Neck Lifts (Cont’d.)
As we age, our skin begins to lose that youthful firmness and elasticity. Soon it begins to sag and droop. Many of us turn to various facelift procedures to correct this telltale sign of aging. But what happens when it is not your face that is sagging, but your neck?
At the Eye and Face Center in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Fante has cheered many people who have come to him full of dismay at the way their face is behaving. One of his statements that cheers people most quickly is that it isn’t their face causing trouble, it’s their neck.
Our necks are one of the first areas on our body that show our age. This is because the skin on our necks generally has less fat under it to maintain a ‘plump’ look. For others, fat accumulates in the neck, adding to the appearance of “turkey neck”. And while many of us are very careful to exfoliate, moisturize, and apply sunblock to our faces, we often neglect our neck in this routine. For those who have lost significant amounts of weight, the neck is often one of the first areas to begin sagging.
Fortunately, a necklift can restore the youthful appearance of skin in this area, getting rid of loose hanging skin, excess skin, fat or band lines.
Three variations on the necklift procedureDr. Fante will decide which individual procedure, or combination of procedures, is best for you, depending on the results you wish to achieve.
Necklifts generally begin with liposuction to remove unwanted excess fat.
To manage pain and discomfort and reduce the chances of infection, Dr. Fante will prescribe oral pain medication and antibiotics. You will follow specific dietary guidelines and limit your physical activity until Dr. Fante says you can resume normal activities.
The beautiful results of this liposuction necklift procedure can be best appreciated three to six months after surgery.
Cervicoplasty removes excess skin, often caused by sagging, aging skin or weight loss.
Platysmaplasty reduces bands around the neck that are due to the loss of elasticity that comes with aging skin, sun damage, and the force of gravity.
Necklifts are commonly performed in combination with other procedures, such as forehead lifts, facelifts or blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery).
Where Do Surgeons Perform Necklifts?
Neck-lifts performed by board-certified plastic surgeons such as Dr. Fante most commonly take place in the doctor’s office, perhaps in an outpatient surgery center or sometimes in a hospital under local or general anesthesia. If your surgeon is performing more than one neck-lift procedure, your surgery time could last several hours, but usually this procedure does not involve staying overnight.
With today’s advanced surgical technology, necklifts can be performed endoscopically, using instruments that visually guide Dr. Fante through the procedure. With endoscopic procedures, your surgeon will use smaller incisions, reducing the need for general anesthesia. This means less bruising and a faster recovery process for you.
Do Necklifts Have Complications and Risks?
All surgeries carry some risk or possible complications due to infection or reaction to anesthesia. With a necklift procedure, you may experience:
- Eyelid surgery
- Chemical peels
- Laser skin resurfacing
You can ask Dr. Fante about combinations you’d like to have, and discuss the possibilities before anything is done.
We’re all different when it comes to scarring, and it’s partly determined by our heredity. Some of us form small, faded scars rather easily. Others form larger, more pigmented scars. This is not easily predictable.
However, any over-large scars can be treated by minor follow-up surgery.
Dr. Fante makes the incisions as small as possible, and as discreetly placed as possible, for the best overall outcome for you. Each necklift is individualized, and you can discuss scarring questions with Dr. Fante before any procedure is started.
- Over 30
- In good general health
- Realistic in your expectations of the outcome
- At first you’ll notice some swelling and bruising in the area and this may persist for up to about 10 days. Dr. Fante will give you advice about using cold compresses to minimize this.
- There may at first be some mild pain or discomfort, and you’ll have a prescription to deal with that.
- If there are any dressings or tubes used, they’ll be removed within a few days.
- The first night afterwards, sleep with your head elevated.
- As the first days go by, you may feel some numbness and/or itching as the affected areas begin to heal.
Get lots of sleep and rest and don’t worry about things; that will help you heal more quickly.
Typically, the recovery time lasts about 2 weeks. If you had an endoscopic browlift, the recovery time is shorter than 2 weeks.
- There’ll be some bruising and swelling at first. The bruising will fade after 2 or 3 weeks.
- There could be some numbness but it will be temporary.
- During the first week or so, keep your head elevated, including while you sleep.
- Stitches will be removed after about a week.
- If any bandages were used, they’ll be removed the following day. A second, lighter bandage might be used for a few more days.
- You’ll usually look good enough to return to work after about 2 weeks, although you’ll probably feel fine after the first few days.
- Avoid strenuous exercise during those 2 weeks.
In the early days of facelifts, only the skin was tightened, leaving the SMAS as is. That made for a “tightened” look, that expression of perpetual surprise that we all want to avoid.
In present-day facelifts, the SMAS is involved too, so that the results are more natural, longer-lasting, and more individualized.
- Over 30
- In good general health
- Aren’t a longtime smoker, and
- Are willing to be realistic about the potential,
you’re likely a candidate for some kind of face lift. In recent years, younger people have been asking for them, and although a younger person can heal more quickly, there’s no ideal age for a facelift.
Dr. Fante will explain all the possible procedures for your particular face and together you can arrive at the best one, or the best combination of procedures.
Facelift incisions are largely behind the hairline and therefore will leave barely visible scars. If they’re also around the ear, your hair can cover them pretty well there too.
Another factor with scars is that we’re all individual when it comes to scarring. Heredity plays a role, and the exact outcome isn’t totally predictable in individual cases. However, it’s possible to repair scars that are too prominent, with further minor surgery.
- Traditionally it meant work on the cheeks, jaw, and neck, pulling them upwards to remove sagging, wrinkles and jowls.
- The term “full face lift” is sometimes used to mean the above, plus the brow as well.
- In more recent years, the term has been used as a catch-all for any customized combination of procedures on the face, all of which are localized and specific. For example, you could have combinations such as:
- Lip augmentation and a necklift;
- Cheeklift and laser skin resurfacing; or
- Eyelid surgery and a brow lift.
In general, you could define a face lift or “rhytidectomy” as a surgical procedure to improve the most visible signs of aging by removing sagging skin, elevating the facial muscles and fat, tightening the muscles beneath the skin of the neck, and often removing excess fat from the neck.
- May tear up more than usual
- Be more light-sensitive
- Have some trouble focusing
- Feel a bit itchy or burning
For Occidental eyes, the surgery is usually to correct droopiness caused by age. This is sometimes also the reason for eyelid surgery on Asians.
For Asians, it’s also often done to create a wider look to the eyes and is often called “double eyelid surgery”.
There’s a thing called the epicanthal fold, a piece of tissue which drapes over the inner part of the eye. In most Occidentals, it’s barely visible, whereas in most Asians, it’s quite evident.
When it’s adjusted surgically, a new crease is formed which gives the eyes a different look, and also causes the eyelashes to turn upwards, instead of being pushed downwards by that epicanthal fold.
- Thyroid disease
- High blood pressure
- Dry eyes
Dark circles under the eyes can be due to under-eye bags, in which case they’ll be improved when the bags are removed. But a general darkness of skin color under the eyes isn’t always removed by blepharoplasty.