Learn everything about your treatment
Learn everything about your treatment
2 to 4 hours
Day case or one night
General anaesthetic or local anaesthetic with sedation
6 to 9 months
Neck lift overview
What is a neck lift?
A neck lift is a procedure that tightens and lifts the skin and muscles of the neck. The medical name for this is a platysmaplasty. This procedure achieves smoother, slimmer skin in the neck, therefore giving you a more youthful appearance. The surgeon will often perform this alongside other facial surgeries such as a facelift or brow lift. Below is a neck lift overview, which will provide you with some general information on the procedure.
What can a neck lift achieve?
In many people, the first signs of ageing start to appear around the face and neck. The skin around the jawline and neck can start to lose its elasticity and sag, and wrinkles may begin to show. A neck lift can address these problems and improve the appearance of your jawline and neck. Thus, a neck lift can:
- Improve the appearance of the skin of your neck.
- Tighten loose skin around your neck.
- Remove excess fat from the neck.
- Reduce wrinkles and lines in your neck.
- Achieve a smoother, more youthful looking neck.
Overall, a neck lift can help you to achieve a younger, rejuvenated appearance, so that you can look as young as you feel!
Neck lift technique
To perform a neck lift, the surgeon must adjust and reposition the skin and soft tissues of the neck. Typically, the surgeon will also use liposuction to remove any excess fat. Overall this is a relatively straightforward surgery that lasts two to four hours. The length of the surgery does also depend on whether you undergo additional procedures. Most often it is performed with a facelift. The two main techniques of a neck lift are as follows:
You can find more information on the differences between these two procedures here.
Who are BAAPS & BAPRAS?
BAAPS and BAPRAS stand for The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons and The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Members of these two leading plastic surgery colleges must regularly attend training, and their skills and knowledge are continuously assessed. The surgeons we select at Medbelle are always members of one, or both, of these associations. Therefore, we can guarantee that you receive only the best care by some of the most skilled and experienced cosmetic surgeons in the country.
Neck lift candidates
Why choose to have a neck lift?
For many people, it can be difficult to come to terms with the effects of ageing on their appearance. Some of the first visible signs of ageing can appear around the jawline and neck area. This may be in the form of sagging skin or wrinkles. As a result, this can make you look older than you feel. If this is a concern of yours, you may be considering a neck lift. Neck lift candidates will feel that the appearance of their neck is making them look tired and aged. A neck lift can help to reverse these signs of ageing and will, therefore, make you look more youthful and rejuvenated.
Who are the best candidates for a neck lift?
To allow for the best results, ideal neck lift candidates will be patients with the appropriate features that can be improved from this procedure. Features that a neck lift can correct include:
- Loose, slack skin around the throat.
- Wrinkles in the neck.
- Jowls (fat or excess skin under the chin).
- Excess fat or skin of the neck.
Furthermore, the best neck lift candidates will have the following:
Good skin elasticity
Ideally, patients should have skin that stretches well to allow it to conform to its new position. If your skin is too tight or thin, it may not be possible to pull it back to its new position after it is trimmed and adjusted.
Good physical health
Being in good general health is important before any surgery. Serious medical conditions, a high BMI and smoking can all increase the risk of complications. Therefore, ideal neck lift candidates will have stopped smoking at least 6 weeks before surgery. Your surgeon will also advise that you reach a stable, healthy weight before the procedure.
What won’t a neck lift resolve?
As a neck lift only adjusts the skin and muscles of the neck, it will 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. If you have other areas of concern, you can discuss with your BAAPS/ BAPRAS surgeon what other procedures may be suitable for you. Often the surgeon can perform these at the same time as a neck lift. Some of the procedures commonly performed with a neck lift include:
- 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.
Neck lift procedure
How is a neck lift procedure performed?
Undergoing surgery can be quite nerve-racking if you don’t know what to expect. Therefore, knowing what a neck lift procedure involves may help to relieve any anxiety you have about the surgery. This page will explain what will happen on the day of your neck lift procedure.
A neck lift itself is a relatively straightforward procedure. However, after discussing the best options for you with your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon, you may have decided to have other procedures performed at the same time, such as a facelift. This will mean the surgery will take longer. Regardless, overall a neck lift procedure can take anything between 2 to 5 hours.
On the day of the surgery, you will go through the following steps:
Undergoing any type of surgery requires you to give your consent. Before you have a neck lift surgery, you will give your consent in the form of a signature on a consent form. You might sign this on the day of your surgery, or during your pre-operative assessment. By signing a consent form you are agreeing to undergo a neck lift surgery, therefore you should be fully informed about the benefits and risks of the procedure. If there is anything you are unsure about, make sure you ask your surgeon before you sign the consent form.
Once you have changed into a hospital gown and are ready for the surgery, you will go to the anaesthetic room. Here the anaesthetist will administer your anaesthetic. You will have discussed with your surgeon which type of anaesthesia you will have, before the day of your surgery. A general anaesthetic will make you sleep throughout the procedure so that you do not feel or remember a thing about the surgery. A local anaesthetic will numb the treatment area so that you do not feel any pain, and you will be given a sedative alongside this to help you relax. Both options are perfectly safe, so which one you have depends largely on your personal preference.
Before your surgeon makes any incisions, they will thoroughly clean the treatment area to reduce the risk of infection. They will then make discreet incisions under the chin and behind your ears. The size of the incision will depend on the extent and technique of the surgery. The two main techniques are as follows:
This technique mainly focuses on removing excess skin. The surgeon will lift and remove the excess skin around the neck. For some patients, the removal of excess skin alone may be enough to achieve the results they desire. The surgeon will then reposition the skin over the neck and suture it in place, giving the neck a smoother appearance.
This is a more extensive type of neck lift surgery, as the surgeon 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. By adjusting the underlying muscle, this technique achieves more dramatic results as it can reduce the banded appearance or folds of the neck.
To achieve the best results, the surgeon may use both of the above techniques. Furthermore, with both methods, the surgeon can remove excess fat through the incisions made under the chin. They will perform this either through liposuction or by surgical excision.
4. Closing of incisions
The surgeon may use dissolvable or non-dissolvable stitches to close the incisions. Afterwards, the surgeon will wrap your neck with a light bandage. You may also have drainage tubes put in place, which drains any fluid from the treated area.
5. Return to the ward
Once the surgeon completes the operation, you will wake up gradually in the recovery room. You will return to the ward where you will recover from the anaesthetic under the supervision of nurses and hospital staff. You may stay one night at the hospital, or you may be able to go home on the same day. This will depend on what type of anaesthetic you had, and whether there were any complications from your surgery.
Neck lift consultation
What should I expect from my neck lift consultation?
If you think a neck lift procedure is right for you, the next step is to have a neck lift consultation with one of our BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeons. This will be an opportunity for you to talk to a highly skilled and experienced surgeon about the procedure. Overall it will take between 15 minutes to an hour. During this consultation, you will discuss the concerns you have about the appearance of your neck and what you wish to change. The surgeon will listen carefully to you and then examine your neck. They will also ask you important questions about your medical history. This is to assess whether or not you are suitable for a surgical procedure. Some of the questions they may ask you include:
- Do you have any medical conditions?
- Have you previously had any medical conditions?
- Have you had any previous surgeries?
- What medications, including over-the-counter and herbal remedies, are you currently taking?
- How much alcohol do you drink?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you have any allergies?
When discussing your desired outcomes from the neck lift procedure, we really stress the importance of being as open as possible with your surgeon. This is because making it clear to your surgeon what you wish to achieve will help them to have a better understanding of your goals. This will also make it more likely that you will be it will be happy with the final results of your neck lift surgery. However, also remember that if your surgeon does not think your expectations are realistic, they will tell you so. It is important to listen to your surgeon and their expertise. It may be that alternative procedures would be more appropriate for you. The surgeon will be able to suggest and discuss your options.
What questions should you ask during your neck lift consultation?
At Medbelle, it is important to us that our patients are fully informed about their surgical procedure. Therefore, if you have questions about any aspect of a neck lift procedure, your consultation is the best time to ask. Your surgeon will be happy to answer any queries you have. No question is a silly question! To help you, we have compiled some questions that you may wish to ask:
- Is a neck lift right for me?
- Are my goals achievable with a neck lift?
- Can I see any before and after pictures of previous neck lift surgeries you have performed?
- What other procedures might I benefit from to get the results I want?
- Will the scars be obvious?
- How long is the recovery period?
- How much time should I take off work after the surgery?
- Will I be in pain after the surgery?
Neck lift risks and complications
What are the main risks of a neck lift?
As with any type of surgery, a neck lift carries some risks. Complications can occur either during or after the operation. You should think carefully about your decision to undergo a neck lift procedure. This also means taking time to consider the possible neck lift risks and complications. Your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will talk you through the potential neck lift risks during your consultation.
Bruising, bleeding & haematoma
You can expect to have some bruising around the neck after your surgery. Bruising will usually fade after about two weeks. Less commonly, a larger amount of blood may collect under the skin. This can lead to the formation of a hard mass under the skin, called a haematoma. These can be swollen and painful. Smaller haematomas may disappear on their own. However, if one persists or grows your surgeon may need to surgically remove it. If you have high blood pressure or take certain medications such as aspirin, you may be more prone to developing a haematoma.
Skin or tissue necrosis
Tissue necrosis is the death of tissue. This is a potential, but rare, complication of a neck lift. It occurs when an area of tissue does not receive enough blood and oxygen. During a neck lift, the surgeon makes some incisions which may disrupt the blood supply to certain parts of the neck. This can, therefore, result in skin necrosis. The risk of this occurring is much higher if you smoke in the weeks before or after the surgery. An infection can also lead to tissue necrosis. It is better to detect tissue necrosis early in order to prevent further damage.
As a neck lift involves the surgeon making a cut in the skin, bacteria can enter the wound and infect it during or after surgery. Infections will usually occur within the first few weeks after the surgery. Whilst an infection may start off on the skin, it can spread deeper into the tissue and muscle. If your wound becomes infected, it may look red and be warm to touch. You might also notice pus draining from it. There may be pain and discomfort in the area which your pain medication does not resolve. Furthermore, wound infections can make you feel unwell. If you develop a fever over 38° C or notice any of these signs, let your surgeon know as soon as possible.
A scar will form where your surgeon makes an incision in your skin, as your body heals itself. Scarring will fade over time, but will never disappear completely. Your surgeon will make the incisions as small and discreet as possible. However, it is not possible to fully control the extent of scarring. This is because some people’s bodies have a better ability to heal or less tendency to scar than others. Your surgeon will provide you with advice on how to care for your wounds to help minimise scarring after surgery. In the rare occasion that you are left with excessive scarring, there are some treatments that can help to minimise this, such as further surgery, laser treatment or chemical peels.
During the course of the surgery, the scalpel might cut a nerve, the tissue around the nerve might become inflamed, or the nerve can lose its blood supply. This can all result in damage to the nerve. It is quite common to experience some numbness of the incision site in your neck after surgery, but this is usually only temporary. More persistent change in sensation and long-term pain in the area may be a result of permanent nerve damage.
Asymmetry and other irregularities of the skin can leave you dissatisfied with the results of your cosmetic surgery. Some irregularities such as excessive scarring or discolouration of the skin may be out of your surgeon’s control. However, you should ensure that your surgeon has the necessary qualifications and experience to reduce the chances of a disappointing outcome. At Medbelle, we only select surgeons of the highest calibre for you. However, it is also very important that you communicate your aesthetic goals clearly to your surgeon so that you are not left with unexpected and unsatisfying results.
General surgical complications
There are some risks and complications that can occur regardless of the type of surgery you have. These include postoperative nausea and vomiting, or the development of a blood clot in your leg or lungs. It is also possible that you will have an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic agent. The occurrence of these are rare, and there are steps that will be taken to minimise these risks as much as possible.
Your surgeon will talk you through all of the neck lift risks and complications during your consultation.
Neck lift preparation
How can I prepare for a neck lift?
A neck lift is an invasive surgical procedure so it is important to ensure that your body is well-prepared for the operation. This means that you may need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle in the weeks before your surgery. For example, you want to make sure that you are eating a healthy diet, and restricting the amount of alcohol you drink. If you are a smoker, we advise you to stop smoking at least 6 weeks before your surgery. These small lifestyle changes can make a dramatic difference in helping you to achieve the best results from the procedure. As the day of your surgery approaches, we want you to feel as relaxed as possible. We have therefore compiled some practical tips for you to consider as part of your neck lift preparation:
Complete some household errands, like taking the bins out or cleaning the house, before the day of your surgery. Returning home to a clutter-free house will put you at ease whilst you recover for the first few days.
In the early days after surgery, you will need to rest as much as possible. It is also important that you don’t lift anything heavy, such as bags of groceries, after the operation. We, therefore, recommend that you do a food shop at the supermarket before the day of your treatment. Alternatively, make an online order to have groceries delivered to you for when you return home. Some useful things to buy include cupboard essentials such as pasta, rice and tinned foods. Frozen ready-meals are also handy for when you don’t feel like cooking.
Children and pets
Feeling relaxed and stress-free is essential during your recovery period. So you might consider arranging a pet-sitter or babysitter to come and look after your pet or child for you. Alternatively, ask a close relative or friend. This can be a real help for the first week or so after surgery, when you may still be lacking your usual energy.
Surgical procedures such as a neck lift can leave you feeling tired and groggy due to the effects of anaesthesia. For this reason, you will not be allowed to drive for the first 24 hours after your surgery. Make sure you have arranged for someone to drive you home from the hospital. You might want to ask a family member or one of your friends. If there is no one else at home, we also suggest you ask them to stay with you for at least the first night after surgery. Your surgeon may advise that you do not drive for 5 days to 2 weeks after your treatment.
As part of your neck lift preparation, ensure you eat a healthy diet. This will allow your body to prepare for the operation. A healthy diet is also just as important after your surgery, to help with your recovery and the healing process. Make sure you eat plenty of green vegetables and fresh fruits. Eat high protein foods like chicken and fish. Keep your sugar and salt intake to a minimum, as well as the amount of caffeine you consume. Finally, stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
Make sure you have appropriate clothing for after your neck lift surgery. This includes loose, comfortable lounge clothing for you to rest in, as well as shirts and tops that do up at the front. You want to avoid pulling any clothing over your head for at least the first week. Doing this could cause the clothes to rub against the healing wounds on your neck.
Get plenty of sleep in the days before your surgery, to prepare your body for the procedure. Furthermore, it helps to prepare your sleeping arrangements for after surgery when you will need to rest as much as possible. For example, you may wish to buy some extra pillows to have at home. This is so that you can rest and sleep on these in an elevated position. Keeping your head and neck slightly raised on pillows can help to reduce swelling.
These are just some of the things you can do for your neck lift preparation. Your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will give you more specific instructions on how to prepare and you should make sure to follow these instructions strictly.
Neck lift aftercare
What can I expect after a neck lift?
In order to achieve the best results, good neck lift aftercare is almost as important as the surgery itself. It is vital that you take it easy for the first few days after the procedure to allow yourself to recover from both the anaesthetic and the surgery. Your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will give you specific advice on precautions you should take during your recovery period. The neck lift aftercare process also includes having a post-operative appointment with your surgeon. This will be arranged before you go home after the surgery. This is an important appointment where your surgeon will check how your neck is healing and change any dressings if necessary. If the surgeon used any non-absorbable sutures, they will remove these at this appointment too. Below, we have covered some important points on the neck lift aftercare process:
How will I feel after surgery?
Immediately after the surgery, the treated area of your neck may feel slightly numb. This can be due to the effects of the local anaesthetic. Your neck might also feel tight or tender in the area where your surgeon operated. All of this should gradually resolve with time, so do not worry. Furthermore, there will inevitably be some swelling and bruising around the treatment area. This is normal and should start to settle within a couple of weeks. For the first few days, take pain medications regularly to control any discomfort and help to reduce the swelling.
Is there anything I need to do in the first 24 hours?
Anaesthetic drugs can make you feel quite tired, groggy and weak immediately after surgery. You should therefore arrange to have a family member or close friend stay with you for at least the first 24 hours post-op. If possible, ask them to drive you home too, as you won’t be able to drive for the first few days after your procedure. You want to rest as much as possible on your first day home so that you do not move your neck too much. Ask your friends or family members to help you with any light errands.
How much time do I need to take off work?
You should be prepared to take at least 2 weeks off from work, and maybe more if your job requires you to be active. Even after returning to work, make sure you do not lift anything heavy for the first few weeks. Take it easy at first, and don’t overwork yourself. You should be back to your normal daily routines within 4 to 6 weeks.
When can I return to exercise and sport?
You will most likely need to spend the first few days after surgery resting in bed. However, we do recommend getting up and moving about as soon as you feel able to do so. You can then resume light exercise such as walking after two weeks. You should, however, avoid any strenuous physical activity for at least 4 to 6 weeks. After this time period, you can resume sports such as running, cycling and swimming.
What other points should I consider?
Make sure you have comfortable, loose clothing at home for after the surgery, including shirts that button up at the front. You want to avoid pulling tight clothing over your head, as this could make contact with the treatment area. This may interfere with the healing process.
Your surgeon might also recommend that you rest and sleep in an elevated position for the first few days. To do this, you can use several pillows to prop yourself up. This will help to reduce swelling.
You may not immediately see the results you hope to see right after the surgery. The healing process takes time, and whilst swelling and bruising may have settled after some weeks, it can take up to 9 months until you can appreciate the full benefits of your neck lift. This is because the results will generally improve over time. If you are in good general health and do not smoke or drink, the recovery period can be quicker and you may be able to achieve your desired results sooner.
Neck lift FAQs
What are some common neck lift FAQs?
If you are considering a neck lift, you probably have a lot of questions about the procedure! To help you, we have listed below some neck lift FAQs that you may have thought about. You can also look at our other pages on neck lift preparation, procedure and aftercare, to see if they answer any further queries you might have about the neck lift process. Finally, your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will also be happy to answer any other questions at the time of your consultation.
Do I need a GP referral for cosmetic surgery?
You usually do not need a GP referral for cosmetic surgery. If you think a neck lift is something you would like to have done, your surgeon will be happy to see you for a consultation to discuss your options. However, the surgeon may need to access your medical records for more details of your medical history. For this, they will need to contact your GP after requesting your permission.
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. However, this is a general figure and you should listen to the exact advice given to you by your surgeon. They will also give you instructions on how to wash and care for the wound itself so that it heals well. For example, your surgeon may give you an antibiotic ointment to apply after you shower. Make sure you pat dry the incisions after getting them wet. If you need to use a hairdryer to dry your hair, keep it on the cool setting. Finally, take care when brushing your hair around the treated area.
When will I feel comfortable attending major events after surgery?
You may at first feel self-conscious about the appearance of your neck after the procedure. This is because there will be post-operative swelling and bruising, and the area may look red. The extent of swelling and bruising and how long this lasts for is very variable. For some people, bruising will fade quickly, whilst in others, it can persist for longer. However generally, swelling and bruising should start to resolve after the first week. You will, therefore, most likely feel completely comfortable being seen in public by 4 weeks, by which time all the swelling and bruising should have fully resolved.
How long will my results last for?
The aging process will inevitably continue even after you have surgery. Therefore, the results of a neck lift are not permanent. However, a neck lift can be very long-lasting if you look after your body. This means not smoking, and not exposing your neck to too much sun. Wear sunscreen and a hat when you are outside, moisturise daily, keep fit, and drink lots of water. If you do this, you can retain the effects of your neck lift for 10 years and possibly longer.
What are the effects of smoking, drugs, and alcohol on surgery?
We advise you to stop smoking for at least 6 weeks before your surgery. You should also restrict your alcohol intake before surgery as this can affect the outcome of the surgery. Smoking and drinking will increase the likelihood of complications occurring during and after your neck lift. Tobacco, in particular, can delay the time it takes for your wounds to heal, therefore making them more prone to infection.
If you take regular medications such as ibuprofen, vitamin E and certain herbal supplements, you may need to stop taking some of these prior to surgery. This is because they have blood thinning properties and can increase your risk of bleeding during surgery. If necessary your surgeon will discuss any medications in more detail with you during the consultation.