In the recovery room,
patients are evaluated for any pain, nausea, or vomiting. If any of these
symptoms are noted, the surgeon or nurse will make sure that pain medication and
anti-emetics are given to make the patient more comfortable.
Before your surgery,
your plastic surgeon will give you instructions on medication you should avoid
before and also after your neck lift procedure. It is important to follow
all of your surgeon's instructions completely to ensure a good cosmetic result.
Immediately after you are in the recovery area
after the surgery, your head and neck will be bandaged and probably in a
compression type of garment to help reshape the new angle. The use of a
compression garment (chin strap) for the first week or for the first 24 - 36
hours following neck lift surgery helps
reduce the bruising and swelling by applying pressure to the surgical area so
that fluid and blood will not accumulate under the skin. Your surgeon will give
you instructions on keeping your head and neck area completely still. If
you need to turn to look at something, turn your entire body not just the neck.
Not every surgeon will believe in using compression bandages, so make sure what
your plastic surgeon's stance on this.
plastic surgeon has felt that it is best for you to have drains then
when you wake up you will see some tiny thin tubing placed in your
incisions to drain any excess fluid.
Drains give the excess fluid
build up from the surgery a place to escape, so that healing is not
compromised. Some plastic surgeons do a neck lift
procedure with drains. The more extensive work that is done
in the surgery the more likely you are probably going to have a
Two Jackson-Pratt drains are used in
the postoperative period that will stay in for from two to four days
depending upon the amount of fluid that is removed from the surgical
area. Placing drains prevent a possible hematoma
from forming in the neck, so the patients will heal much faster.
Ask your plastic surgeon what his or her instructions are on the
placement of drains.
likely your doctor will ask you to monitor how much fluid you are
draining from the surgical site and to keep a record of this so that
he can keep track of your drainage. The
drains are removed anywhere
from your first post op appointment. The drain tube is pulled out gently and usually there
is no pain associated with this at all.
For the first few days following surgery, you
will have some swelling and might be possibly bruised. This is to be
expected however; as the days go by you will notice the swelling dissipating.
Instructions on you sleeping with head elevated for the first two weeks will be
given. Adding a few pillows or possibly a foam wedge pillow will help
considerably. Usually the bruising is gone in 2-3 weeks after a neck lift,
however; each person might yield a different amount.
After your neck lift procedure, it is common to
be numb around the incisions and also the entire surgical site. Nerve
endings have been stretched or cut and it takes a long time for these nerves to
regenerate themselves. Loss of sensation or numbness is usually only
temporary however; it can be permanent.
incisions and the sutures complete dry is of utmost importance
during the first week post operatively. Most plastic surgeons
do apply Steri-Strips on top of your incision line and sutures to
help keep the tension off of the actual incision, so it will heal
with a thin scar. You will have internal sutures as well as
permanent sutures on the outside of the incision.
sutures are dissolvable sutures which will be reabsorbed into the
body within 60-90 days.
sutures which are blue/black in color will be removed by the surgeon
usually between seven to fourteen
days depending on how well you heal. Tissue Glue is another
option that is being used more and more as a way of closing the
incisions instead of suture material.
surgeon will give you specific care instructions for your incisions
in writing at your pre operative appointment or before you are sent
home after surgery. It is important that you understand
everything that is written down so you will not have any unforeseen
problems as you are healing. It is extremely important
not to get any creams or lotions into the incision itself, as these
products could cause inflammation which could lead to an infection.
to make sure you watch your temperature after you have had surgery,
as any elevation in this could mean you have a possible infection
happening. Notify your surgeon of any elevation of temperature
Scars can take
some time to fade completely. A lot has to do with the type of
skin a patient might have. The most important thing to
remember is to protect these scars from the ultra-violet rays of the
sun or a tanning bed. Wearing a sunscreen
with a skin protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 at all times will
help minimize any sun damage.
Scars begin to fade within four to six weeks; topical steroid cream
or silicone gel can promote healing and reduce the chance of
developing raised, red or irregular scars. While most patients heal
well, scarring varies from patient to patient and is not totally
predictable. One of the best scar treatments is Silicone
Sheeting, as it helps with flattening and fading the scars.
Silicone Sheeting has the added benefit of adding pressure to the
scars while healing, so that the scars do not become
The scars are going to look worse right after surgery of course.
They might appear red and raised after the sutures are removed.
scar therapy normally starts after about 6 – 8 weeks
post operatively. This is to ensure that the incision is
completely closed. Each plastic surgeon will have their own
time-table for when it is safe for you to start
using topical scar
creams or Silicone Sheeting, make sure you ask your own surgeon
Retin A (Tretinoin)
is a topical form of Vitamin A that helps the
skin renew itself.
Applying this to your breast augmentation scar or surgical scar
after it has been completely healed and closed will help fade out
the scar. Appling paper tape over the
Retin A also helps with
the healing of scars. Retin A
is a prescription topical cream
that has to be prescribed by your physician.
If you have scars that are becoming
increasingly red and raised, make sure you notify your plastic
surgeon, so he may start some other treatments on you. This
could be the beginning of
hyper-trophic scarring or keloids.
Once you have
had the surgery it is like being at the half way mark in a long
distance race. The recovery part of this procedure takes an
enormous amount of patience and fortitude, as the healing process
will be changing daily. All post operative appointments are
included with your final price that you paid your surgeon.
More than likely, the surgeon will lay out in the post operative
instructions the appointments and time you are required to come into
the office, so that he or she can check your overall status with
Your First Post Operative appointment - most plastic surgeons will want to see you after 24
This is your first post operative appointment, and it
is to gauge how you are doing and to assess your progress since the
procedure. Since the first post op appointment is so soon
after surgery, you will need someone to drive you there, as you will
still be under the influence of the anesthesia and of course any
pain medication you might be taking. Take these appointments
as an opportunity to express any concerns you might have with your
Post Operative appointment is usually at the end of the first
You will still have sutures in your incisions,
so your surgeon might take this appointment to remove them.
Most of the time sutures are removed anywhere from 5 - 7
days post op. Your plastic surgeon will check the incision for
any unnecessary drainage, and if you have drains you might have
these removed at this time.
Post Operative appointment is usually at the end of the second week.
You will end up having
a few post operative appointments with your surgeon. It is
very important to keep all appointments and make sure you are doing
everything he wants you to do per his or her own post operative
It is normal for the first few days to be groggy
from the medication and also the residual anesthesia that might be in your
system - so having someone at home will help. If you have any excessive
pain, redness at the incision site or surround area, or pus at the incision -
you need to call your surgeon immediately. This could be a sign of
Take your antibiotics on time as they are prescribed until finish is imperative
to make sure you are taking all the pre-cautions necessary not to get an
Your surgeon will want you to avoid alcohol,
aspirin and ibuprofen for several days before and after surgery. Alcohol,
ibuprofen can thin your blood and cause excessive bleeding from the
surgical site. Only take the pain medication prescribed by your surgeon,
until he tells you otherwise.
It is not
uncommon for your menstrual cycle to be altered for a month or two
after you undergo surgery. The stress of the surgery and
anesthesia plays havoc on your system. Your period will return
to normal within a couple of months.
Your surgeon will be advising you that if you smoke - you
will either need to quit completely or make a commitment to
stop smoking for several weeks before your neck lift and
several weeks after. Smoking increases of improper
healing and excessive scarring.
Tobacco use increases
chronic health risks associated with smoking, and does have a direct correlation
with nicotine causing blood vessels to constrict which result in less blood and
oxygen going to the surgical site to help healing. Compared with
nonsmokers, smokers have a higher incidence of insufficient healing after
face-lift and neck lift surgery, as well as a greater degree of complications
following breast surgery.
Your surgeon will let you know when it is time for you to
actively get back into your exercise routine. It is
very important during recovery that you do not get your
heart rate elevated by doing too much. This can elevate your
blood pressure and cause potential bleeding.
It is extremely important not to be sedentary in order to reduce the
chance of forming blood clots in your legs, the sooner you are up
and around, the better off you will be. Some women develop
back pain or muscle spasm as a result of sleeping propped up and
also it is somewhat normal for the newly augmented patient to walk a
little bit hunched over. The sooner you can walk with your shoulders
back the better off your back will be. If you experience back
pain, a heating pack on your back will help tremendously.
will be instructed not to
strenuously for at last 4 to 6 weeks post operative. Being restricted to lifting only 5 to 10 lbs. during the recovery
period is to minimize the chance of contributing to any unforeseen
complication. This applies to picking up your own children.
If you do have small children, you should try to have someone to
help you during the first few weeks.
exercise contributes to an elevation of blood pressure and your
pulse and could cause bleeding. Any time you have excessive bleeding after a
procedure the chances of a
increase. Taking a gentle walk during the first few days after the
surgery is recommended; just remember to do things in moderation.
After you have been released to get back to your
exercise routine, start with light cardio and work up from
there. Usually weights might be a little bit too much in the
beginning, but slowly work up to your routine over a period of
If your job is sedentary, normally returning to work is based on
when you feel comfortable enough to do it. This can vary from
several days to a couple of weeks after surgery. Once you are
back into the swing of things at your job, start slowly and let your
body tell you what it can or cannot tolerate. You will find
yourself getting tired more easily, and this is from the actual
trauma of having surgery and the anesthesia.
Driving after your
neck lift will vary with different
surgeons. You should be off of all pain medication before you
attempt this. Your surgeon will let you know when it is safe
to start driving again.
It is perfectly normal for a patient to experience mood swings, and
feel like crying off and on, especially during the first couple of
weeks. This is to be expected as it is a normal reaction to
the aftermath of major surgery, as medication and post-surgical
traumatic stress syndrome can occur. It is important during
this time not to be highly critical of your new surgical procedure,
as what you are seeing in the beginning right after surgery is not
necessarily what you will end up with.
Some women feel depressed or regretful about having undergone a
cosmetic surgery procedure. The feeling of guilt and also the let
down from all the build up you had before the surgery comes crashing
down while we recover.
Some patients do not know how to handle the attention of questions
that this procedure might bring. It is good to talk about your
feelings and to know that the women on the forum here have
experienced all the emotional highs and lows you might be going
through, and they will help you in anyway they can along with your
own plastic surgeon and his staff. If you do feel that all of
this is too much, then it would be best to seek outside help so you
can resolve some of these emotions. Most of the women who do
undergo these procedure are extremely happy they did
and would do it again in a heartbeat.
you are discharged from the surgery center after your procedure, you
will be sent home with instructions and important phone numbers to
call if there is any unforeseen problem or complication that should
arise. These are important numbers to have close by, as they
will be how to contact your surgeon and or the on-call surgeon.
If you experience anything that hasn’t been covered in what to
expect after surgery, call the surgeon immediately. This is
why they have given you the phone numbers in the first place.
Any elevated temperature or excessive bleeding from the incision
needs to be communicated immediately to the surgeon. You need
to remember that the instruction sheet that your plastic surgeon has
given you should always be adhered to. If the instructions you
are given are different that what you see on this website, do not
waiver from what your plastic surgeon has told you. Always
follow your own plastic surgeon’s instructions!
Do not be
afraid or intimidated with any questions or concerns you might have.
Whether you are happy or dissatisfied it is always important to be
in the same page as your plastic surgeon. As he or she needs
to hear any and all complaints.
forum is designed to help
the new and the returning patient through pre op, the surgery, and
the recovery, as we have many women on here who have had numerous
procedures. It is always good to hear answers from real life
women who have experienced the same procedure you are going through.
However, it is not to take the place of your medical professional in
Your plastic surgeon and their staff are there to help you, so if
you have any questions or concerns make sure you contact their
office immediately. Never do anything that has not been
addressed by your own plastic surgeon, as each physician has his or
her own post operative instructions.