about one to two weeks after a neck lift procedure. More strenuous activity, such as exercise, can be started again 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery.
Possible risks and complications
As with any surgical procedures there are risks involved in a neck lift, you should be fully aware of these before you consider surgery. It is always best to err on the side of caution when surgically changing your face. The best way to reduce risk is to find a fully qualified surgeon with formal training in neck lifts who has performed the procedure many times.