What is a neck lift?

A neck lift, or lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that tightens loose neck muscles and removes excess, sagging skin to create a smoother, firmer look. Many people choose to have a neck lift in conjunction with a facelift for comprehensive facial rejuvenation, but a neck lift can also be performed on its own.

How a neck lift works

A neck lift can be performed under general anesthesia, or under intravenous sedation with local anesthesia; your surgeon will talk with you about what’s best for you.

The kind of incisions your surgeon makes will be determined by the results you want to achieve. For a full neck lift, your surgeon will likely make an incision that begins in the hairline near each ear, continues around the ear and ends in the hairline behind the ear. Through this incision, your surgeon removes any excess fat, repositions the remaining fat and tissue, and tightens the muscles in the neck and jawline. If you’re having a limited-incision neck lift, you may only require short incisions around the ear.

If you need fat removed from under your chin, or tightening of the muscles in that area, that takes place through a separate incision under the chin. The procedure finishes with the removal of any excess skin and re-draping of the remaining skin over the new contours. The incisions will be closed with stitches or surgical glue, and a pressure dressing will be applied around the head and under the chin.

How long does it take to recover from a neck lift?

Bruising and swelling after a neck lift usually lasts about 10 days to two weeks, and compression after this surgery is required for at least 10 days. Most people can return to work within two weeks — but as with every surgery, recovery is highly individual. During your consultation, your doctor will talk with you about what to expect.

Physicians Offering Neck Lift

Keith Hood, MD

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

George Kokosis, MD

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

David Kurlander, MD

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Peter C. Revenaugh, MD

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Loren Schechter, MD

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Deana Shenaq, MD

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Ryan M. Smith, MD

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Frequently Asked Questions About Neck Lift

Q. Do I have to keep my head immobile during recovery from a neck lift?

A. Your surgeon will give you detailed instructions to follow after your surgery. For a period of time, you will need to avoid twisting or bending your neck and to keep your head as straight as possible.

Q. Are the results of a neck lift permanent?

A. No procedure can completely stop the aging process, but your neck lift will likely last for many years before you begin to see loose skin in the neck area again. Keeping your weight stable will help your results last longer.

Q. I have vertical bands that run from the bottom of my chin all the way down my neck. Can a neck lift help with these?

A. Those bands are called platysmal bands — and, yes, a neck lift can help. Your surgeon can use an incision under the chin to bring together the two sides of the separated platysmal muscle and secure them with internal sutures.