A neck lift, or lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the jawline and neck.
A neck lift removes fat and tightens the skin along the jaw and neck in order to restore a smoother and more youthful neck appearance, and a more defined neck profile and contour.
A neck lift surgery can treat:
Excess fatty deposits underneath the chin and jowls.
Excess skin and fat in the lower face that creates the appearance of jowls.
Loose and sagging neck skin.
Muscle banding of the scraggy neck.
Why have a Neck lift?
As we age, we naturally begin to lose the youthful contours of our face and neck. This process can be accelerated by factors such as genetics, gravity, stress and even environmental conditions that may affect the skin on the face and neck.
Stretched or sagging neck skin is unlikely to shrink back naturally and typically cannot be tightened with diet and exercise. This is a common misconception, and surgical intervention may be the only way to deliver your desired results.
You might consider a Neck lift if you want:
A more defined, contoured neck profile
A firmer, more toned neck
To remove sagging neck skin or ‘turkey neck’
To reduce jowls or double chin
Target stubborn areas of unwanted neck fat
To restore balance between the age of your face and neck
To improve the overall appearance of the face and neck
The overall effect is to deliver a more sculpted, aesthetically pleasing and youthful neck, firmer to the touch and with tightened, smooth overlying skin.
How does the Neck procedure lift work?
The Neck lift procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and takes between one and two hours. The standard neck lift is a modification of the facelift, where the skin and underlying platysma muscle are pulled upwards and backwards, towards the ear, where surplus skin is removed. Contouring and undermining are often carried out by liposuction, but we very often combine this procedure with fat grafting to rejuvenate the chin and jawline.
This procedure is effective as a standalone alone treatment but, where necessary, is combined with a face lift to give dramatic results. Your surgeon will discuss this with you in your initial consultation and recommend what is best for your individual case.
There are two neck lift techniques to be aware of:
Cervicoplasty - this technique focuses on removing excess skin only and is a less comprehensive surgery. Your surgeon will lift and remove the excess skin around the neck, and then reposition the skin over the neck and suture it in place, giving the neck a smoother appearance
Platysmaplasty – this is a more extensive technique that tightens and sculpts the underlying muscle of the neck, called the platysma. Once the surgeon has tightened the muscle, they will pull the skin taut and close the incisions behind the ear. By adjusting the underlying muscle, this technique achieves more dramatic results as it can reduce the banded appearance or folds of the neck.
A combination of both techniques above may be employed to achieve optimal results. It is also possible to remove excess fat through incisions made under the chin, via liposuction or surgical excision, during each procedure.
What are the benefits of a Neck lift?
The benefits of a Neck lift are both cosmetic and psychological, and include:
Improved appearance of the skin of your neck
Smoother, more youthful looking neck
Tightened loose skin around the neck
More defined neck profile and jawline
Reduced lines and wrinkles in your neck
Improved sense of emotional wellbeing
Who is suitable for Neck lift?
Neck lift surgery is a highly personal procedure and should only be undertaken if you feel strongly that you would benefit from either the skin / fat reduction and contouring properties of a Neck lift
You may be a suitable candidate for Neck lift surgery if:
You are in good psychological and physical medical health
You are at your ideal body weight
You have a positive outlook and realistic expectations of what can be achieved via surgery
You are seeking to remove excess skin in your neck area
You are seeking to remove excess fat deposits in your neck area
You are seeking to improve the shape and contours of your neck and jawline
The first step for all of our Neck lift patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation. At the consultation you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible given your existing anatomy.
Your surgeon will take you through the options available to you, and which is the most preferential for you given your stated ambitions. Having established this, several key measurements will be made and standard clinical photography will be taken.
Some questions you may want to ask your surgeon include:
Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
Can I achieve the results I am asking for?
What will be expected of me to get the best results?
Do you have before-and-after photos?
How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
What scars will I be left with?
Will I be in pain after the surgery?
How soon after my Neck lift can I return to work?
Finally a comprehensive discussion regarding risks and complications will take place, alongside a discussion regarding what to expect in the post procedure and recovery phase. Your previous medical history will also be recorded (including previous surgery, medications, allergies etc.) and an assessment of your fitness for surgery.
If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two week 'cooling off' period.
Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.
If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure. Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended / required:
In the 6 weeks before your procedure we recommend smoking is discontinued as patients who smoke have a higher risk of healing more slowly and complications (see FAQs)
In the week before your procedure you must cease taking Aspirin or any medication that contains Aspirin
In the 6 hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid (e.g. still water, black coffee, black tea) which are allowed up to 2 hours before admission
On the day of your procedure we ask that you arrive for your admission an hour before the agreed start time of surgery. At this point a nurse will come and record blood pressure and other relevant vitals, you will meet with your anaesthetist and your surgeon who will make the final mark-ups.
Before surgery, the surgeon will measure up your neck to assess how much fat and/or skin needs to be removed. The neck is then photographed, with the skin markings, in various positions, front and back. The procedure is carried out under our form of general anaesthesia called T.I.V.A. (Total Intravenous Anaesthesia) and takes two hours.
Your surgeon will begin by making an incision in the hairline at the level of the sideburn, and will continue the incision around the back of the ear. The tissue underlying the neck skin is repositioned, and the platysma muscle is tightened. Skin is redraped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is trimmed away. A separate incision under the chin is often necessary for liposuction of this area and for repair of the muscle. Sutures or skin adhesives close the incisions behind the ear.
The neck is then bandaged after surgery to reduce bruising and you will feel stiff and mildly uncomfortable as you bend or move your neck in the coming days. Most of the sutures used are dissolving to avoid stitch marks, but there may be a few to remove a week or so after surgery.
You should not feel much pain during the procedure, but you may have some for a few days or weeks afterwards. You'll be given painkillers if you need them.
Following the procedure, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms for between two to three hours, dependent on the scale of the procedure. Once our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete and you are safe to return home, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic accompanied by a friend or member of your family.
Once home you will have access to our dedicated on-call nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and pain control, and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post operative phase.
We ask that you come in and see our nursing team 1 week after surgery to ensure your incision sites have been properly reviewed. At this juncture we also recommend you meet with one of our on site aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing and scarring process. We ask that you come in to see your surgeon after 6 - 8 weeks for a final check up.
A neck lift can result in a more defined, slender neck and jawline, but the procedure may not be for everyone. It's important when undergoing any type of surgical procedure that you're in good health.
If you're age 40 and above, then you may want to consider a neck lift if you're unhappy with any of the following conditions;
+ Loose or drooping skin + Excess skin + Skin damaged by sun and the elements + Excess fat on the neck obscuring the usual sharp angle between the chin and the neck + Double chin + Jowls or hanging skin at the neckline and jawline + Neck banding
If you are under 40 years of age, it might be better to consider a non surgical alternative such as botox, fillers or Ultherapy.
The best candidates for a neck lift will have:
+ Good skin elasticity – ideally the stretched skin remains elastic and will conform to its new position + Good physical health – generally being healthy is important before any surgery. Serious medical conditions, a high BMI and smoking can all increase the risk of complications. You should have stopped smoking at least 6 weeks before surgery.
A' Turkey Neck' or 'wattle' refers to the loose skin hanging down in the midline from the chin to the neck. It is a consequence of ageing, where the skin loses its elasticity and takes the shortest route from the chin to the neck. It is typically worse, when there has been significant weight loss.
Neck Lift surgery is the obvious and most effective and predictable procedure to treat this.
Your consultation is designed to be perfect opportunity to ask all the pressing questions that you have to your consultant, ahead of making a decision on surgery. It is vital that you are fully informed before making your final decision, and the consultation is therefore a key part of the education and decision making process.
Some good examples of questions to ask, include:
+ Am I a good candidate for this procedure? + Do you think my goals are realistic given my existing anatomy? + Will I require a single surgery or multiple surgeries? + Can I see some before & after pictures of Neck lift procedures you have done previously? + How long will my recovery take? + Is it true that Cadogan offers 24/7 on call nursing service? + What can I expect in terms of bruising, swelling and scarring? + What are my options if I am unhappy with my results?
No special preparation is required although it is generally advisable to do the following before any surgery
+ Stop smoking. Smoking decreases blood flow in the skin and can slow the healing process. If you smoke, your doctor will recommend that you stop smoking before surgery and during recovery. + Avoid certain medications. You'll likely need to avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding. + Arrange for help during recovery. Make plans for someone to drive you home after you leave the hospital and stay with you for at least the first night of your recovery at home.
Your results will be long lasting and you should see the difference for between 10 – 15 years.
That said, the ageing process will continue from your new post-procedure point, and skin laxity will gradually increase over time. The ageing process will start from a far better point however, so it should be many years before this becomes noticeable again.
You can protect encroachment on your results by avoiding excessive amounts of sun exposure and maintaining a stable weight.
You will not feel any pain during the procedure as you will be under the influence of anaesthetic.
Immediately following surgery, you may experience discomfort but any pain should be tolerable. Your surgeon can provide painkillers for this and the majority of patients no longer need them a few days after neck lift surgery.
Neck lift surgery is straightforward, safe surgery although you should be aware of all the risks and complications before going ahead with surgery. Some are listed on this page, but your surgeon at your will go through these at length and in full at your consultation
Neck tightening surgery is not an especially painful procedure, though you may experience slight discomfort, due to the tightness of the skin.
There are some common side effects involved with a neck lift surgery, none of which are very extreme. With modern techniques pain and swelling is slight. You may or may not take the simple painkiller provided by your surgeon. You may also experience some bruising, which will naturally fade over the next two weeks. Any scars that you have following the procedure are well hidden and will also fade over time. We offer an excellent scar aftercare treatment programme to ensure that your scars remain as minimal as possible.
The skin itself may feel numb after surgery, but sensation will return over the next few weeks. Men may find shaving odd during this period. Be gentle with your neck area when washing, shaving etc.
Recovery time for this procedure will depend on the individual patient.
We usually advise that you take around two weeks off work following surgery as there will be bruising and swelling which may take around 10 days to subside. We also recommend you do not resume exercise for 4 – 6 weeks.
In the following few weeks, as you heal, smoother skin will appear on the neck and your scars will start to heal.
Our expertise in scarring techniques along with our highly-experienced surgeons ensure a great result, especially as these are usually not visible and hidden behind the ears.
You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort and swelling during this time, but such feelings are normal. Severe pain, bleeding or swelling should be reported to your surgeon.
You will receive more detailed advice from your surgeon ahead of surgery
You will need to wear a tight fitting compression head bandage for a few nights, but this can be taken off soon after. If there has been liposuction under the chin to create a sharper jawline definition, a chin strap is recommended by some surgeons at night only for a further week.
A Neck lift isn't for everyone. Your doctor might caution against a Neck lift if you:
+ Have a severe chronic condition, such as heart disease or diabetes + Plan to lose a significant amount of weight + Have a body mass index that's greater than 32 + Are a smoker + Have an unstable mental health condition
For the first four weeks after your surgery, you will need to avoid all sport and strenuous exercise. During this time, we recommend going on gentle walks to keep active, which in turn will help with your recovery.
After week four, you will be able to start doing some exercise again. However, you should still avoid strenuous activity and contact sports. After six to eight weeks you should be able to resume all sports and exercise. This includes contact sports and weightlifting.
You should ask your surgeon for specific timeframes of when you will be able to return to sport and exercise.
A neck lift cannot change your fundamental anatomy (e.g. the position of the Adam's apple) and cannot stop the ageing process in its tracks.
A neck lift should therefore be considered an effective restorative surgical treatment for the neck area.
As a neck lift only adjusts the skin and muscles of the neck, it will also only address the excess or sagging skin around the neck. It will not resolve the visible signs of ageing that may appear in other areas of the face, such as sagging skin and wrinkles of the forehead or cheeks.
You may need to consider the following surgical procedures if you want to target these other areas of your face:
+ Facelift– this will smooth and tighten the skin of the lower half of your face + Brow lift – this can reduce forehead wrinkles by lifting the brows + Blepharoplasty– this can correct sagging of the eyelids and eye bags
It is possible to perform a neck lift under local anaesthesia.
That said, it requires large amounts of local anaesthetic to ensure you do not feel anything during the procedure, and you will be awake during the procedure. This means you will feel pulling and tagging, and this can be disconcerting for some patients. You will also need to stay completely still for anything up to 3 hours on the theatre table.
It is also possible to have the treatment under Sedation, whereby painkillers and sedatives are administered via an IV drip. Anaesthetic options will be discussed at your consultation.
Even though the visibility of bruising, stitches and dressings is carefully minimised, some people will be more sensitive about these side effects than others.
You may choose to take some extra downtime in order to heal and allow the swelling to reduce before returning to work or regular social activities if you don't want other people to see the stiches and bruises. The main bandage is removed within 48 hours. Bandages are reasonably well hidden around the ears or under the chin. You can leave them open or cover with tape.
Bruising from liposuction is surprisingly slight in this area, and normal activities can be resumed within a day or two. Men do occasionally have a little more, bruising because of the increased blood supply to the beard. Following your surgeon's instructions on how to care for the bruising and swelling will be the best way to ensure a speedy recovery with less downtime.
If you have had a general anaesthetic, then you will need to have a sensible person with you overnight to help take care of you, as you may continue to feel groggy and sleepy, or disoriented.
A little help with some physical activities around the home would be useful for a few days in order for you to rest, relax and recover. Try not to have your head down and maybe sleep with an extra pillow.
Ultherapy rejuvenates sun damaged skin and tightens it. It can, therefore, be very useful for the early treatment of these problems, when they first arise, pushing back the time that a proper surgery will be needed. With luck, you may avoid surgery altogether.
Ultherapy uses micro-focused ultrasound to lift up and tighten loose skin over a period of several sessions, with minimal downtime for yourself. This non-invasive procedure uses ultrasound to stimulate the growth and formation of new collagen deep inside the skins layers. New collagen takes time to produce, so the results are not seen immediately, but will become more apparent over 2-3 months' time. The procedure itself is short, taking between 30-90 minutes per session depending on which area you're having treated.
Another use for Ultherapy is as a secondary treatment after a face or neck lift to improve the skin quality of the final lift. If you are considering Ultherapy, consider whether a face or neck lift is more appropriate and vice versa.
We favour treatments that cause minimal disturbance to the patient, and consequently recommend Ultherapy as a viable alternative in cases where we think it can have a comparable impact to surgery.
If you are interested in hearing more about your options, speak to one of our plastic surgeons who can help talk you through the various pros and cons of each treatment.
To enquire about a consultation with a Neck Lift specialist, please complete the form below.