Janet* 62

Procedure: Neck lift

Performed by: Dr. Richard Rival

*Patient name has been changed

Elevate: Why did you decide to have this procedure?
Janet: "I always knew that I was going to fight the aging process every step of the way. And, after 59, I started noticing the signs of aging. There was sagging, and in my neck area what I called a 'turkey neck.'"

Elevate: How did you decide on your doctor?
Janet: "He was recommended to me by another doctor — Dr. Kritzinger from York Vein and Laser Clinic. When I met with Dr. Rival, I was very comfortable with him."

Elevate: How did you prepare for the procedure?
Janet: "I have the summers off, and since I was not only getting a neck lift but also a face lift and my eyes done, I wanted to book surgery during the summer months. I also have a large property with a barn, so mostly I had to plan around that."

Elevate: How was your recovery period?
Janet: "I never felt any serious pain. I could feel discomfort and I could feel a pulling sensation. However, Dr. Rival gave me pain medication, and I also had to be propped up while I slept until the stitches came out."

Elevate: Did you have to restrict activity during your recovery?
Janet: "Well, I couldn't lean forward, so that's were I had to prepare well for my barn chores and make sure that everything I needed was elevated. I had to use a special kind of soap while showering and generally just be very careful. I also couldn't drive for about a week. After the stitches were removed, I saw Dr. Rival about four times every two to three months for followup."

Elevate: Did having this done change your quality of life?
Janet: "I just felt more confident. I started wearing this necklace that my sister gave me, and I would have never done that before. It's made me feel as if I'd gained 10 years."

Elevate: What was the reaction from your friends and family?
Janet: "I didn't tell a lot of people that I was having this done, only my closest friends. And most people that I saw or ran into would just say 'Oh, you look so good,' but they didn't know. A few of my clients said, 'You know, you look so young,' and that was the most complimentary thing, and I would think 'Thank you, Dr. Rival!'"

Ask the Doctor

Dr. Richard Rival, MD, FRCSC
Rival Cosmetic Surgery, Toronto

What is a neck lift?
Dr. Rival: "A neck lift is a surgical procedure that targets the excess tissue — usually made up of sagging muscle, skin and fat — that forms in our neck as we age. It addresses all three tissues by tightening the deep muscle, removing excess skin and sometimes using liposuction to address the fat. A neck lift is often combined with a face lift, where the jowl and cheeks are also rejuvenated. This patient had a neck and lower face lift."

How long is the recovery period, and what is required from a patient during this time?
Dr. Rival: "On average it takes about two weeks for most of the bruising to go away. Patients must avoid strenuous activities during this time. A compression dressing also needs to be worn for the majority of the first week of recovery. And smoking should be avoided for at least two weeks prior to and after the surgery. Most patients will get back to work and resume a normal life in about two to three weeks."

Are there any risks involved with this procedure?
Dr. Rival: "As with any surgical procedure there are always risks. Fortunately, with a neck lift, these risks are uncommon. Bleeding and infection can occur as with any surgery. Damage to the nerves that provide sensation and move some of the facial muscles is also possible, but fortunately rare. It is important that the patient seek out a surgeon who has extensive knowledge and experience in performing surgery in the face and neck."

Who is the ideal patient?
Dr. Rival: "The ideal patient is one who has hanging excess tissue in the neck, is in good general health and is a non–smoker."

What is the average cost of a procedure?
Dr. Rival: "This varies from surgeon to surgeon and depends if a face lift is done at the same time. Approximately $7,000 to $15,000."