Taylor R. Pollei, MD
Fellowship Trained Facial Plastic Surgeon
What is the preoperative & day of surgery process?
Once you decide to pursue surgery, a lengthy and detailed pre-operative visit is scheduled. This gives an opportunity to review all concerns, answer questions, review the day of surgery and postoperative instructions, and obtain prescriptions and supplies that will be needed to avoid as much “day of surgery” stress as possible. Consent forms are completed, photographs are taken and reviewed, educational information discussed, and extreme care is taken to make sure both your expectations and mine are congruent.
The surgery itself is performed as an outpatient procedure in my office-based surgery center facility located at the Lasky Clinic (Beverly Hills) or the Crown Valley Surgery Center (Mission Viejo). Patients have a choice of IV sedation or general anesthesia, both have their benefits. The procedure takes around one hour depending on the degree of correction needed, and can take longer if additional procedures are being performed.
As with all surgery, nothing is to be eaten after midnight the night before. In the preoperative setting the patients face is washed, clothes are changed and after meeting with the anesthesiologist and having an IV started, surgical markings are placed. This is a very important step. Typically the next thing you will remember is waking up in the recovery room following surgery with a gentle dressing holding pressure on your chin & neck. Once you are awake and alert enough you are discharged home with a loved one or friend that will accompany you overnight and help you return the next day to the office for you initial postoperative visit. I find that patients tend to recover best in the comfort of their own home, but arrangements can be made for convalescent home or nursing services following discharge.
What Is The Recovery From A Neck Lift Like?
As you wake up in the recovery room, you will be kept comfortable and encouraged to eat and drink as you feel ready. The neck dressing placed to support the neckline can fell a little tight or restrictive, which is a good thing. Too tight is not. Before you leave I will make sure you are comfortable and not too restricted to swallow, eat, or drink. This dressing stays in place until your follow-up appointment the next day where wound care instructions are reviewed. Appointments can be made sooner if needed, but at 7 days from surgery the initial sutures are removed. Slight swelling, numbness of the skin, bruising of the neck skin and a feeling of tightness or tension in the neck is often felt. Some bruising may be present in the surgical region, but can be covered with cosmetics shortly after surgery if needed. The chin and neckline may look puffy and will feel tight. This tightness is good! Most of these side effects resolve within 1-2 weeks, and if there is a decreased sensation in the neck, it typically returns to normal within a few weeks. At the 2-week mark you can return to most physical activity remembering to listen to your body if you are overdoing it! By the 3-week mark, scars become less pink, bruising is usually gone, and you can return to most daily activities. Over the next several weeks, the small single scar become less raised, lumpy and itchy.
If you are looking to combine neck lift with facelift, blepharoplasty, chin implant, browlift, or facial volumization, most patients find a single downtime with recovery better than staging or staggering the procedures.
How Long Do The Effects Of A Facelift Last?
The effect of a neck lift is permanent, but the aging process continues from the time of surgery. As I have mentioned before, this is akin to taking several steps back on a conveyor belt… the belt keeps moving, but you are at a better spot than you were yesterday or maybe even 10 years ago. Truthfully, the surgically rejuvenated face looks more youthful than if no surgery had been done at all. Once the initial postoperative healing is complete it is common to see some return of skin laxity, soft tissue descent and age changes over the next several decades.
What Are The Risks Of A Neck Lift?
Remember as with every procedure discussed here, this is surgery! Any surgeon that downplays or dismisses the potential risks and complications is not being honest and transparent with you. During the consultation and the preoperative visit and detailed review of the risks, benefits, and alternatives to surgery occurs. This allows you to make an informed decision and consent to the surgical plan.
Possible complications of a neck lift include bleeding, infection, bruising, swelling or persistent visible scar. Also, problems with the general anesthesia or medication taken, nerve injury, and temporary or permanent loss of sensation to the neck skin involved.