Neck Lift


Neck Lift

With age, it is not unusual for people to develop sagging skin and excess fat in the lower face, commonly known as jowls, double chin, and turkey wattle. In fact, the jawline and neck skin are some of the first places in the face to show visible signs of aging. There are often fat deposits under the skin of the chin as well as loose neck skin that gives a person an aged appearance. Bands of neck muscles create a displeasing contour as a person ages. All these problems can be addressed by a plastic surgeon with a procedure called a neck lift. Other names for this cosmetic surgery include lower rhytidectomy, cervicoplasty, and platysmaplasty.

What is a neck lift surgery?

Various factors including heredity, age, environmental stressors, and gravity lead to a loss of youthful contours in the jawline and neck as one grows older. A neck lift or neck contouring surgery is a procedure during which a surgeon removes excess fat and skin from the jawline and neck to improve wrinkles and creases in the lower face. The procedure helps to restore a smoother, more youthful facial profile and appearance.

Who is a good candidate for neck contouring?

Neck lift surgery is recommended for people whose facial appearance in the neck and jawline area does not match that in the middle and upper face. Patients who still have a pleasing appearance to the upper face, for example, are probably not candidates for a full facelift. Such individuals may benefit from a platysmaplasty or neck lift instead.

Various other cosmetic procedures can be done along with a neck lift, including a brow lift or eyelid surgery to rejuvenate aging eyes or autologous fat transfer to address volume loss in the lips or cheeks. Your surgeon will discuss your goals during the initial consultation and recommend the most appropriate treatments for you.

What can I expect after a neck lift?

It is worth noting that a neck contouring procedure will not change your appearance fundamentally. Also, it will not stop the aging process. Rather, the surgery will improve your neck contour by addressing problems in the lower face such as a double chin, jowls, and turkey wattle that are a result of excess fat and sagging skin in the jaw line and neck muscles.

What is a mini neck lift?

A mini or micro neck lift is a less invasive type of neck contouring procedure in which excess skin and vertical bands of neck muscles are removed. This helps to give the neck and jawline a more youthful profile. The incisions for a mini neck lift are less extensive. Also, recovery from the procedure is faster compared to a traditional neck lift surgery. There is less downtime and less swelling and bruising after mini neck lift techniques. Younger patients with less extensive signs of aging may be good candidates for these types of neck lifts.

At what age should you get neck contouring?

Most patients who undergo neck lift procedures are in theirs 40s, 50s, and 60s. This is because the signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin usually become prominent in this general age range. However, there is no right or wrong age for a patient to have neck lift surgery. Your surgeon can help you decide if this type of plastic surgery is right for you now or you should wait until a later time.

Sometimes, patients wonder - Is 75 too old for a neck lift or face lift? The answer is that there is no age that is too old for a cosmetic treatment. As long as you are deemed to be in good general health to withstand surgery, you can undergo neck lift surgery.

What to expect during a neck lift consultation?

At your first appointment, the surgeon will discuss your aesthetic goals and perform a thorough health evaluation. This will include obtaining your medical history, medications and allergies, and any previous surgeries you may have had. The surgeon will examine your lower face to assess skin quality and the presence of neck bands. You will have a chance to ask any question that is on your mind.

The initial consultation with your doctor is important to ensure you are a good candidate for a neck lift. Meaning, you can undergo the surgery safely and get the results you desire. The consultation is also a good time to discuss alternative treatments like liposuction that may be able to improve your features and achieve your aesthetic goals in a less invasive manner.


If you are deemed a suitable candidate for a neck lift, you may be asked to get some medical tests done in preparation for the cosmetic surgery. Your doctor will also advise you to stop smoking to reduce the risk of wound healing problems. You will receive instructions to temporarily stop blood thinning medications and anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin or ibuprofen before your surgery as they can increase the risk of bleeding.

Procedure details

The surgeon will start the procedure by administering anesthesia. A neck lift can be done either with sedation and local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Your doctor will decide the best anesthesia choice for you.

Next, the surgeon will make the planned incisions in the neck muscle and skin. For a traditional neck lift, this usually involves an incision starting at the hairline, extending down along the sideburn, and going around the ear, ending at the back of the head in the hair. The surgeon will reposition fat and neck skin to sculpt the neck and jowls. They will correct problems like a turkey wattle. The platysma muscle is often tightened during a neck lift procedure. Depending on your skin tone, the surgeon may trim excess skin. They may also perform liposuction in the chin area.

At the conclusion of the surgery, the incisions will be closed with sutures or skin adhesives. The sutures (stitches) may dissolve on their own or they may need to be removed by the surgeon after a few days. The scars from a neck lift incision are usually well concealed in the hairline and the natural contours of the face and ear.

Aftercare and recovery

Your surgeon will give you a compression bandage to wear on your face and neck. This helps to minimize bruising and swelling in the postoperative period. It is usually not recommended to apply ice to the neck as it can lead to skin death due to compromised blood flow.

You may have a thin tube called a drain left in place for a few days to remove excess fluid or blood from the surgical site. Your surgeon will give you instructions on how to care for the incisions while they heal. You will also receive instructions on when to return for followup on an outpatient basis to ensure things are healing up nicely.

How soon will I see results?

You will see the results of your neck lift once the swelling and bruising subside in the days following surgery. It can take several weeks to months for the incision lines to fade.

Risks of neck lift procedures

Like all surgeries, a neck lift carries some risks, including those associated with anesthesia as well as infection and bleeding. Other complications include facial asymmetry, hematoma formation (blood collection), numbness, nerve injury, poor wound healing, prolonged swelling, and persistent pain. In the hands of experienced surgeons, the risk of complications is low, but not zero.

What does a neck lift cost?

The average cost of a neck lift surgery is $5,000. This can vary depending on the extent of the neck lift procedure as well as the expertise of your plastic surgeon and your geographical location. A mini neck lift usually costs less than a full neck lift. Your surgeon will give you a neck contouring guide to help you decide on the best type of procedure to improve your appearance. The quote from your surgeon should include fees for anesthesia, use of a hospital or surgical facility, pre-surgical tests, post-surgical garments, prescription medications, and your surgeon's fee.

Finding a surgeon

Not every surgeon can lift a neck with finesse. A neck lift is a complex surgery that requires years of training and skill. That's why it is important to choose a plastic surgeon who has extensive experience in neck contouring procedures. It's equally important to choose a surgeon with whom you have a good comfort level.

The MeTime app makes it easy to find a board certified plastic surgeon in the United States. Elsewhere around the world, you can find experienced surgeons who have performed hundreds of such procedures. You can click and upload pictures, chat with experts, do a video consult, and have suggestions sent directly to you. Interested in a neck lift or alternative treatments? Download the MeTime app now!

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