The face is not the only area to show visible signs of ageing – the neck can also undergo changes that might make you look older than you feel. Skin laxity can lead to the formation of a double chin and a “turkey neck” with folds of excess skin underneath the chin. Horizontal banding is also a frequent occurrence around the neck, caused by loosening of the platysma (neck) muscle. If your neck is giving away your age or interfering with your appearance and your self-confidence, help is available. Dr Morris Ritz performs neck lifts for patients who want to turn back the clock on this area.
During your initial consultation with Dr Ritz, he will discuss your procedure with you in detail, including what to expect pre-operatively, what happens during the surgery and what your post-operative care will entail. You will also go over any risks or complications involved as there are risks associated with any operation and it is essential you are aware of them and understand them. Dr Ritz will ask you questions about your medical history and your general health, which you will need to answer honestly and as comprehensively as possible. Your neck will be assessed and measured, then the two of you will discuss your expectations and desired outcome. It is essential you understand your options so that you can make the right decision about your surgery.
Your neck lift may be performed alone, or it might be combined with additional surgery like a facelift to enhance your results further. Dr Ritz will make his recommendations based on your concerns and the results you want to achieve. It can be beneficial to schedule more than one procedure at the same time so that you can obtain all your aesthetic goals with just one time under anaesthesia and one recovery process. You will have another consultation about two weeks before your procedure, to discuss the surgery again and answer any further questions you may have.
A neck lift is a superior way to reverse signs of ageing and produce dramatic, long-lasting results. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr Ritz to find out if a neck lift is an appropriate choice for you, contact our office today on 03 9508 9503.
During the surgery
On the day of surgery, you will be admitted anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours before your surgery time, depending on the hospital where your procedure will be performed. Dr Ritz will see you again during this time to answer any lingering questions and complete the final preparations for your surgery. You will also speak to your anaesthetist before your operation, who will explain your anaesthesia and ensure you are comfortable with that portion of the process. Neck lifts are usually performed under general anaesthesia, which means you will be comfortably asleep throughout your surgery.
Once you are under anaesthesia, Dr Ritz will make an incision behind the ear and possibly underneath the chin to perform the necessary corrections. Incisions will be placed carefully to minimise visible scarring after your procedure. The platysma muscle is tightened, and tissue is repositioned as necessary to create a natural look. Fat might be removed as well, either through surgical excision or a liposuction technique. Excess skin is also excised before it is smoothed back over the area and sutured closed. A drain may be placed to eliminate excess fluid for the first few days of the healing process and prevent possible infection.
You will spend the first night in the hospital after your neck lift, so that you can be monitored by attentive staff for those first few hours of your recovery. After your surgery, Dr Ritz will provide you with a compression dressing to wear that will reduce swelling and promote healing to the surgical site. This garment will be used day and night for one week and then just at night for another week or two. The dressing also compresses the area to help the skin form a smoother contour around the neck area. In addition to the garment, you will be advised to sleep with your head elevated for the first week or two, which can further minimise swelling and discomfort. Cold compresses also work to relieve swelling, bruising and possible pain.
Dr Ritz will see you in his office five days after your surgery and then weekly for a few weeks to ensure your recovery progresses smoothly and without complications. He will also check your incision sites for signs of poor healing or infection so potential problems can be addressed right away. It is critical that you keep all these appointments so that your recovery is problem-free, and your progress is checked throughout the recuperation process.
Post operative care
Patients are not allowed to drive for the first week after surgery, due to the pain medications you will likely be taking during that time. You will also need to limit your physical activity, including heavy lifting and gym visits for up to six weeks following your procedure. Most patients can return to work, as long as it does not involve strenuous exercise, within two weeks after their surgery. Dr Ritz will give you individualised advice as he sees your recovery progress each week, so you don’t try to take on too much too soon, and your body has ample time to heal.
Once swelling and bruising subside, you will begin to see the results of your surgery in full. The neck should look smoother with a visible reduction in lines and wrinkles. The turkey neck and double chin should be gone, and the jawline will have a more youthful definition. These results should last for many years before the ageing process once again starts to take its toll. At that time, you might opt for a nonsurgical treatment to maintain your look and stop ageing in its tracks once more. You can also take steps to prolong your outcome, such as protecting your skin from the sun, avoiding cigarette smoke and using high-quality skin care products.