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Medically Reviewed by:

Robert Applebaum M.D.

What Is a Neck Lift?

If a double chin or the visible signs of aging in your neck are causing you concern, it may be time to consider a neck lift. In some cases, the neck skin can appear to age faster than the rest of the upper body and interfere with a person’s confidence. 

A neck lift is a surgical procedure to help return the neck and jawline to a more youthful appearance. Most women see the first signs of age-related wrinkling in the face and neck in their late 40s. 

A neck lift may be a good choice if you want to correct the following effects of aging:

  • Reduce fat deposits under the skin
  • Eliminate excess, loose, or sagging skin 
  • Create definition or smooth an abnormal contour

Neck Lift: Defined

You may hear a neck lift referred to as lower rhytidectomy, submental lipectomy, or platysmaplasty, which are all surgical terms used for different techniques that may be used. 

These options have different features designed to tighten the skin and recontour the neck.

It may be necessary to undergo one or multiple procedures in order to restore a more defined appearance. The results are long-lasting and leave the patient looking natural and refreshed, never “done” or pulled too tight. 

Am I a Good Candidate for Neck Lift Surgery?

The ideal neck lift candidate should be in good overall health, within a normal weight range, and emotionally balanced with realistic expectations for the outcome of surgery. 

Patients with multiple or untreated medical problems, smokers, or psychologically unprepared individuals are typically not good candidates for neck lift surgery. 

Neck Lift Consultation

If you’re considering if a neck lift is right for you, we will schedule a consultation to discuss your medical history, skin concerns, a tendency to scar, and other factors that will determine the type of results you can expect.

Our staff will take pictures and study your neck to review options that can augment your procedure, such as a facelift, chin implant, or dermal fillers.

What Should I Expect?

A neck lift is typically performed as an outpatient procedure under sedation with local or general anesthesia. It’s recommended to have a support person with you on the day of surgery who can drive you home.

A traditional neck lift can be done with a small incision behind each ear and sometimes under the chin. Liposuction may be necessary to remove excess fat and smooth the neck area. 

Depending on the situation, you can expect cosmetic surgery to redistribute fat from the jowls, tighten the neck muscles, and trim away loose skin to sculpt the desired neck contour. 

Once Dr. Applebaum knows your specific goals, he will discuss a plan with you before the day of surgery. Patients with known allergies to antibiotics or anesthesia should make that clear during the consultation.

What Is the Recovery Timeline for a Neck Lift?

We understand that most of our patients are anxious to get back to their busy lives and may be worried about the recovery time for a neck lift. 

Each recovery depends on the individual and the techniques used during surgery, but typically patients are able to return to their normal daily activities within two weeks.  

After surgery, your neck may feel tight with mild bruising, swelling, or numbness, but this should subside over the next 10 days. The incisions for a neck lift tend to heal very well with minimal scarring due to the ideal amount of blood supply to the face and neck region and little tension put on the skin closure.

Your doctor will prescribe you some pain medication to help manage any pain or soreness. However, most patients are able to switch to over-the-counter pain relievers after a few days. 

What Should I Expect After Neck Lift Surgery?

It’s very important to follow detailed instructions on postoperative care. 

You will be sent home with bandages and tape around your face and neck to help reduce swelling. It’s important to keep the area clean and apply antibiotic ointment each day. 

Avoid twisting and turning the neck as much as possible after a neck lift. You may need to switch up your sleeping position as it’s recommended to keep your head elevated above the heart for the first one to two weeks.

Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or consume alcohol immediately after surgery. Additionally, you should avoid bending over or lifting any heavy objects for the first couple of weeks. 

How Soon Will I See Results After a Neck Lift?

Generally, you can expect for some results to be noticeable immediately after your dressing comes off. However, it can take up to four weeks for you to see the final outcome of your neck lift procedure.

Although minimal, scars can take several months or up to a year to “mature.” During that time, it’s even more important to minimize direct sun exposure to the face and neck. 

The end result will be a natural, toned, more youthful neck area. These results will last forever, but you should maintain good skincare to avoid future “photo-aging” from sun damage. 

Are There Risks or Side Effects From a Neck Lift?

As with any type of plastic surgery, it’s important to fully understand the risks involved before undergoing a neck lift. 

Some of the negative side effects of the procedure could include: 

  • Hematoma (bleeding under the skin)
  • Reactions to anesthesia
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Surgery revision from unsatisfactory results

Dr. Applebaum will address all questions and concerns before scheduling surgery.

Is a Neck Lift Worth It?

Deciding if a neck lift is right for you is a deeply personal decision. If the skin around your neck has become bothersome, having neck lift surgery is an excellent way to reduce fat, tighten skin, and restore a more toned appearance.

You must consider the benefits versus the potential risks to decide if surgery is right for you.

The Takeaway

Having a neck lift can boost your confidence and transform your look forever. 

Schedule a virtual or in-person consultation with a top plastic surgeon like Dr. Applebaum to learn more about what a neck lift can do for you. 


Liposuction | Mayo Clinic

Platysmaplasty Facelift – StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf

Neck Lift Procedure: Plastic Surgery | Cleveland Clinic

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