What is a Lower Rhytidectomy?

A lower rhytidectomy or neck lift is a procedure that rejuvenates and enhances the neck, creating a smoother, more youthful contour from the face to the chest. This procedure is primarily used to reduce signs of ageing, including a double chin, turkey neck and horizontal banding known as platysmal bands. It is frequently performed with a facelift to provide a dramatically refreshed appearance.

Who does this procedure suit?

Both men and women who have noticed signs of ageing appearing in the neck area might be good candidates for a neck lift. These changes are often due to loss of collagen in the underlying dermal structure, which leads to skin laxity and the formation of wrinkles. This surgical procedure reverses those changes, tightening up the muscle while removing loose skin and recontouring the jawline.

Candidates should be in reasonably good health without medical conditions that could complicate the safety or results of surgery. Your surgeon will assess your concerns, expectations and general health status to determine whether a neck lift is the right choice for you.

What results will I expect?

The neck lift eliminates loose skin, tightening and smoothing the neck contour. At the same time, the muscle of the neck, known as the platysmal muscle, is tightened to create a natural appearance. Small pockets of fat can be excised or eliminated via liposuction, which further enhances the outcome. You will see a slimmer, smoother neck profile, with a visible reduction in submental fat underneath the jawline that is often referred to as a double chin.

What’s the first step to take?

At your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to share your concerns, issues and cosmetic goals with your surgeon. Through a full medical history and examination, your surgeon will determine whether you are a good candidate for surgery and if a neck lift will be the best choice to help you meet your aesthetic goals. You will receive the facts necessary to make an educated decision about your procedure. If you decide to proceed with your neck lift, you should feel comfortable with the upcoming surgery and know what to expect before, during and after your procedure.

How do I prepare for surgery?

We will provide you with a set of instructions to help you prepare for your procedure, which might include:

  • Stopping the use of aspirin and other pain relievers that could increase bleeding during and after surgery
  • Avoiding other supplements and herbal remedies that could affect the ability of your blood to clot
  • Quitting cigarettes for at least two weeks before and two weeks after your procedure
  • Informing your surgical team of any illnesses in the week leading up to your operation

What happens on the day of my surgery?

Your surgery will be performed at one of our private hospitals, and you will be asked to bring a few items with you to ensure your comfort throughout the day. These might include toiletries, medications you are currently taking and comfortable clothing. You will need to stop all food and beverages a few hours before your surgery as well to prevent complications during your surgery.

What should I expect during surgery?

Our staff will provide assistance throughout the process, so you know what to expect through every step of your surgery. Most neck lifts are performed using general anaesthesia so that you will be comfortably asleep throughout your procedure. Incisions for a neck lift are placed under the chin and behind the ears, with care taken to minimise visible scarring afterward. Liposuction may also be performed with the lift procedure to remove stubborn deposits of fat and further enhance the results.

What should I expect after surgery?

The recovery process from a neck lift will go much smoother if you know what to expect and you can plan for your recuperation. Some of the factors to keep in mind include:

  • Pain is nearly always a part of the recovery process, but we will provide you with pain medication to keep you comfortable during the first few days.
  • You will have some degree of bruising and swelling after surgery, although cold compresses and elevation of the head at night will help keep these side effects in check.
  • You will have a post-operative dressing to wear for a period after surgery, which encourages healthy blood flow to the surgical site and reduces swelling.
  • Patients are usually back to the majority of their activities within two weeks, although strenuous exercise may be restricted for up to six weeks after surgery.

What are the possible side effects?

Potential side effects from a neck lift might include:

  • Swelling and bruising, which typically last about two to three weeks
  • Changes in the sensation of the skin around the surgical area
  • Skin itching, particularly as the incision starts to heal
  • Scarring, although we will use techniques and placement to minimise noticeable scarring

What are the risks and complications associated with this procedure?

Risks are associated with surgery of all kinds, including a neck lift:

  • Infection, which is why you will be prescribed antibiotics after surgery
  • Excessive bleeding and the formation of blood clots
  • Hair loss, which may be temporary or permanent
  • Asymmetry in the contour of the jawline
  • Poor wound healing that could lead to more prominent scarring
  • Allergic or other adverse reactions to the anesthesia

At Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery, we will take every step to minimise your risks, so you enjoy a safe and successful surgery and recovery process. With our extensive experience and expertise in this procedure, you can rest assured we will help you achieve the best possible results. Results from a neck lift are considered long-lasting, particularly if you care for the skin after your surgery by using regular sun protection and high-quality skin care products. Over time, the effects of ageing may begin to creep in once again, necessitating another treatment or procedure to maintain your more youthful appearance.

Whether you opt for a neck lift in combination with a facelift or alone, this surgery can go far in helping to refresh your appearance and restore your youthful vitality. To learn more about the surgery or find out if you are a candidate, contact Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery today on 03 9508 9508.