As we age, some signs of the ageing process concern patients more than others. It is however not only ageing that is making surgical correction of neck problems becoming more and more commonplace.
When patients start considering and investigating this procedure it is important to be aware that There are three types of patients who will benefit from this surgery.
Firstly the young patient in their late teens and early 20s who has some excess fat in the sub mental area just under the chin. This is often a hangover from adolescent “puppy fat”and is readily treated with some very localised liposuction. The incision is tiny — only 2 to 3 mm and there is minimal bruising postoperatively. A compression garment will help to mould the area.
Secondly the next type of patient who will benefit from surgical correction of neck issues is an individual in their late 20s and early 30s who have an ill-defined neck with an obtuse angle from chin to sternum with a minimal amount of fat. This condition is often congenital and patients will often say they have inherited their mothers or fathers neck.
For these patients there is a new device that is minimally invasive and can recreate the necessary acute angle in the neck that is both youthful and attractive. This device has only just been released on the market in Australia and is called the I Guide. This type of surgery is not indicated for patients who have a lot of fat in the neck and/or have loose-skin. The incisions for the I guide are literally needle sized and almost invisible. Success of the I Guide is very dependent on selecting the right patient with the right problem.
Thirdly, the commonest type of patient I see for a neck lift, is an individual in their late 40s/early 50s who has a lot of excess loose skin and a considerable amount of fat in the neck. Whilst liposuction is often touted as the way to treat this problem in my experience liposuction will not remove enough of the fat and does not deal at all with the loose skin. The only way to remove the excess fat and tighten the skin is with a formal neck lift. This has been popularised by a Boston plastic surgeon Joel Feldman particularly in the last 8-10 years.
Neck Lift is a major surgical undertaking. The incisions are around both ears and under the chin and it takes about 3 to 4 hours in the operating theatre. Surgical drains are inserted and remain in position overnight. However this procedure gives the surgeon the ability (under direct vision) to remove all of the fat and then to manipulate the platysma muscle by tightning it, dividing it or overlapping it. With removal of fat, manipulation of the platysma muscle as required and removal of excess skin this procedure gives a dramatic improvement.
Recovery takes a minimum of two weeks during which time there will be extensive bruising. However the shape difference will be seen immediately. Changes in skin colour including mottling may persist for many months but are easily covered with makeup.
Of all the procedures that I do Neck Lifts have an extremely high patient satisfaction rate.