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Medically Reviewed April 2023, by Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396) - founder of the Cadogan Clinic and one of the world's leading plastic surgeons
A neck lift, also known as a lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure which removes excess fat and tightens the skin.
The skin on the neck is delicate and is prone to loss of tone and weight gain. The ageing process causes skin to lose elasticity, causing it to wrinkle and sag. The neck is often the very first part of the body to show these signs.
Neck lift surgery tackles loss of tone around the jaw, tightening the skin and removing any excess fat to redefine and sharpen the jawline, also resulting in a more slender and lifted neck.Get in touch
2 - 4 hours
Time off work
After 1 week
After 2 days
After 6 weeks
After 6 weeks
Sleeping on back
6 - 8 weeks
As we age, the face and neck areas naturally drop and sag as our skin loses elasticity. This can be exacerbated by genetics, weight change and lifestyle factors such as smoking.
Stretched neck skin is unlikely to shrink back naturally and typically cannot be tightened with diet and exercise - surgical intervention is often the best way to achieve the desired results.
Patients may find that a sagging neck and lower face gives them a closed appearance, which can make them look sad and unapproachable. Neck lift surgery will tackle this by tightening and toning the neck and jawline, resulting in a slimmer and lifted neckline with smooth skin. Added procedures such as liposuction will target concerns such as a double chin.
Many people find these signs of ageing significantly impact their confidence, making them feel self-conscious and uncomfortable in social and professional environments. Neck lift surgery can alleviate this psychological impact and make patients feel happier in their own skin.
At Cadogan Clinic, our consultant surgeons will assess whether you are suitable for neck lift surgery in a bespoke one to one consultation.
Your surgeon will examine your neck and assess the amount of excess skin and fat that can be removed and tightened. They will discuss your expectations of surgery and ensure you understand the results that are possible for you from a neck lift. They will also assess your general physical and mental health to make sure you are suitable for a general anaesthetic or sedation procedure, this may include your weight, and any medical and mental conditions you have.
You must be over 18 to have this procedure.
Words from our clients:
"I was extremely satisfied with the care and treatment I received at the Cadogan Clinic. My surgeon was friendly and informative and explained the procedure fully. My procedure went very well and with the excellent care of the nursing staff, I made a speedy and full recovery. Would recommend to anyone."Eva Berry
"At the beginning before the operation the nurse taking care of me made me feel so comfortable. The surgeon and anesthetist helped me feel so calm. Fantastic before and after treatment"Scarlett Elliott
"The girls on the reception at the clinic were very pleasant and professional. The nurse who took out my stitches after my surgery was just lovely and took me through step by step what she was doing and she also recommended a great cream to use to help with healing."Georgina Nolan
“I was treated with care and provided with thorough knowledge about the procedure I was undertaking. My surgeon was very methodical (a perfectionist) and I felt I received A class treatment."Courtney O'Sullivan
"Outstanding experience from the first appointment to being discharged. Very professional, friendly and a fantastic outcome."Gemma Stevenson
"Reception staff very welcoming and efficient. Both nurses who I dealt with were fantastic, and the whole team (anaesthetist, surgeon etc) were friendly but professional, and really put my mind at ease. That I was able to stay later than I perhaps needed after my surgery to fit in with my husbands schedule was greatly appreciated."Emma Davies
Included in this treatment
Up to two 60 minute consultations with a leading specialist plastic surgeon at our award-winning premises in Chelsea
Your procedure carried out at London’s leading specialist cosmetic surgery centre of excellence
24/7 on call nurse assistance
Dedicated Patient Co-ordinator, as a personal point of contact through your journey with Cadogan
A pre-operative medical assessment to ensure you are fit for surgery
Comprehensive post-operative aftercare courtesy of our specialist cosmetic nurses
There are two neck lift techniques to be aware of.
The neck lift is performed under general anaesthetic meaning you are fully asleep and unaware of your procedure, or under sedation, meaning you are awake, but are completely comfortable and have no recollection of the procedure afterwards. The standalone neck lift takes between one and two hours to complete.
There are two techniques your surgeon can choose to use when undertaking a neck lift. A combination of both techniques above may be used to achieve optimal results.
This procedure is effective as a standalone alone treatment but, where necessary, is combined with a facelift to give dramatic results. Your surgeon will discuss this with you in your initial consultation and recommend what is best for your individual case.
The two techniques your surgeon will use in your procedure are:
The Cervicoplasty focuses on removing excess skin only. The excess skin around the neck is removed before the remaining skin is repositioned over the neck and sutured back into its new position. This results in a smoother and more youthful appearance. This method can be combined with a facelift to further rejuvenate the whole facial area and liposuction or surgical excision if chin reduction is also required. A cervicoplasty can also be combined with the Platysmaplasty technique to achieve optimal results.
This is a more comprehensive neck lift technique involving manipulating deeper layers of tissue to tighten and sculpt the underlying muscle of the neck which is called the platysma. The surgeon will make an incision in the hairline at the side of your face, which continues around the back of the ear. Once the surgeon has tightened the muscle, the skin is pulled taut and the incisions behind the ear are closed. By adjusting the underlying muscle, not just the skin on top, this technique achieves more dramatic results as it can reduce the banded appearance, or folds, of the neck.
A mini neck lift, also known as a one stitch neck lift, is a popular surgery choice for younger patients who are less concerned about sagging skin but who still have the desire to achieve a smoother, more toned neck. A mini neck lift also helps to tackle the problem areas of the chin, jaw and jowls so can help to target concerns which are caused by issues such as weight loss, rather than ageing.
Surgeons employ the same techniques as a full neck lift, but this treatment can be targeted at a more specific area, with fewer incisions required resulting in less scarring and a faster recovery time.
This treatment is recommended for patients in their 40s or 50s who are showing the early signs of ageing. Your surgeon will assess whether your skin elasticity is appropriate for the mini neck lift to ensure the best possible result. If you are older or have a large amount of excess skin because of dramatic weight loss, you may wish to discuss alternative treatments with your consultant.
The results of a mini neck lift are not as long lasting as the full neck lift, so a patient may wish to consider further treatment or a full neck lift in the future to maintain a youthful appearance.
We have invited a selection of the country's very best consultants to join us at the Cadogan Clinic so that you can be sure that whatever the nature of your treatment, you will be seeing one of the top practitioners in the country.
Mr Jonathan Britto
Ms Monica Fawzy
Mr. David Gateley
Mr. Garrick Georgeu
Mr. Santdeep Paun
Mr. Hagen Schumacher
Mr. Tunc Tiryaki
Mr. Paul Tulley
Below you will find some key information to help you prepare for surgery and make necessary arrangements to ensure you have the support you need and that everything runs smoothly on the day.
You will meet your surgeon for up to two consultations at our award-winning Chelsea based clinic to discuss Neck Lift and the results you are looking for. Consultations are usually between 30-60 minutes and your surgeon will explain the best approach for you and the individual results you can expect.
To allow for open communication and the best consultation experience, we suggest writing down any questions you have for your surgeon before your consultation. This will ensure you feel fully prepared and are able to get the most from your consultation.
Your surgeon will also conduct a general health and wellness check, take your measurements, and take photos.
Your surgeon will send your surgery plan through to your patient advisor. If the surgeon has decided you are suitable for neck lift, your advisor will explain the plan, pricing and offer available surgery dates to you. You will then have a two-week cooling off period to allow you to consider whether you wish to proceed with your neck lift.
02.Leading up to procedure
If you decide to go ahead with your neck lift, you will next visit the clinic on your procedure day. In the run up to your surgery, you will be asked to prepare in the following way:
03.On the day
On your surgery day, you will be asked to arrive at the clinic an hour before your neck lift is scheduled to start. You will speak with your surgeon, anaesthetist, and the nurses to ask any final questions, and to be prepared for surgery with any marking the surgeon may need to do.
You will then be taken into theatre, where your anaesthetist will administer your general anaesthetic or sedation. All procedures at Cadogan Clinic are done using TIVA (Total Intravenous Anaesthesia) which minimises post-operative sickness and nausea and allows for a faster initial recovery.
Your surgeon will then carry out your neck lift. After the procedure is finished, you will be taken to our recovery ward, where you will wake up from the anaesthetic and a nurse will check your vital health signs. Once you are awake and comfortable, you will be taken into our ambulatory ward where you will have something to eat and drink and a nurse will talk you through any medication you need to take once you leave. When you are ready, the nurses will ask your chaperone to come and collect you and you will be discharged.
The first few days following surgery may be slightly uncomfortable and you may experience some pain. Your surgical team will have prescribed any medications you may need to help to control this and keep you comfortable. You will be up and moving within a day and able to bathe and shower normally in three days.
Your surgeon will ask you to avoid any strenuous activity for the first 4-6 weeks of your recovery to avoid putting pressure on your incision sites around your neck and/or jaw. It is normal to experience swelling and bruising in your neck and lower face, and this may take 2-3 weeks to subside.
One week after your neck lift you will meet with our nurses at the clinic so they can assess your incisions and make sure you are healing well. They will provide any advice you need on dressings and will be able to answer any questions you may have about your recovery.
Six weeks after your neck lift you will meet with your surgeon so they can check your recovery, discuss your results, and answer any questions about your ongoing recovery from that point. After six weeks your planned treatment journey with us will come to an end. However, if you have any questions or concerns, you will still be able to contact the team and speak with one of our specialist nurses.
The Patient Journey. A breakdown of what you can expect on your journey with us
We are deeply invested in ensuring that every step of your surgical journey with us is as informative and reassuring to you as it can be. This article outlines what you can expect at each stage of the journeyThe Patient Journey
What is a neck lift?
A Neck lift is a surgical contouring procedure designed to remove a surplus of loose neck skin and eliminate fat deposits in the neck region, and restore a more youthful, defined neck and jawline.
The choice of procedure depends on the exact condition (excess loose skin or excess skin and excess fat deposits) but will involve skin excision, or a combination of skin excision and liposuction.
The procedure is carried out as a day case procedure under General Anaesthesia and takes 2 hours.
There is typically bruising for a few weeks with end results at about 3 months. Scars are insignificant and managed by our Scar Management programme.
What is a mini neck lift?
A mini neck lift is a less invasive variation of a regular neck lift. to tighten the skin and muscles in the lower face and neck, creating a younger and more defined jawline and neck area. Similar to a regular neck lift, the operation is typically carried out under local anaesthetic, but it requires fewer incisions and it is a less intensive surgery.
The recovery time for a mini neck lift is often shorter than that of a traditional neck lift, and patients should anticipate returning to work and normal activities within 2-3 weeks.
Am I suitable for neck lift?
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;
A neck lift can also solve the problem of neck banding. This occurs when the two ridges of muscle which run vertically down the neck (known as the platysmal band) become more pronounced as we grow older. Neck banding is a common reason for undergoing a neck lift.
If you are under 40 years of age, it might be better to consider a non surgical alternative such as botox, fillers or Ultherapy.
You would also be a good candidate for a neck lift if you have recently lost a significant amount of weight. When you lose large amounts of weight, large amounts of saggy, excess skin are left behind. A neck lift will see this excess skin removed and the remaining skin pulled back to restore a defined and contoured neck profile.
The best candidates for a neck lift will have:
Are my neck lift results permanent?
Your results will be long lasting and you should see the difference for between 10 – 15 years.
That said, the aging process will continue from your new post-procedure point, and skin laxity will gradually increase over time. The aging 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.
The sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause huge damage to the skin. Too much exposure to the sun can accelerate the aging process, meaning more wrinkles and sagging skin. To maintain the results of your neck lift for longer, we strongly recommend you protect your neck area from the sun.
Dramatic weight fluctuations should also be avoided as substantial weight loss will leave excess neck skin behind. You should maintain a stable, healthy, weight as much as possible.
A non-surgical treatment such as Ultherapy will help to maintain the results. Your surgeon will advise whether you are a suitable candidate for this procedure.
Is neck lift painful?
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.
Pain after a neck lift varies from person to person, but most patients will experience some soreness and swelling for a few days to a week following the procedure. Your surgeon will also be able to give you specific advice and instructions to help you deal with pain and discomfort, and speed up your recovery.
Is neck lift safe?
All surgeries do carry some risks, which may include bleeding, infection, poor wound healing, nerve injury, and allergic reactions to anaesthesia. Neck lift surgery is a straightforward, safe surgery although you should be aware of all the risks and complications before going ahead with surgery. Your surgeon will go through these at length and in full at your consultation.
What neck lift surgery scars can I expect?
A skilled surgeon can minimise neck lift surgery scars and place them expertly in locations where they are not visible to the eye. Neck lift surgery scars take some months to settle in, but your surgeon will try and confine the scarring to the neck folds.
Neck lift surgery scar visibility can also be impacted by the level of scar aftercare you receive. By way of example, neck lift surgery scars can be reduced by regular moisturisation and massage techniques, all of which our dedicated team will advise our patients in the days following your procedure.
Is there any downtime after neck lift treatment?
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.
Will I need to wear a compression garment after 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.
Will I need to stay away from public spaces during recovery?
Swelling and bruising is minor in most cases and can be easily covered. It is also temporary and should last just a matter of days.
That said, your lower face and ears may appear swollen in the first few days following surgery and during this period recovering patients will typically avoid going out in public.
We also recommend scarves and high sweaters to conceal swelling, as well as styling long hair to cover up stitches.
This really is only necessary for a few days following procedure and within a week or ten days you should be back to your daily routine.
When should you not have a neck lift?
A Neck lift isn't for everyone. Your doctor might caution against a Neck lift if you:
When can I return to sports and exercise?
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.
When can I shower and wash my hair after surgery?
You should be able to take a shower 48 hours after your neck lift operation.
You will need to wash the wound carefully and ensure it heals well. This may involve application of an antibiotic ointment after your shower.
It is also important that you dry your incisions having washed and bathed them. If you need to use a hairdryer to dry your hair, it must be kept on a cool setting.
You should also take care when brushing your hair around your ears and suture sites.
What are the non surgical alternatives to neck lift surgery?
There are many alternative non surgical solutions for neck lift surgery, ranging from fillers and Botox to simple laser surgery under local anaesthesia and Ultherapy.
These are typically not as effective as surgical solutions, and have results that are not as long lasting.
For a full discussion on the various pros and cons, you should speak to one of our specialist plastic surgeons.
What can’t neck lift surgery achieve?
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:
Can I have a neck lift under local anaesthesia?
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.
What can I do about my bruising and swelling?
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.
Will I need assistance at home after my surgery?
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.
When will my stitches be removed?
Any liposuction incisions may or may not be sutured, but other stitches are generally removed a week or so after surgery.
What is ultherapy and is it a good alternative to a neck lift?
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.
How long is the recovery time for a neck lift?
Each patient's recovery time for a neck lift is different, but normally patients can anticipate returning to work and normal activities in two to three weeks. However, complete recovery can take several months.
Swelling and bruising are common during the healing process and can last for several weeks. For a few weeks after the procedure, refrain from engaging in any vigorous activities to give the incision site time to heal completely.
It's essential to carefully follow your surgeon's post-operative advice if you want to speed up your recovery. To speed up the process, you can use cold compresses to reduce swelling and elevate your head and shoulders when lying down. Smoking should also be avoided because it can hinder the healing process. We suggest you eat a nutritious diet and drink plenty of water because doing so can aid in promoting healing and reducing swelling.
Why do I still have a double chin after a neck lift?
A neck lift operation may not address extra skin or fat that contributes to a double chin, but it is intended to address sagging skin and muscle in the lower face and neck. This is because a neck lift addresses the underlying muscle and skin, whereas excess fat may need to be removed by a different operation like liposuction. Your surgeon will be able to give you advice on how to proceed in order to get the results you desire.
Will a neck lift help my jawline?
By removing extra skin and tightening the underlying muscles, a neck lift can help make the jawline look a lot better. This can result in a more defined and youthful-looking jawline. However, further procedures, such as liposuction or face fillers, may be required to get the desired results if the problem is predominantly brought on by too much fat or a lack of definition in the jawline.
Following a thorough examination and assessment, your surgeon will be able to provide you with advice on the best course of action to accomplish your desired outcome. It's important to have reasonable and realistic expectations and recognise that different procedures might be required to produce the desired results. A neck lift is not a one-size-fits-all surgery.
Founded in 2004 by world renowned plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou, we now work with over 100 leading consultants and successfully treat over 20,000 patients each year. We have been winning industry awards since inception.About Us
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All of our treatments take place at our beautiful boutique premises in Chelsea. We have six consulting rooms and five operating rooms, as well as a dedicated pre and post-operative suite, and a full team of specialist nursing staff.Our Clinic
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We were founded in 2004 by world renown plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou, best known for his pioneering work in the area of liposuction, lasers and microvascular surgery. We continue to collaborate with pioneers in our field.Our History
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We offer surgical consultations in London, Birmingham, Chelmsford and Bristol, and attract international patients from all corners of the globe such as as the USA, the Middle East and Europe.Get in Touch
Before opting for a neck lift or any cosmetic surgery, it is vital to be aware of the potential risks and complications. Although the neck lift can produce highly positive results, there are risks that you need to consider and discuss with your surgeon.
In the event of an unforeseen complication or less than optimal outcome, a revision surgery may be required. The need for a revision surgery can arise due to factors beyond the surgeon’s control. Our skilled consultant surgeons are qualified professionals who have performed Neck Lift numerous times.
It is also important to acknowledge that any surgical procedure carries a slight risk of:
Your surgeon will assess your personal risk for all these factors alongside your general health and suitability for surgery. They will also explain how these risks would be addressed and treated in the event they occur.
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