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A necklift elevates and tightens the skin and the underlying sheet of superficial muscle to restore the gentle, youthful curve between your face and neck.

Facelift and neck lift – rhytidectomy and meloplasty

Ageing of the neck is a combination of loosened skin, a loss of facial volume and the descent of underlying tissues. Some of these changes can be reversed with a necklift. Facelift is the term used by most to describe a combination of procedures including cheek, eyelid surgery, brow and neck lift. They can be performed separately or together.

All necks age with time. Some seem to do so too quickly, and this can seem out of proportion with the person’s character and vitality. Some people are born with full or blunt necks that fail to form the feminine sharp angle between their jawline and throat. People seeking a necklift are often concerned by

  • sagging skin
  • looking old
  • appearing fat
  • heavy jowls
  • sunken cheeks

What to expect at your first consultation

The consultation will address your concerns about the appearance of your neck and your goals for treatment. The consultation will be performed with sensitivity to your opinions and thoughtfulness to your concerns.

Your surgeon will help you identify the parts of your face and neck that you like and don’t like in order to determine what operation best suits you. Your skin, facial muscles and bone structure will be analysed. Clinical photographs will be taken, and analysed with you.

A necklift is an operation of moderate duration and risk and so requires a thorough medical workup beforehand. It is important to determine if you have any medical conditions that could interfere with safe facial surgery.

Written information will be provided to you, so that you can consider your options. If a necklift is appropriate the benefits and risks of surgery will be discussed in detail. You should consider neck surgery carefully, and you will have the opportunity to see your surgeon in another consultation should additional questions arise after your first visit.

Combination procedures

Face and necklift surgery are often complemented by blepharoplasty, brow lift, fat grafting and injectables. A consultation with our skin care specialist regarding your skin care regimen and non-surgical rejuvenation is recommended. It can help to deal with the superficial signs of skin ageing such as dryness, pigmentation, fine lines and rosacea.

What the procedure involves

Necklift surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic and requires admission to hospital. Local anaesthetic is also used during the surgery to minimise bruising and assist in your post-operative pain control.

There are different types of face and necklift. All involve much more than tightening the skin. This gives the most natural and harmonious appearance to the face, rather than a tight, windswept appearance.

There is currently a vogue to offer simple thread inlay lifts. These can be useful, but in general the duration of effect following facelift is proportional to the extent of the original surgery.

There are three different parts of the face that can be addressed, and different camouflaged incisions are used for each:

  1. A facelift improves the contour of your face and the wrinkles around the jawline and cheeks. It involves an incision that starts in front of the ear, curving around the earlobe and into the hair behind your ear. This allows the scars to be concealed by natural crease lines and your hair.
  2. For patients requiring significant contouring of their neck (necklift), the same incision is employed in addition to an incision just under the chin. This allows the neck muscle (platysma) to be tightened to restore a sharper contour between your chin and neck.
  3. In patients requiring the wrinkles of the eye to be addressed, the facelift incision is carried up into the hair next to your temples.

Dr Sanki and Dr Kotronakis are experienced in all three variations of the facelift operation and will recommend which procedure you would benefit from the most.

The skin and the underlying tissues (SMAS) are elevated separately. When the SMAS is tightened it recontours and elevates the underlying fat of the face. This sunken fat is what causes jowls and the deepening of the crease extending from the nose to around your mouth (nasolabial fold). The muscle at the neck (Platysma) is tightened to help lift fallen neck fat and restore the youthful angle between the chin and neck.

All of the incisions are repaired with fine, precise suturing.

At the completion of surgery, a padded dressing is applied to your face and neck. This helps control bruising and pain and allows the recontoured tissues to adhere to their new position.

After the surgery

Staying in hospital for a night can make you more comfortable. Most patients are able to leave hospital within one day of surgery. Your dressing will be simplified to a compressive facial garment. Following surgery your skin will be bruised and swollen. This improves over two weeks, and can be camouflaged with makeup a few days after surgery. Your skin can feel tight, with patches of numbness and even slight facial weakness. These will improve with time. It is recommended that you rest at home for at least one week after the surgery to prevent bleeding and bruising caused by movement, and to allow your wounds to settle. Patients in office occupations can return to work after this.

The fine stitches will be removed one week after surgery, leaving thin, pink scars. With time, these scars become paler.

Who should perform necklift surgery

Necklift is real surgery, and even in the most straightforward cases should be performed with sophisticated surgical technique for the safest and best results. It carries real risks, and as such should be considered carefully.

We recommend that the procedure is only ever performed in an accredited hospital. We also recommend that you carefully consider your choice of surgeon. Unfortunately doctors without surgical qualifications beyond their medical degree are allowed to perform surgery. Your surgeon should be appropriately qualified with at least a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS). FRACS is the standard qualification required in Australia to perform surgery in private and public hospitals. Members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons have a FRACS and specialised training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, including necklift and facial rejuvenation surgery.

Our surgeons, Dr Amira Sanki and Dr Ilias Kotronakis are fully qualified Plastic Surgeons. They have both received Honours degree in their Sydney medical schools. They both have FRACS qualifications as Specialist Surgeons in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and are members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. They both have extensive experience and training in face and necklift, including the most advanced and up to date techniques. They are committed to giving their patients the safest and best treatment available.

Where to get more information

A consultation with a qualified Plastic Surgeon is the best place to get more advice. More information and a video presentation on face and necklift are available online at the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons website.