Face and Neck Lift

What is a face and neck lift?

Facelift and neck lift surgery reverses the descent or droopiness of the upper cheeks, the lower cheeks (“jowls”) and the neck. Your initial consultation with Dr. Eckhaus will determine what treatment options are best for your unique situation, as there may be non-surgical approaches that will mask and improve this appearance.

A facelift may be combined with a neck lift or performed alone. Variations of the facelift depend on the techniques necessary to achieve the patient’s goals. As this type of surgery must be individualized for each patient, there may be a rapid recovery, minimal scar procedure, or a more major operation. This is also carefully evaluated during your initial consultation.

The Surgery

Scars will be placed behind and just in front of the ear up into the hairline. A separate incision underneath the chin is often required for neck lifts. 

The surgery is done under a general anesthetic and can take between 3 and 5 hours.  An overnight stay is not usually required.  A small drain is placed under the cheek and removed on the first post-operative day.  

After Your Surgery

Here are some things to expect after your surgery:

  • There is significant and obvious swelling and bruising for the first 2 weeks. Though much of this subsides early, it can take up to 3 months for the remainder to resolve.
  • A compression garment is worn under the chin for 1 week.
  • Patients typically require 2 weeks of downtime, and should allow at least 2 months before attending important social events or photography sessions.
Pre-Operation & Post-Operation Recovery Guide

Initial Consultation

Consultation time required New patient 30-60 mins.

Approx. total cost: Provided after consultation.

Usual length of operation 3-5 hours.

Usual length of stay: Overnight.

Type of anaesthesia (usually) General.

Are there permanent scars? Yes. In hairline above ears, around front of ears where it meets the cheek and behind ear into hairline. Usually hard to see once healed.

Pre-Operative Instructions

Pre-Operative Instructions: No aspirin two weeks before, fast according to instructions, take any usual meds with a sip on the day of surgery. If you get ill, i.e. flu before surgery, notify us.

Post-Operative Course

On discharge: Go home to rest under supervision, drink well, take pain meds as directed, start a light diet if you feel able to.

Next Day: Mobilize around the house, rest, drink well, take meds as directed, we encourage walking. Expect black eyes and bruising. Wear facial support as directed.

Day 2 – 7: Increase mobility as you feel better.

After Day 7: Return to usual activities, but expect to feel tired and need rest.

When is my first post-op visit? Next morning and then about 5-7 days after discharge.

Is there pain? Expect mild pain – will need painkillers for a few days. The neck area often feels tight for quite a long time – days to weeks, occasionally longer.

Is there swelling? Yes, especially first 3 days but swelling will take many weeks to go away.

Is there bruising? Yes, and black eyes for 7-10 days, sometimes longer.

Are there numb areas? Yes, in front of ears, on cheeks and around neck.

Are there stitches to be removed? Stitches around ears removed around 5-7 days.

Staples in hairline removed at 7-10 days.

Are there dressings? Facial support garment.

Are there drains? Sometimes a drain is left in place behind the ears for 24 hours.

How do I manage the garment? Remove for hair wash or showering, otherwise wear it for the first week day and night.

Can I shower? Yes, after 24 hours.

When can I see people without surgery being obvious? When black eyes resolve, 10-14 days.

When can I drive? Must be able to see clearly, be off strong painkillers and able to move comfortably, usually 7-14 days.

When can I go back to work? Best to take 2 weeks minimum off if you can.

When can I exercise? 2-3 weeks after surgery.

When can I resume heavy lifting, etc? 4 weeks after surgery.

Things I should phone about: Pain not controlled by the medication. Sudden swelling and pain on one side or the other. Vomiting or unable to take plenty of fluids.  Excessive oozing from the wound or dressings.  Fever over 38 degrees.  Difficulty breathing well.  Progressive swelling or redness in the area of surgery.