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Neck Lift Surgery – Is It Right for You?

If you have begun to notice the skin beneath your chin getting loose, floppy or sagging, or you feel you’re developing a double chin or a “turkey neck”, it could be a good time to check out neck lift surgery. What is Neck Lift Surgery? Genetics, aging, the effects of the environment, and large fluctuations […]

If you have begun to notice the skin beneath your chin getting loose, floppy or sagging, or you feel you’re developing a double chin or a “turkey neck”, it could be a good time to check out neck lift surgery.

What is Neck Lift Surgery?

Genetics, aging, the effects of the environment, and large fluctuations in weight all contribute to a sagging and heavy look to the area below the chin and at the front of the neck. Muscles can lose their tightness, skin its elasticity. Additionally, pockets of fat can collect over time. All these factors contribute to a tired, more run-down, aged appearance.

During neck lift surgery, the plastic surgeon will tighten the affected muscles, remove excess fat, and tighten the slack skin. The overall contours of the chin and neck become more youthful and beautiful.

Are You a Good Candidate for Neck Lift Surgery?

Neck lift surgery is a great procedure for a healthy, non-smoker, between the ages of 30 and 70, who wants to improve the contours of his or her neck.

A good candidate for a neck lift will:

  • Be healthy and have no conditions that would increase the risk of surgery
  • Have excess skin under the chin and neck area
  • Have skin in the area that has lost its elasticity
  • Typically be over the age of 30
  • Have excess fat in the chin and neck areas
  • Have a “turkey neck” look

Preparing for Your Neck Lift Surgery

The first step in preparing for your neck lift surgery will be our consultation. During this discussion, we’ll go over what a neck lift can and cannot do for you. We’ll talk about your expectations for the surgery. You’ll be able to see pictures of what we’ve done for others. We’ll tell you about the procedure itself and what you can do to prepare for the surgery. We’ll go over the risks and the benefits to you of having neck lift surgery. You’ll probably have some questions and we’ll go over these fully, so you’re comfortable with all aspects of the procedure.

We’ll also want to know about any medications you’re currently taking and any vitamins, herbs, or other supplements you take. We’ll talk about any physical conditions you may have and the status of your general health.

How is Neck Lift Surgery Performed?

Neck lift surgery can be performed in a variety of ways. However, the following two methods are the ones normally chosen, based on the nature and extent of the work that needs to be done. The two can be done independently or in combination.


The platysma is a thin sheet of muscle between the collar bone and the jaw. The suffix plasty means to remodel or reshape. Platysmaplasty is the procedure used when the neck muscle (platysma) needs to be tightened. During this surgery, an incision is made under the chin, so the plastic surgeon has better access to that muscle. The surgeon will realign the muscle, partially remove it, or suture it together. Sometimes all three are needed.

Cervicoplasty (neck lift)

The term cervicoplasty means the remodeling or reshaping of the neck in general. A cervicoplasty corrects limp and drooping skin. It involves the reduction of drooping skin and a repositioning of the tissue.

To begin with, the surgeon makes an incision behind each ear. The excess skin is trimmed and removed. The skin is then repositioned over the neck. The neckline is therefore tightened, because a smaller amount of skin is stretched over the same area as before. This means that the skin is pulled upwards and backwards, thus enabling the jaw line and neckline to be better defined.

The skin is then sutured with stitches. A bandage will be wrapped around the head to protect the area. A compression garment may be used to reduce swelling and promote rapid healing.

Full neck lift surgery will frequently combine these two main procedures, the cervicoplasty and the platysmaplasty. The platysmaplasty procedure is used if the neck muscles are loose and droopy, creating what is known as bands or banding.

Recovery from Neck Lift Surgery

These general guidelines will give you an idea of what you can expect recovery from neck lift surgery to be like. Naturally, this recovery process is not exactly the same for everyone.

Full recovery takes anywhere from two to four weeks in most people and many patients return to work in less than two weeks. Scars are usually barely noticeable after enough time has passed, and the hair or the natural creases in the skin can easily hide those scars that have not faded entirely.

Most patients experience little pain following their neck lift surgery, however some pain medication is prescribed, just in case the individual needs it. We want the period of your recovery to be as comfortable as possible.

Swelling and bruising are a natural part of the healing process, but can be minimized by applying cold compresses to the area to aid quick recovery.

We will instruct you to keep your head elevated when lying down and to avoid activity as much as possible during the first days following your neck lift surgery.

In some cases, a drainage tube will have been inserted during surgery, but this will be removed within the first couple of days following your procedure.

All stitches will normally be removed within 5 to 10 days following surgery.

It’s best to have a friend or family member help you during the first few days following surgery, so you can get as much rest as possible. This can make life a little easier and hasten your recovery.

We will give you clear instructions of what to do to help your recovery, but let us know if you have any worries or unexpected discomfort during your recovery.

Keep all follow-up appointments. We’ll want to make sure you’re healing well and answer any questions or concerns.

What Results Can I Expect from the Procedure?

Once you have fully recovered from your neck lift surgery, you can expect to see some amazing results. You’ll look in the mirror and see a smoother and more toned aspect to the skin under your chin and in the neck area. No more sagging skin or pockets of fat to detract from the beauty of your face. Most patients are overjoyed when they see the new elegant contours of their neck and the look of youthfulness, health, and vitality the neck lift surgery has given to their overall appearance.

If you have any concerns about the look of your neck and would like to talk over what we can do to improve its appearance, give us a call. We would love to chat with you and show you what we can do for you.

This information is for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as medical advice. Any change in your medical care should be first discussed with your physician.