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Restoring The Neck To Its Youthful Appearance

Oct 19, 2007
Although a conventional facelift and neck liposuction smoothes and tightens the skin of the neck, it does not address the weakness in the underlying muscles. The muscles supporting the neck weaken as we age. Consequently, the middle of the neck may take on a sunken appearance and excess skin sags forming a "turkey wattle."

A neck-lift tightens the underlying neck muscles restoring the neck to its youthful appearance and makes the muscles less prone to further sagging as you age. A neck lift is usually performed in conjunction with a face lift and neck liposuction.

The procedure is performed in our offices-usually on an outpatient basis. A neck lift is usually performed with local anesthesia and sedation. With local anesthesia you'll be awake during the procedure but anesthetized and relaxed. The surgery takes about 1 hour depending on the extent of the procedure.

Preparation
Eat a balanced nutrient-rich diet before surgery. A healthy diet will help speed recovery. Also plan ahead and prepare nutritious meals that are easy to warm up so that you won't need to spend too much time in the kitchen during your recovery.

If you smoke, abstain from smoking for at least six weeks before and after surgery. This reduces the risk of infection and encourages faster healing.
Do not take any medicines containing aspirin or ibuprofen during the two weeks preceding surgery.
Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery.
Be certain you do not have a cold or sunburn the day of surgery.
Do not wear make-up or contact lenses to surgery.
Arrange to have someone take you home after surgery and, if possible, help you around the house for a few days while you recover.

Procedure Overview
The surgeon makes a small incision under the chin. Through the incision, the edges of the platysmal muscles (the muscles running down the neck) are located, drawn together, and stitched at the midline.The back portion of these sheet-like muscles is tightened and fixed at the back of the neck on either side forming a strong sling of muscle that supports the entire neck and jaw.

Liposuction, if necessary, can be done through the same incision. The incision is stitched up and a soft dressing is placed around the head to protect the incisions.

What To Expect
After the procedure is over, patients may experience some numbness and mild swelling and/or discomfort at the incision site. This is normal and will pass with time. Incision site pain is usually minimal and can be controlled with medication, if necessary. Swelling can be treated with cold compresses.

Within two days you should be up and about, although you should continue to take it easy. The soft dressing around the head is usually removed within a day or so, but smaller bandages may be used for several days afterward. All dressings are removed within three to four days.

DO NOT turn your head for a few weeks. This allows the muscles time to heal. Pain medication may be prescribed for any pain, which will subside after the first few days. You may resume regular activity within a week. Swelling diminishes within two weeks and new facial contours emerge within four to six weeks.

Risks
As with any surgery there is the risk of complication. Complications associated with liposuction are usually minor and pass with time. Possible complications include bruising, infection, and reactions to the anesthesia. You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following instructions both before and after surgery.
About the Author
Dave Stringham is the President of LookingYourBest.com an online resource for plastic surgery procedures. Learn more about neck lift surgery and other plastic surgery procedures.
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