Neck Lift Surgery (Platysmaplasty)

Neck lift surgery or Platysmaplasty – the medical term for this procedure – is an operation which helps reduce the amount of hanging and sagging skin around the neck. A neck lift is carried out to smooth the loose skin around the neck. At the same time the underlying tissue will be tightened and excess fat removed.

There are many reasons why the skin around the neck becomes saggy. Reasons for this include; ageing, sun damage, loss of elasticity over time, excessive weight loss and in some cases, it may even be as a result of treatment for an illness or disease.

It has been noted by many medical professionals that neck lift surgery is one of the most popular plastic surgeries for individuals over a certain age. Neck Lift Surgery is most popular with women over 40. However it is increasingly becoming more and more popular for men as well.

Why have a Neck Lift?

This procedure is extremely efficient on its own, however when combined with a face lift, the overall effects can be increased, giving the patient a look which can be up to 10 years younger. There are a number of benefits to having a neck lift as it not only changes your appearance on the outside, it can have many positive effects to the individual. Neck lift surgery can help the individual feel rejuvenated, younger and fresher. Having a neck lift can additionally help with the application of make up as it makes the skin tighter and firmer, helping the makeup glide on and take less time.

The neck lift procedure is relatively simple and is completed under a general anaesthetic. This means that the surgery has its risks and must be considered properly before committing. The surgeon will begin by making an incision along the hairline from behind the ears. Next, the surgeon will pull the excess skin found around the neck, back and into place. The surgeon will fasten the skin into place by using surgical sutures, which will need to be removed after the wound has begun heeling. Once the sutures are in place the surgeon will then trim the excess skin. If the surgeon is completing more than one treatment, then it will be here that the surgeon will extend the incision line and continue with the next surgery. During the operation a primary aim of the plastic surgeon will be to keep the incisions small and any resultant scarring hidden as much as is possible.

Risks and Complications

Generally, modern day surgery is considered safe.

Like all surgeries that take place under general anaesthetic, neck lift surgery has some risks and complications. The general anaesthetic itself can cause suppressed breathing, blood clots in the lungs, blood clots in the legs, heart failure and even death. This will be discussed with you not only in the consultation but also when the anaesthetist comes to talk to you prior to the surgery. Approximately one-third of patients who receive an anaesthetic during surgery will experience “anaesthesia sickness” or post-operative nausea and vomiting (POVN).

For the neck lift surgery itself, one can experience numbness of the skin and area around the incision for a time. This numbness is normally fully gone in six to twelve months.In rare cases however, there have been some individuals that have not been able to regain any feeling in the affected area at all. This can be due to nerve damage and can be extremely uncomfortable.

Keloid scaring is rare but possible. Keloid scaring is a thickening of the scar tissue and is caused by the scar healing badly resulting in the area becoming raised and red. It is not a fault of the surgical procedure but is a result of the individuals own healing mechanisms. It is uncomfortable and is not aesthetically pleasing. If keloid scaring does appear, then this may require the scar to be cut out and re-stitched.

Infection is rare but can be treated using normal medical techniques.

Q. Where are the incisions made for a neck lift?

A. Usually, the incision is made along the hair line behind the ears and extends below the front of the ear, providing ample space for the surgeon to remove excess fatty tissue, skin and to tighten up the muscles.

Q. How long does neck lift surgery take?

A. Usually, a neck lift procedure takes around one and a half hours to three hours however, if you are having more than one surgery, then this will increase dramatically. In addition, if any complications arise, then this can increase the duration of the surgery as well.

Q. Is the neck lift procedure painful?

A. Of course it is completely natural to feel some level of discomfort especially soon after having the surgery, however it should subside over time. If the pain does not desist, then this could be due to a potential complication arising and the scar will need to be looked at as soon as possible by your surgeon. The surgeon may feel that it is necessary to prescribe pain relief to take home with you.

Q. Will there be much bruising?

A. Bruising is usual and may last from two to three weeks. In severe bruising blood may accumulate underneath the skin requiring drainage.

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Dr Raymond Goh on Face and Neck Lift

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