As part of the ageing process, which happens to all of us sooner or later, our skin progressively loses its elasticity and our muscles slacken. The stresses of daily life, effects of gravity and exposure to sun can be seen on our skin.

Ageing of the skin of the neck does not necessarily reflect the rate that the rest of our body and mind is ageing, and many people feel frustrated that the neck they see in the mirror is not the one they feel should be there. Substantial weight loss can produce similar changes in facial appearance to those of the ageing process.

Who will benefit from a necklift?

The best candidate is one whose neck has begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well defined. Most patients are in their 40’s to 60’s, but necklifts can be done successfully on people in their 70’s or 80’s. It should not be obvious that a patient has had a necklift, but instead they look more youthful.. It is a procedure that technically works well but also increases morale and is well appreciated by the patient.

What a necklift does not do?

A necklift works better for the jaw line and neck. Loose skin with fine wrinkles, freckles and rough areas will benefit more through chemical peel or laser resurfacing.

How long does a facelift last?

The necklift does not stop the clock but it does put the clock back. The effect of the necklift is likely to always be there in that you will not look as old as you would have done had it not been carried out.

The Surgery

A necklift is carried out under general anaesthetic in hospital.  The procedure, although long, can be combined with other operations.

Incisions are made above the hair line at the temples and extend in a natural line down the front of the ear, just inside the cartilage at the front of the ear, or just inside the cartilage at the front of the ear, and continue around behind the earlobe and up in the crease behind the ear and off into the lower scalp. Occasionally, it may be necessary to make a small incision under the chin. Sometimes only the skin is lifted following a separation from the underlying platysma muscle. More usually, however, the platysma muscle and its fibrous attachments (S.M.A.S.) is dissected free and sutured tightly to the solid structures in front of and behind the ear. At other times the skin and the S.M.A.S. layer are lifted together as a single layer, but will be sutured separately. Fat along the jaw line and under the chin may be removed by liposuction or on occasion through an incision under the chin. The skin is sutured so that it is lifted upwards and backwards, just as when one lifts the skin when looking in a mirror.

After your surgery there is usually some bruising of the cheeks and with gravity this tends to descend into the neck. Discomfort is usually mild and can be controlled with Paracetamol. It is normal for there to be some numbness of the skin of the cheeks and ears. This will usually disappear in a few weeks. It is better to sleep with two or three pillows and keep your head and neck elevated for around two weeks to reduce swelling.  Draining tubes will be removed one or two days after surgery.  Avoid strenuous activity, exercise, saunas and massage for at least 4 to 6 weeks

At the beginning your neck will look a little puffy and may feel rather strange and is better to sleep with two or three pillows and keep your head and neck elevated for around two weeks to reduce swelling.  Draining tubes will be removed one or two days after surgery.  Avoid strenuous activity, exercise, saunas and massage for at least 4 to 6 weeks. Camouflage make-up can be helpful in masking bruising.

Men also choose to have neck lifts and the scars can be hidden in beards or again, by your hair.. The scars in the hair do not usually show except that the hair is usually cut shorter around the wound. There may be some slight reduction in hair growth in the temples, but this is not usually a problem unless the hair is very thin and repeated necklifts are being carried out.

Choosing your surgeon

A necklift is a skilled procedure and we would recommend that you choose a surgeon who has undergone full training for cosmetic surgery. These surgeons will be on the Specialist Register in Plastic Surgery at the General Medical Council. All members of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) are on the Specialist Register.

What should you do before the operation?

If you are overweight and intend to lose it you should do so before the operation. This allows the surgeon to remove more skin and therefore achieve a more pleasing result.

You should avoid taking tablets containing asprin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Voltarol and Indocid for at least two weeks before surgery as they increase the risk of bleeding.

You should stop smoking if possible, or stop at least four weeks before surgery and six weeks after surgery. It decreases circulation of the skin flaps, particularly behind the ears.

Do not tint or dye your hair for two weeks before surgery and six weeks after surgery, as scars can be sensitive to these chemicals

ARNICA tablets will reduce swelling. These can be bought at a CHEMIST. These should be started a few days before surgery and continued for several days afterwards.

Swelling and bruising may be severe.

You should sleep on two or more pillows. This will reduce the swelling in your face.
The face bra should be worn night and day for two weeks and then only at night for a further four weeks.

Some of the sutures that you have must be removed. This will be done in one week’s time. Others are dissolving and do not need removing. Occasionally a small piece of stitch may remain and need removing at a later date.

You must wash your face as normal except that you should use a gentle soap such as DOVE or SIMPLE SOAP

Ice packs can be applied if desired. They should ideally be GEL PADS rather than ice. ICE SHOULD NEVER BE APPLIED DIRECTLY TO SKIN. If ice packs are used, you should wrap the ice cubes in a towel before applying

Scarring is always an issue and hopefully your scarring will be acceptable. If scarring is an issue we will endeavour to correct this. There is usually no charge for this, however, a facility fee may be due. Any corrective surgery will only be undertaken when post operative swelling settles which may be after 9 – 12 months.

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