American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

The basics of a neck lift

neck lift basics

Having a graceful, well-defined neckline is a small thing that can make a dramatic difference in your appearance. Yet factors like age, weight loss and genetics can all contribute to problems like loose neck skin, sagging jowls or a double chin.

Unfortunately, the neck is not an area that responds well to diet, exercise or most over-the-counter skin care treatments. It may be easy to resign yourself to a less-than-ideal neckline, but the good news is you don't have to. Neck lifts are employed by plastic surgeons to help patients achieve the look they want.

In fact, in 2019, plastic surgeons performed more than 54,000 neck lifts across the United States. This surgery can even be combined with other facial contouring procedures to help you achieve the youthful, graceful profile you seek.

What can a neck lift do for your appearance?

A neck lift can drastically alter your profile and jawline, and it can make you look years younger.

Neck lifts are intended to restore the slim, youthful contours of your neck by treating issues like the following:

  • Double chin
  • "Turkey neck" or loose, sagging neck skin
  • Excess fat or drooping skin of the lower face
  • Excessive wrinkling of the neck skin

Are you a good candidate for a neck lift?

Ideal candidates for a neck lift meet the following criteria:

  • In generally good health
  • Nonsmokers
  • Have no medical conditions that slow or impair healing
  • Have realistic expectations for the final outcome

As with all cosmetic surgeries, it is important for patients to have a full understanding of what the procedure can and cannot do. When patients have a positive outlook and realistic expectations, they are much more satisfied with their surgical outcomes.

What can you expect during a neck lift procedure?

Because this is a surgery, your doctor will administer anesthesia before the procedure begins. The exact method of sedation will be discussed and finalized according to your needs.

During a neck lift, an incision is made that typically follows the contour from the top of your ear all the way to your lower hairline on both sides. From there, the surgeon may perform any of the following improvements based on the level of lift you wish to achieve:

  • Excess fat may be sculpted, removed or redistributed to create more pleasing contours
  • Tissues beneath the skin may be repositioned and tightened
  • Skin will be redraped and positioned over the newly made contours. Any excess skin will be trimmed away
  • If correcting a double chin, another small incision will be made in order to liposuction and tighten the area

What will your neck lift recovery be like?

Your doctor will give you specific instructions to follow before you're sent home, and it's critical to follow them closely. This ensures that you get the best possible results and recover as quickly as possible.

You will likely have a drain placed near the incision site to keep fluid from building up and causing uncomfortable swelling. It's important to keep your head elevated and to move your neck as little as possible so that the stitches remain intact.

Residual bruising and swelling may last for several weeks or more, but as you heal, you will see the improved contours of your neck and jawline.

Choosing a plastic surgeon

You should always choose a board-certified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic procedures that you undergo. When you choose a board-certified professional who operates out of an accredited medical facility, you can feel confident he or she has undergone the appropriate rigorous training and meets stringent criteria.

Reveal your best self with plastic surgery

Making the choice to undergo plastic surgery is a big step, but the amazing results you can achieve may be exactly what you need to regain your confidence and start living the life you've always dreamed of.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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