If your neck is jowling with crepiness and giving you a “turkey neck,” you may be a great candidate for neck lift surgery. Excess skin with muscle banding in the neck can add years to your appearance, so the neck lift, medically coined as platysmaplasty, provides great facial rejuvenation results.
The neck lift defines the jawline, chin, and neck, providing a youthful appearance. Dr. Kaplan often recommends that candidates for face lift surgery combine it with a neck lift to maintain a fully rejuvenated balance throughout the face and neck.
In this post, we’ll explore the recovery phase after a neck lift, and provide 5 key tips to help you post-surgery.
First, what actually happens during neck lift surgery?
Although there are different types of neck lift, the usual procedure involves making a small incision behind your ears and under your chin and carefully removing fat from your jawline and under the chin.
It can be performed using either local or general anesthetic.
Most commonly, neck lift surgery will include liposuction, where special equipment is used to suction fat from beneath the chin and around the jawline. Liposuction provides excellent results if your main goal of the procedure is to remove the fat and reveal the definition in your chin and jawline.
However, it does not correct structural issues relating to the appearance of your neck. Other surgical techniques may be necessary if your concern goes beyond excess fat and skin around your lower face. For example, chin or jawline implants may be needed to create a more structured appearance to the lower portion of your face.
Regardless, neck lift surgery takes about one and a half hours to perform. Be sure to plan for recovery ahead of time, including your ride back home.
How long is neck lift recovery?
You should fully recover from your neck lift surgery within 4-6 weeks. Stitches will be removed within the first week or so after your surgery. The scars will gradually fade over a 6-12 month period.
The first day after your surgery is usually the most uncomfortable, and most pain will begin to alleviate after days two and three. You may be sent home with a bandage around your face and neck to minimize swelling after your neck lift surgery. A thin tube may be put in place to drain excess fluid from under the skin.
Around four weeks following your neck lift procedure, you may slowly get back into performing regular activities, but if your body tells you to slow down, listen to it and allow the time to recover completely. Don’t push yourself too hard.
5 Neck Lift Recovery Tips
Like any other type of surgery, there is a recovery period when you should take the proper precautions to maximize healing. You should keep these five tips in mind as you go into your neck lift recovery:
1. Keep your head elevated
During recovery from a neck lift, you must keep your head above your heart. Avoiding excess twisting or bending of your neck will minimize swelling. You may need to sleep in a chair to keep your head elevated, but if you opt to sleep in a bed, make sure you have plenty of pillows as a cushion to keep your head above your heart.
Furthermore, you should not apply ice to the neck during the recovery period, as it can negatively impact blood flow and damage the skin.
2. Follow your doctor’s recommendations on medication
Dr. Kaplan is committed to helping you build a recovery plan that makes your road to healing as smooth and painless as possible. He may prescribe medication, either oral or to apply to scars, to ensure you are healing correctly with the least amount of pain possible.
Dr. Kaplan may recommend taking extra-strength Tylenol every four hours to reduce pain during recovery. As such, avoid alcoholic beverages or driving until you stop any narcotic medication for the pain.
You’ll also receive medication to help clean the surgical site and minimize scarring. You may be advised to apply Hydrogen Peroxide mixed with warm tap water carefully. And at six weeks post-op, you may begin the application of vitamin E or cocoa butter to the area.
3. Take it easy
To achieve the best results, you should listen to your surgeon’s recommendations regarding downtime and limit strenuous activities for the first three weeks after surgery.
You should have someone with you for at least the first 24 hours after surgery to help with any tasks that may be too arduous during your healing. Some light physical activity, such as walking, may be beneficial but be careful not to overdo it.
Be gentle with your incisions throughout your recovery, as they can be easily agitated, resulting in the need to return to your surgeon and possibly lead to a revision procedure in the future.
You can shower the day after neck lift surgery, but you should be extra gentle while washing your hair (try using baby shampoo). Be careful not to snag incisions near or on your hairline while brushing or combing your hair. You can dry your hair with a hair dryer, but only use it on the “cool” setting to avoid heat near the operated site for several weeks after surgery.
4. Avoid sun exposure
Sun exposure is one of the foremost causes of aging in the neck, leading patients to opt for a neck lift. It is also one of the prime causes of healing disturbances following neck lift surgery. Avoid sun exposure at all costs, and if you have to be somewhere with sun exposure, wear plenty of sun protection and use an umbrella or some other type of protective covering.
Ask Dr. Kaplan for any recommendations regarding sun protection following neck lift surgery.
5. Be prepared ahead of surgery
Following neck lift surgery, as you may imagine, it is difficult and painful to wear a shirt with any type of neckline or even pull it over your head.
So, we recommend stocking up on buttoned-down shirts, or zip-up sweaters, to ensure your wound heals correctly without too much friction. These will also provide more comfort if Dr. Kaplan instructs you to wear a specialized garment around your neck for compression to reduce swelling and minimize fluid loss.
When will I see the final results following neck lift surgery?
Do not be alarmed if swelling or bruising takes several weeks or months to diminish completely. The healing process after neck lift surgery takes time, but you should be able to see the results you desire 6-12 months following surgery and once the swelling has dissipated.
If you are ready to change your life, improve your self-confidence, and are prepared to undergo the necessary recovery time with neck lift surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kaplan to see if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure.