Neck Lift Surgery
Written by Andrew Proulx, MD
What is a neck lift?
Many people find that their neck shows signs of aging well before the rest of their face. Heredity and weight loss can also impact the appearance of the neck. Common concerns include horizontal bands or lines, loose-hanging skin, and excess fat deposits which give the neck an undesired appearance. Fortunately, a neck lift can minimize these effects by lifting and tightening the soft tissues of the neck giving patients a firmer and more youthful-looking neck.
What does a neck lift do?
The targeted results of a neck lift include:
- A smooth, contoured neckline
- Improved skin firmness
- Elimination of saggy skin on neck
- Enhanced overall appearance
- A more youthful look
- A more defined jawline
- Improved balance of facial features.
Are you a candidate?
If you are not ready for a full facelift but want to rejuvenate your neckline and skin quality, a neck lift is a viable treatment option.
People who are healthy nonsmokers with no medical conditions that impair healing are good candidates for neck lifts.
It is important to discuss options and expectations with your plastic surgeon to keep a positive outlook and achieve desired results.
Types of neck lifts
A neck lift is a surgical procedure with the goal of creating a more youthful appearance of the neck. Plastic surgeons may use a variety of different procedures based on the individual’s goals, anatomy, and skin condition.
When considering a neck lift, you should consult with your plastic surgeon regarding the appropriate procedure for you. Two procedures dominate in popularity, based on skin integrity and facial shape.
- Lower rhytidectomy: the gold standard in neck lifts, this technique involves liposuction, submentoplasty, skin removal, and pulling skin tighter.
- Submentoplasty: this less invasive technique involves an incision, liposuction, surgery on the platysma muscle, and no skin removal.
Some plastic surgeons will only perform lower rhytidectomy, as they feel several anatomical problems are ignored when there is no skin removal.
The pesky platysma
The platysma is the muscle that stretches like a broad sheet from the collarbone to the jaw. It functions in creating facial expressions. During the youthful years, it appears relatively smooth and flat; its name in Greek actually means flat plate.
As the neck ages, the platysma begins to take on the appearance of bands, or cordlike vertical tendons which causes the neck to look aged. These vertical bands can intersect the horizontal neck creases, which further punctuate the sagging look.
In neck lift procedures, the plastic surgeon tightens the platysma. However, the bands can return over time (typically 10-15 years).
When will you see final results?
You can expect to see immediate results as soon as the surgical dressing comes off, however it may take several weeks or months of healing time before you will see your final results. On average, final results should be apparent in 3 to 6 months.
How long will your results last?
Cost of neck lift surgery
The average cost of neck lift surgery is between $5,000 and $15,000. Some of the factors that influence the cost of your procedure may include:
- The surgeon’s fee
- Anesthesia fee
- Surgical facility fee
- The type of neck lift procedure
- Whether additional procedures are done
- Post-surgical care
- Prescription medications
There are potential risks and side effects associated with neck lift surgery. Some of these include:
- Seromas (collections of fluid under the surface of the skin)
- Prolonged swelling
- Skin irregularities and discoloration
- Numbness, facial nerve damage
- Poor wound healing.
Speak with your surgeon about all the potential risks before moving forward with surgery.
Non-surgical neck lift alternatives
There are many other treatment options that exist to treat aging, saggy skin around the neck but may have limited effect depending on the degree of skin sagging and excess fat deposits. Some non-surgical neck lift options include:
- CoolSculpting (CoolMini): coolsculpting is a device designed that freezes and eliminates fat cells through a process referred to as cryolipolysis.
- Injectable Neuromodulators: injections are used to help tighten the look of the neck (Botox, Dysport, etc)
- Injectable Dermal Fillers: fillers add mass that helps plump up and fill in wrinkles. When injected along the jawline, fillers can also help lift the skin and make it appear tighter. Examples of fillers used for the neck include Juvederm Volbella and Restylane Silk and Refyne.
- Ultherapy: ultherapy is a type of ultrasound technology that lifts and tightens skin.
- Laser Treatments: laser procedures stimulate collagen production. As a result, skin gradually appears smoother and more vibrant in the treatment area.
- ThermiTight: a minimally invasive method that tightens loose skin and deeper tissues. It is commonly used in the neck and lower face to lift the jowls. ThermiTight is sometimes combined with liposuction for fat removal.
- Kybella: Kybella is an FDA-approved injectable that eliminates fat cells under the chin to improve your profile.
If you have already tried a neck lift and have recurring platysmal banding, another option for treatment is botulinum toxin injections (Botox).
- Gerecci D, Perkins SW. The Graduated Approach to Surgical Neck Contouring. Facial Plast Surg. 2019;35(5):516-524. doi:10.1055/s-0039-1696655.
- Matarasso A. Managing the components of the aging neck: from liposuction to submentalplasty, to neck lift. Clin Plast Surg. 2014;41(1):85-98. doi:10.1016/j.cps.2013.09.013.
- Farrior E, Eisler L, Wright HV. Techniques for rejuvenation of the neck platysma. Facial Plast Surg Clin North Am. 2014;22(2):243-252. doi:10.1016/j.fsc.2014.01.012.
- Marten T, Elyassnia D. Neck Lift: Defining Anatomic Problems and Choosing Appropriate Treatment Strategies. Clin Plast Surg. 2018;45(4):455-484. doi:10.1016/j.cps.2018.06.002.
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). (2019). Plastic surgery statistics report. Retrieved from https://www.plasticsurgery.org/documents/News/Statistics/2019/plastic-surgery-statistics-full-report-2019.pdf