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Medically Reviewed by:

Robert Applebaum M.D.

Neck Lift Recovery Day By Day – What You Should Expect

If you’re considering a neck lift, it’s natural to be curious about the recovery process. Rest assured, we will do everything we can to prepare you for the procedure — both mentally and physically. 

Having saggy or loose skin around the neck area can be bothersome for a lot of women. However, the recovery process from a neck lift is nothing to worry about. 

What Should I Expect During Neck Lift Recovery? 

When you wake up from neck lift surgery, you’ll feel a bandage gently wrapped around your face and neck area to help keep the swelling and bruising to a minimum. 

In some cases, you may have a small thin tube that will drain excess blood or fluid so it doesn’t collect under the skin.

Once you’re awake and alert, Dr. Applebaum will give you and your support person specific instructions on how to care for the incisions and drains (if necessary). He will explain when and how you should apply antibiotic ointment and what medications you can take. 

These post-operative instructions are very important, as well as what signs or symptoms you should look out for during recovery and how soon to come back in for a follow-up appointment.  

How Long Does It Take To Recover From a Neck Lift?

The recovery process is different for each individual. However, most patients are fully recovered from surgery within four to six weeks. Usually, the first two or three days after the procedure can be the most uncomfortable, but the pain should be easy to manage with pain medication. 

Any swelling or bruising you experience will continue to subside over the next 10 days, and you should be able to resume normal activities after two weeks. 

If you have a non-strenuous job, it’s likely you can return to work after a week of recovery if you’re feeling up to it. 

For those itching to get back to their workout routine, light exercise can be resumed within one to two weeks. For heavier workouts such as jogging or weight lifting, it’s best to let the body heal as long as possible and wait at least six weeks post-op.  

How Soon Can I Go Home After a Neck Lift?

Undergoing a neck lift is an outpatient procedure so you will be able to go home shortly after you awake from general anesthesia. It’s best to have a support person that can stay with you for the first 48 hours if possible.   

Immediately after surgery, it’s normal to have swelling and numbness around the lower face and neck area. We find that most patients only need pain medication for 1-3 days after the procedure.

What Does a Neck Lift Do?

During a neck lift or platysmaplasty, Dr. Applebaum will remove excess skin and fat from the jawline to sculpt a more defined and youthful-looking neck area. 

The procedure is done through small incisions behind each ear and under the chin in most cases. These incisions tend to heal very quickly and become barely noticeable in a short period of time. 

Some patients require liposuction to remove fat from the jowls, trim away sagging or loose skin, or sometimes a combination of both. 

Dr. Applebaum will discuss the specifics of your surgery and the results you want to achieve during your initial consultation. 

What Are the Risks or Side Effects of Neck Lift Surgery?

All medical procedures have risks involved. It’s important to be aware of things that could happen to confirm the benefits of surgery outweigh the risks. 

Some of the side effects from neck lift surgery could include:

  • Negative reaction to anesthesia
  • Hematoma (fluid under the skin)
  • Loss of sensation
  • Asymmetry
  • Infection
  • Scarring

Negative side effects from a neck lift procedure are not common. Dr. Applebaum will address all concerns and answer any questions before scheduling surgery.

What Are the Benefits of Neck Lift Surgery?

Most people who have a neck lift are very happy with the results. 

After having neck lift surgery, the skin on the lower face and neck area will be smoother and appear more toned. The results from the procedure should boost your self-confidence and leave you feeling youthful and refreshed. 

No matter how much you diet or exercise, the skin on the neck can appear older as it loses elasticity with normal aging. Most of our patients feel slimmer after eliminating loose skin with a neck lift. 

What Are the Alternatives to Neck Lift Surgery?

If you’re not quite ready for surgery, there are many noninvasive anti-aging options to consider for contouring the neck. 

Every case is different, but typically non-surgical skin tightening is the next best option for sagging and loose skin around the neck area. Dr. Applebaum uses a targeted laser that can heat deeper layers of the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin production and gradually improve the appearance of the neck.

Patients can take a proactive approach and start to consider non-surgical skin tightening as early as their 40s. By treating the skin earlier on, you can minimize or eliminate the need for surgery later on. 

In addition to tightening the skin around the neck, non-surgical skin tightening can also reduce other signs of premature aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and sunspots. 


The recovery process is unique for each individual patient. However, most people can return to their normal daily activities within a couple of weeks. 

Neck lift surgery is an outpatient procedure, so you can expect to go home the same day. It’s normal to have some swelling, bruising, and lack of sensation around the incisions, but that should subside within a week or two. 

To learn more about Dr. Applebaum and which treatments he would suggest for sagging or loose skin around the neck, schedule an in-person or virtual consultation today.


Neck Lift Risks and Safety | American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Non-Surgical Skin Tightening | American Board of Cosmetic Surgery

Neck Lift | Johns Hopkins Medicine

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