A neck lift or platysmaplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure that can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and descending skin in the neck and jawline. The procedure involves removing excess skin, tightening muscles (including the neck muscle or platysma), repositioning deeper tissues, and liposuction.

Suitable Candidates for a Neck Lift

Suitable candidates for the procedure are looking to address:

  • Wrinkles and excess skin on the neck and lower face
  • Visible neck bands
  • Excess fat under the chin

In addition, suitable candidates must be in good overall health, are non-smokers or willing to stop smoking before and after the procedure, and have realistic expectations.

Neck Lift Surgery

There are two types of neck lift incisions depending on the amount of surgery needed: a traditional neck lift incision and a limited incision neck lift.

1. Traditional Neck Lift

In a traditional neck lift, the incision will be made at the hairline along the front upper ear, which will continue down and around the ear and finally end in the hair behind the ear.

Excess fat present may be shaped or redistributed from the jowls and neck. The tissue present on the neck skin is repositioned and the platysma muscle is tightened. Once the underlying tissues are tightened and repositioned, excess skin is trimmed away. A separate incision under the chin is often necessary for liposuction of this area and repair of the muscle. Sutures or skin adhesives are used to close the incisions.

2. Mini Neck lift or Limited Incision Necklift

A limited incision neck lift or mini neck lift may involve smaller incisions only around the ear. While the incisions are shorter, the results may be more limited.

Incision sites are usually closed with the help of sutures and sometimes using skin adhesives. If non-dissolving sutures are used, they will be removed after a few days. The incision marks are usually made within the hairline alongside the natural contours of the ear.

Recovery after Neck Lift Surgery

Dr Turner will place drains under the skin to collect any fluid that may build up. Bandages will be lightly applied to your face and neck to reduce swelling and bruising. You’ll be provided with post-operative care instructions which you should follow.

You should keep your head in an elevated position as it helps reduce swelling. You should also avoid any unnecessary twisting and bending of the neck. Take two to three weeks off from work post-surgery as you should rest and recuperate as much as possible. Avoid any exercises and stressful activities during this period. Do not apply an ice pack directly to the neck as it can affect blood flow.

You’ll be able to see the results as the swelling and bruising gradually decrease. As the scars mature and the swelling completely subsides, you will see the final outcome of the procedure.

Potential Risks and Complications of Neck Lift Surgery

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with neck lift surgery. These include the following:

  • Anaesthesia risks: You may be allergic to the anaesthesia or any of its components.
  • Bleeding: This can occur when the blood vessels are damaged due to surgical techniques used during the procedure.
  • Haematoma (collection of blood that can occur under the skin): This can occur due to surgical trauma to the blood vessels during the surgery.
  • Infection: Microorganisms can enter the surgical incisions which can result in infection.
  • Nerve injury: The surgical techniques used during the procedure can damage the nerves, resulting in temporary or permanent numbness.
  • Poor or delayed wound healing: Factors such as smoking, certain medical conditions, and poor adherence to wound care instructions can lead to this.
  • Scarring: The extent of scarring can vary depending on the surgical techniques used, how you care for your incisions, and your healing ability.
  • Seroma (collection of fluid under the skin): Injury to the lymphatic vessels during surgery can impair the drainage of fluids, resulting in seroma.
  • Skin irregularities: This can occur due to uneven skin removal.
  • Unsatisfactory results: Factors such as the surgical techniques used, adherence to post-operative instructions, and how your incisions heal can affect the results.