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Neck Lift


Many individuals neglect the appearance of their neck; however, the neck is one of the first places where signs of age start to show. Additionally, sun damage or extreme weight loss may contribute to the skin on a person's neck looking loose, sagging, and aged. While we go to great measures to preserve or improve the appearance of our facial skin, it is equally important to tend to the neck. If your neck skin appears to have lost its natural elasticity and sags, or if there is excess skin or fat that you wish to remove, there are a number of excellent solutions available, including neck lift surgery. Only a qualified plastic surgeon can perform neck lift surgery, and can help you to achieve a smooth, slim, youthful-looking neck. It is important to know all of the facts before deciding whether neck lift surgery is right for you. Please read the following information that we have put together to help you in better understanding the treatment.


Neck lift surgery is one of the most transformative procedures in cosmetic medicine. By removing excess skin and fat deposits from the neck area, and possibly restructuring the underlying muscle, a qualified plastic surgeon can dramatically rejuvenate a patient's appearance. The procedure, itself, is one of the safest and most reliable in plastic surgery. Indeed, with the advances made in surgical technology over the past decade, modern neck lift surgery can be performed with minimal incisions and scarring while producing exceptionally natural-looking results.

Preparing for Neck Lift Surgery

It should be noted that, although neck lift surgery is a safe procedure, it is still a major, invasive surgery. As such, patients should expect to make certain adjustments to their lifestyles in the weeks before undergoing the procedure. Alcohol, excessively fatty and sugary foods, and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen should be avoided. Likewise, smokers should be prepared to refrain from smoking in the weeks before and after undergoing neck lift surgery, as consumption of tobacco can interfere with the healing process. Patients will attend an appointment between their initial consultation and their actual surgery, during which complete pre- and post-operative instructions will be given.

The Procedure

The neck lift is a relatively straightforward procedure that generally lasts between two and three hours. The type of anesthesia administered at the beginning of the procedure depends largely on the preferences of the patient and the surgeon. Many patients require only local anesthesia combined with a sedative; however, some choose to be unconscious during the surgery and opt for general anesthesia.

The scope of the procedure varies according to the unique needs and goals of individual patients. Some patients achieve their desired results through a simple liposuction procedure, which involves the removal of excess deposits of fat from the neck. More dramatic results can be achieved through the removal of excess skin and fat along with the tightening and restructuring of the underlying muscles. Neck lift surgery is often performed in conjunction with other facial surgeries, such as face lift, brow lift, and eyelid surgery.

Modern techniques and technology allow surgeons to perform neck lift surgery using extremely small incisions, usually placed discreetly behind the ears and under the chin. Through these incisions, excess fat is removed, either via liposuction or through surgical excision. If desired, slack muscles can be tightened; in some cases, a small section of the platysma muscle may even be removed. Once the appropriate work involving the underlying tissues has been completed, the skin will be replaced and pulled taut, and the incisions will be sutured closed. Any excess skin will be removed at this point, as well.

Visit the DocShop gallery to view neck lift before and after photos.

Photo credit: El Paso Cosmetic Surgery


If you are interested in neck lift surgery, and want to know if you are a good candidate for the treatment, you should meet with a qualified plastic surgeon for a consultation. Ideal candidates include men and women, 40 to 80 years of age, who wish to correct:

  • Sun or wind damaged neck skin
  • Double or triple chin - fat under the chin
  • Turkey wattle neck - loose, slack neck skin
  • Jowls - fat or too much skin under the jaws
  • Excess neck fat or neck skin

Who Is the Ideal Neck Lift Candidate?

The ideal neck lift candidate is someone whose skin still has some elasticity and who has realistic expectations for the surgery. The patient must also be in good physical health and be able to miss at least a week of normal activity.

A good neck lift candidate must also have skin elastic enough to be able to withstand a fair amount of stretching. Since the excess skin is cut and the rest is pulled tight, the skin can't be too taught or too thin - keeping younger and some older people from being able to take the procedure.

As with any surgery, good physical health is important for a successful procedure and a strong recovery. If you have any serious medical conditions at all, they may increase your risks during surgery or recovery, so it's important to discuss them with your doctor.

What Flaws Can a Neck Lift Treat?

A neck lift can get rid of loose "bands" of skin and fat that accumulate with age, as well as accentuate the patient's jaw and reduce the "jowly" appearance that also sometimes occurs. It cannot completely restore a patient's skin to its youthful condition, but it can make the person look years younger. Also, the impression of weight loss can be achieved with a neck lift, though candidates should talk to a doctor to establish reasonable expectations.

A neck lift is sometimes combined with precision liposuction, taking out the fat around the neck that has been hard to eliminate through diet and exercise. After the liposuction procedure, the excess skin can be tightened and treated, creating a much more appealing look.

These reasons are why most of those who have received a neck lift are in their 40s to 60s, but the procedure has also been done on patients both younger and older.

Visit the DocShop gallery to view neck lift before and after photos.

Photo credit: Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa

For patients who undergo a neck lift, recovery and results will differ according to several factors, some of which are unique to the individual. There are, however, certain elements of the post-surgical experience that are common among most patients. What patients must understand going into the surgery is that, regardless of the scope of their procedure, the results will not be immediately evident. Neck lift is an invasive procedure that involves some downtime and a period of healing; in most cases, the full results of the procedure take three to six months to reveal themselves. When they do, most patients look dramatically younger and slimmer, results that can last for many years for patients who lead healthy lifestyles.

The best way to ensure the swiftest neck lift recovery and optimal results is to entrust your surgery to an experienced plastic surgeon with a history of producing consistently excellent results. During your initial consultation with a surgeon, be sure to ask plenty of questions about his or her credentials, educational and professional backgrounds, and success rate. Also ask to view before-and-after photos of actual patients who underwent neck lift surgery, whether by itself or as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan.


Patients who undergo neck lift should be prepared to take some time off work, ranging from one to two weeks. In the first twenty-four hours after surgery, patients should arrange to have a friend or family member stay with them, as movement will be difficult. The first few days will be spent primarily in bed, with prescription pain medication being taken to control any pain or discomfort. It is important that patients have a supply of comfortable, loose-fitting shirts or blouses that button up the front, as pulling clothing over the head could interfere with healing.

Even after returning to work, patients will have to be careful to avoid strenuous activity, such as heavy lifting or sports, for a few weeks. As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection and bleeding associated with neck lift surgery. Bruising and swelling, especially in the first few days after surgery, are inevitable. Patients should be attentive to any signs that healing is not progressing properly, such as pus at the incision sites, and contact their surgeons immediately if there are any potential issues.

Of course, the recovery period will be longer for patients who combine neck lift surgery with other procedures, such as face lift or brow lift.


Neck lift results generally improve over time, even after a patient has healed from surgery. Optimal results are usually achieved within six months. Patients who refrain from smoking, drinking, and other lifestyle habits that could impair results are likely to recover and achieve their desired appearance more quickly.

Post-surgical scarring is usually minimal, especially when the neck lift is performed by a reputable, experienced surgeon. The tighter neck skin and better-defined jaw line will typically last between five and ten years.

Visit the DocShop gallery to view neck lift before and after photos.

Photo credit: Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa

Neck Lift Benefits

There are a number of benefits patients will experience with neck lift surgery, including:

  • Natural-looking results - no one will notice you have had work done
  • Quick recovery period - one to three weeks Long-lasting results
  • Achieve a thinner, younger appearance
  • Enhance confidence
  • Can combine with other cosmetic procedures
  • Safe treatment - very few potential risks
  • Correct a number of cosmetic issues
  • Unnoticeable scar placement

Neck Lift Risks

There are risks with any kind of surgery, and cosmetic procedures are no exception. In choosing to undergo a neck lift, the patient risks infection and possible allergic reaction to the anesthesia; the patient may also experience excessive scarring from the neck lift and other complications, such as:

  • Hematoma: The collection of blood beneath the skin
  • Seroma: The collection of fluid under the skin
  • Neck tightness: This can occur if the skin is stretched too much during surgery
  • Numbness: Patients often experience numbness at the incision site after surgery
  • Skin irregularities: These can include lumpiness or mottling
  • Patient dissatisfaction with neck lift results: Asymmetry and other problems can lead to the need for revision surgery
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

The occurrence of these complications is very rare, however, and can be reduced further with the choice of an experienced doctor. The patient should be sure to tell his or her doctor about any existing medical condition or medication being taken to reduce the risk of serious problems after surgery.

Neck Lift Side Effects

Patients do experience certain side effects during neck lift surgery recovery. The most common side effects associated with neck lift surgery include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Discomfort
  • Scarring

The swelling, bruising, and discomfort that occurs after surgery is at its worst the first two or three days after surgery. Over the course of the next week, these side effects should begin to fade. Two weeks after surgery, the majority of the pain, bruising, and swelling is gone, and patients will begin to notice the results of surgery. The remaining swelling could take up to three months to go down.

Scarring is a downside of neck lift surgery. However, surgeons will make every attempt to limit the size of the incision, and placement of the incision will be as discreet as possible, so the resulting scars won’t be obvious.



Visit the DocShop gallery to view neck lift before and after photos.

Photo credit: El Paso Cosmetic Surgery

Find a Neck Lift Surgeon

If you are interested in learning more about neck lift surgery, contact a skilled and experienced surgeon. Use DocShop to locate the most reputable cosmetic surgeons in your area today.

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