I recently scheduled a facelift (not eyes) in December, but all my life, whenever I get stressed, my throat tightens and I feel like I can’t swallow. I’m scared. Any suggestions?

Dr. Dean Kane Q & A Q. I recently scheduled a facelift (not eyes) in December, but all my life, whenever I get stressed, my throat tightens and I feel like I can’t swallow. Two people I’ve known have had a facelift and both complained of the tightness. I cannot tell you how much that worries me because of my throat. I have claustrophobia and I think this is part of that fear. I even have to have conscious sedation when I do to the dentist. Should I be concerned? A. I believe your fear rings true for many patients. ​ ​There are many variations to the face and neck lift. The components may include:
  • ​lipocontouring of the fatty layer of the face and neck
o    lifting of the face skin o    upward suspension of the facial soft tissues
  • lifting of the neck skin
o    platysmaplasty o    suspension of the neck tissues
  • ​fat grafting of the face
Both the dressings and the physical aspects of the lifts themselves will enclose your head and neck but leave your face fully open.
  • ​​The dressings are removed in 24 hours in my practice.
  • ​The physical reduction and redraping of the skin are the essence of the face and neck lift.
o    ​I know of no known case in which a patient could not breathe following a properly performed face and neck lift. o    ​With your further concern, options may include:
  • ​lipocontouring only of the neck
  • ​skin lifting of the neck for proper redraping but no platysmaplasty or suspension suturing
  • no liposuction nor lifting of the neck skin
Nearly all of my patients undergo face and neck lift with sedation and monitoring. Lipocontouring of the neck and lifting of the neck skin will separate the sensory nerves and give you a numb sensation with most if not all sensation returning. You may confuse this sensation with tightness and claustrophobia. ​ ​As with any fear, you may wish to seek proper evaluation and therapy in order to allay your concerns in order to achieve the desired results. ​ ​Choose a talented, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon or ENT Facial surgeon who has experience with patients showing fear such as yours. You should be able to find a such a surgeon with relationships with Social Worker therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists to help put your mind at ease. You should also discuss the options and limitations that the different face and neck lift components provide to make a better more informed decision rather than basing your actions on non-medical responses. ​ ​I hope this has helped! All the best.
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