Recovery after Neck Lift Surgery

Neck Lift Surgery Recovery Tips and Timeline

Undergoing a neck lift surgery is a decision that comes with an array of emotions — anticipation, anxiety, and excitement. You may be looking forward to the enhanced self-confidence and improved aesthetics that a neck lift surgery can provide. However, it’s important to understand all aspects of the procedure, including the recovery process after neck lift, before you proceed.

Neck lift surgery, or platysmaplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to reduce the signs of ageing in the neck and jawline. This surgery is often sought after by individuals who want to achieve a more youthful and refined appearance. It treats issues like loose skin, excess fat, and muscle banding in the neck, providing a tighter, smoother, and more defined neck contour.

Choosing to undergo a neck lift surgery is a personal decision that should be made with the utmost consideration and understanding. Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan emphasises on the importance of considering all the factors involved, including the benefits, risks, and the recovery process. The recovery phase, in particular, plays a crucial role in achieving the desired results and should not be overlooked.

What You Should Know about Neck Lift Surgery Procedure

Before you undergo neck lift surgery, it’s essential to understand the procedure and what it entails. The operation is performed under general anaesthesia or intravenous sedation, depending on your health, your plastic surgeon’s advice, and your comfort levels.

The neck lift surgery procedure begins with small incisions made behind the ears and under the chin. Anthony then tightens the neck muscles and removes excess skin and fat. The remaining skin is repositioned for a more youthful and contoured appearance. The procedure usually lasts three to four hours, depending on the extent of the surgery.

Understanding the neck lift surgery procedure is a vital step in preparing for the surgery and the recovery that follows. It gives you a clear picture of what to expect, helping to alleviate anxiety and fear. Being well-informed about the procedure also allows you to communicate effectively with Anthony, ensuring that all your concerns and questions are addressed.


What to Expect During Neck Lift Surgery Recovery

The recovery process after neck lift surgery is as important as the procedure itself. It’s during this period that your body heals and adapts to the new changes. This phase is essential for the success of the surgery and achieving the desired outcome.

As part of the surgery quilting sutures (please see the separate blog post on this coming soon) are applied to support the skin (it actually helps it shrink to fit the neck shape) and reduce the risk of bleeding (by closing down the space between the skin and the underlying tissue). Most people find the quilting stitches uncomfortable whilst they are in but they really are worth and they are only in situ for a short period (3 days). To help with the discomfort and swelling (it helps to reduce bruising too) bruising a cooling system applied to your neck (called a Hilotherm).

This essentially pumps water chilled to 17°C around a mask which you wear over the front and sides of the neck. This ensures that your skin is maintained at a constant temperature (17°C is the ideal) and prevents the cold/warm cycles of packs placed in the freezer (which can also bring skin temperature below 17°C if incorrectly applied and result in cold burn to the tissue. Portable devices are available from the manufacturer for hire to go home with (we will give you the mask so if you are thinking of hiring a machine you don’t need to purchase one) [].

Overall recovery period varies among individuals, but most patients can return to non-strenuous activities within two weeks. Strenuous activities and exercises should be avoided for at least four to six weeks post-surgery. Patience and adherence to Anthony’s instructions are key during this recovery phase.

Essential Considerations During Neck Lift Surgery Recovery

The recovery phase after neck lift surgery is a delicate period that requires careful attention. It’s during this time that your body adjusts to the changes made during surgery. Taking proactive steps to ensure a smooth recovery process is crucial.

It’s essential to follow Anthony’s post-operative instructions diligently. These typically include wound care, medication instructions, and activity restrictions. Remember, these guidelines are designed to facilitate your recovery and help you achieve the desired results.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial during recovery. This includes a balanced diet, sufficient rest, and abstaining from smoking and alcohol consumption. These habits promote healing and help prevent complications.

It’s important to have realistic expectations about the recovery process. Healing takes time, and the final results will take around a year to become apparent (you will see the majority of the shape change immediately after the procedure but for the final contours to show through all the inflammation and swelling will need to have resolved a process that takes roughly 12 months). Being patient and positive can significantly impact your recovery experience.

How to Optimise Your Recovery After Neck Lift Surgery

Achieving a successful neck lift surgery recovery requires more than just following post-operative instructions. It involves taking proactive steps to optimise your healing process and experience.

  • Staying hydrated is vital. Aim to drink 3 litres of fluid per day. Try not to drink more than this if you are drinking water only as you will tend to get water retention, reduce circulating electrolyte levels in the blood stream and may cause additional swelling (which can impede healing).
  • Ensure you get plenty of sleep. Rest is critical for healing as your body repairs and rejuvenates itself during sleep. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule and create a relaxing sleep environment
  • Engaging in light physical activities such as walking can aid in recovery. Exercise improves circulation, reducing swelling and speeding up the healing process. However, strenuous activities should be avoided until Anthony gives the green light

Common Challenges After Neck Lift Surgery and How To Overcome Them

Despite careful planning and preparation, challenges may arise during the recovery phase after neck lift surgery. Being aware of these challenges and knowing how to overcome them can significantly enhance your recovery experience.

Swelling and bruising are common post-operative symptoms. While they usually subside within a few weeks, they can be minimised by applying cold compresses and keeping your head elevated, especially when sleeping.

Discomfort and pain are also common but can be managed with prescribed pain medication. If the pain persists or worsens, it’s important to contact your medical team immediately.

Emotional challenges may arise during recovery. It’s normal to feel anxious or frustrated about the temporary changes in your appearance or the slow pace of healing. However, keeping a positive mindset and focusing on the end results can help alleviate these feelings.

Professional Advice on Neck Lift Surgery Recovery

In addition to your plastic surgeon’s instructions, consider seeking professional advice to further enhance your neck lift surgery recovery. This advice can come from a variety of sources, including dieticians, physiotherapists, and mental health professionals.

Dieticians can provide advice on nutrient-rich foods that promote healing. Physiotherapists can guide you on gentle exercises to improve neck flexibility and strength. Mental health professionals can offer strategies to manage any emotional challenges that may arise during recovery.

Professional advice should complement, not replace, your plastic surgeon’s instructions. Any new treatment or activity should be discussed with your surgeon to ensure it’s safe and beneficial for your recovery.


FAQs about Recovery after Neck Lift Surgery

How long does a neck lift take to heal?

  • The healing time for a neck lift can vary depending on individual factors such as age, health, and the extent of the procedure. Generally patients can expect the initial recovery period to last about two to four weeks. During this time, you may experience swelling and bruising, which diminishes within the first few weeks. However, it can take several months for the final results to fully settle and for the healing to complete. It’s important to follow Anthony’s advice and attend all follow-up appointments to ensure a smooth recovery.

What not to do after a neck lift?

  • After undergoing a neck lift, there are several precautions you should take to ensure a successful recovery. It’s crucial to avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and vigorous exercise for at least four to six weeks post-surgery. Smoking is likely to result in delayed wound healing and can lead to skin necrosis (death) so should be strictly avoided. Alcohol consumption should be avoided as it can increase swelling, impeding the healing process (also it is never a good idea to drink alcohol with medications, especially opiates which most patients are prescribed post operatively). Additionally, it’s important to protect the neck area from direct sunlight and avoid using saunas or steam rooms. Sleeping with your head elevated and avoiding turning or twisting your neck excessively can also aid in a smoother recovery.

Do I need to wear a compression garment after a neck lift?

  • Some surgeons recommend wearing a compression garment to help reduce swelling, provide support, and aid in the contouring of the neck area as it heals. It’s important to wear the garment if instructed to so by your surgeon. I my practice I prefer to use quilting sutures (applied for 3 days post operatively) over a compression garment as it is more efficient at preventing bleeding, supporting the skin during the crucial initial post operative days and the technique created micro adhesions between the skin and the underlying tissues (where the suture tract has been) which acts like an internal scaffold – which is again more efficient than the degree of external compression that can be applied by a garment. Please see my additional post on quilting sutures for more information on this subject!

Does a neck lift look natural?

  • A neck lift, when performed by a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon, can produce very natural-looking results. The goal of the procedure is to rejuvenate the neck area by removing excess skin and fat, and tightening the underlying muscles, to create a more youthful and refreshed appearance. The results should look natural, enhancing your features without appearing overdone. The key to achieving a natural look lies in the expertise of the surgeon, so it’s important to choose a qualified and reputable professional, preferably one who is experienced in performing neck lifts.

What are the risks associated with a neck lift?

  • As with any surgical procedure, a neck lift carries certain risks, which should be thoroughly discussed with your surgeon. Common risks include infection, bleeding, and reactions to anaesthesia. There’s also a possibility of scarring, although these are typically well-concealed. Some patients may experience changes in skin sensation which usually resolves over time. In rare cases, there can be issues with wound healing or asymmetry.

Can a neck lift be combined with other facial procedures?

  • Yes, a neck lift can often be combined with other facial procedures to achieve superior rejuvenation results. Common combinations include a facelift, brow lift, or eyelid surgery. Combining procedures can address sagging skin, wrinkles, and loss of volume in multiple areas of the face and neck, providing a more balanced and youthful appearance. Keep in mind that not everyone is a suitable candidate for multiple procedures, so it’s essential to have a thorough consultation with your plastic surgeon. They will assess your overall health, discuss your aesthetic goals, and determine the best approach for your individual needs.

Further Reading about Face Procedures with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan

Medical References about Neck Lift Surgery