What Is a Neck Lift?

Neck lift can give your neck a youthful look

If you are dissatisfied with the appearance of your neck, particularly with excess skin, unwanted fat deposits, skin folds or a double chin, you might be a candidate for a neck lift. Known in medical terms as a Cervical Rhytidectomy, a neck lift consists of one or more surgical procedures that help restore your neck to a more youthful look.


Depending on your particular situation, a neck lift may involve a number of different procedures, including incisions under the neck and behind the ears; removal of excess fat through liposuction or excision; removal of excess skin; strategic repositioning of skin, fat or muscle tissues to restore a balanced look; and in some cases, supplementary BOTOX injections. Not all of these procedures will be required in every case; the doctor will go over each necessary step with you during your consultation.


The doctor will advise you on specifics as to how to prepare for your surgery. There are certain medications you will want to avoid in order to prevent thinning of the blood or excessive bleeding during and after the procedure. If you are a smoker, you must not smoke for a month before or after the surgery. A healthy diet will promote healing during recovery.


While a neck lift is typically an outpatient procedure, it is a significant surgery requiring either general anesthesia or sedation through an IV. Expect to spend about 1-3 hours in surgery, and expect some pain and swelling afterward. (Your doctor may prescribe medications to help.)


Recovery from a neck lift usually takes several weeks, but most people can return to work in 10-14 days. Initial swelling and pain may be treated with ice packs and medication. Your surgery will require stitches, which will need to be removed after a week to ten days. You will also need to wear a chin bra at all times for up to two weeks following surgery, and your doctor may ask you to continue wearing the chin bra as often as possible for another month until your muscles have regained their strength.

It is common after a neck lift to see bruising in the affected area, or to experience such sensations as tingling, tightness or numbness. These are not a cause for concern. However, as with any surgical procedure, there is a risk for infection. If you experience fever or prolonged discharge of pus from the incision sites, contact the doctor.