Neck Lift Surgery

Are facelifts and neck lifts the same thing?

Facelifts and neck lifts are both common cosmetic procedures and sometimes performed at the same time, but they are not the same thing. A rhytidectomy, the technical term for a facelift, is designed to smooth wrinkles and remove sagging and excess skin from the face.  Neck lift surgery smooths and tightens the skin on the neck by combining cervicoplasty, a procedure that removes excess skin, and platysmaplasty, a second procedure, whose purpose is to alter or remove muscles in the neck.  

While facelifts have gotten more attention, neck lift surgery is becoming more popular all the time due to the marked difference it can make in replacing the effects of aging with a more toned and youthful appearance. More specifically, neck lift surgery can address and improve:

  • Heavy jowls from fat accumulation and the saggy skin in the lower area of the face
  • Fatty deposits that have built up under the chin
  • Loose skin hanging under the neck
  • Platysma banding (muscle banding) in the neck, commonly referred to as “turkey neck”

Neck lift surgery starts with a consultation with your surgeon and should include a thorough assessment of your health, medical history, skin condition, scarring tendencies and other issues your surgeon deems to be important. There should also be a frank discussion of your goals and expectations, as well as an understanding of what is reasonable to expect in terms of process, recovery, and results. Your doctor should remind you that, while neck lift surgery may significantly improve how you look, it will not stop the aging process or change your basic appearance. The more realistic your expectations, the greater your odds of a satisfactory outcome. 

Elements of a Neck Lift Procedure

Every person is different and so there may be several pieces to a neck lift procedure. Some of the most common include:  

  • Excess skin removal
  • Removing some of the neck muscles or altering them
  • Liposuction, which targets the removal of fat deposits
  • Botox, which is injected to counteract or smooth out the prominence of muscle banding
  • Injections under the chin, known as Kybella injections, used to remove excess fat
  • Skin sculpting is done by using lasers, ultrasound, radiofrequency devices, intense pulsed light and types of fillers.

Neck lifts typically last between two and three hours and are done as outpatient procedures. Anesthesia may be general or local combined with some type of sedation. Recovery will likely include some swelling and bruising, which should be gone in approximately ten days, and the individual should be able to resume most normal activities after two weeks. Incision lines on the neck may take up to six months to totally fade and the patient should consistently protect the neck from the sun and any sort of abrasive material. 

If liposuction was performed as part of the procedure, there is likely to be more swelling. A compression wrap will need to be worn for a few weeks or perhaps a month, which will help to control the swelling. Your surgeon will provide you with post-surgery instructions, and it will be very important for you to follow them as closely as possible. 

Dr. Brian D. Cohen is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive training in cosmetic/reconstructive plastic surgery and has had years of experience performing a wide array of cosmetic surgery procedures, specializing in procedures of the face, eyes, nose, breast and body and is known for his exemplary and compassionate care by his patients. Knowing that Dr. Cohen has been selected by his peers in Super Doctors for 6 years in a row in 2018 gives you the confidence that he is highly respected for his performance in his specialty.