Neck Lift: Improve the Signs of Aging | MedStar Health

Improve signs of aging in the neck

As you age, you may begin to notice excessive wrinkling and sagging skin in the neck. This may get to the point that you experience a double chin or “turkey neck.” A neck lift, also known as a lower rhytidectomy, can treat these signs of aging. By removing excess skin and tissue and tightening the sagging muscle of the neck, you can have a smooth and toned neck.

A facelift can make you look younger and fresher, and it may enhance your self-confidence in the process. However, a neck lift cannot give you a totally different look, nor can it restore the health and vitality of your youth. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.

If you so choose, a neck lift can also be performed in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures, such as a brow lift, facial fat grafting and eyelid surgery.

Planning and recovery

What to expect

In your initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your face and neck. They will conduct a detailed assessment of your neck and the tissue layers that are contributing to your concerns. Three-dimensional predictive imaging will be used to show what your surgeon feels would be a realistic result in your situation.

You will be checked for medical conditions that could cause problems during or after surgery, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, blood clotting problems, or the tendency to form excessive scars. Be sure to tell your surgeon if you smoke or are taking any drugs or medications, especially aspirin or other drugs that affect clotting.

On the day of surgery, most patients receive general anesthesia so they can undergo surgery in a state of unconsciousness with no pain. Some patients may instead receive IV sedation or twilight sleep.

A neck lift usually takes about three to four hours. First, an incision is made in the hairline near the sideburn, continuing down and around the ear. The tissue under your neck skin is then repositioned and your muscles may be tightened. A second incision under your chin may be necessary for liposuction and muscle repair. Sutures or adhesives are then used to close the incisions.

Recovery after surgery

There is usually limited discomfort after surgery. Some numbness of the skin is normal and should disappear in a few weeks or months. If you have a drainage tube inserted, it will be removed one or two days after surgery. Bandages, when used, are usually removed after one to five days. Any stitches will be removed after about five days.

You should be up and about in a day or two but plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery. Your surgeon will give you more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities.

It’s important that you keep your head elevated and straight to minimize swelling. Do not apply ice to the neck for pain or swelling as this may compromise blood flow and result in tissue damage.

Frequently asked questions

  • Am I a candidate for a neck lift?

    You may be a good candidate if:

    • You’re physically healthy

    • Your expectations are realistic

    • You understand the risks that come with surgery

    • You’re unhappy with your neck’s signs of aging and are looking for a long-term solution

    Most patients are between the ages of 40 and 60, but neck lifts can be done successfully on people in their 70s or 80s as well. The health of the patient is more important than the age.

  • What are the risks of a neck lift?

    As with any surgery, neck lifts do pose some risks. These risks include:

    • Anesthesia complications

    • Hematoma (a collection of blood under the skin that requires surgical removal)

    • Infection

    • Nerve damage

    • Numbness

    • Pain

    • Poor healing

    • Swelling

    • Unfavorable scarring

  • How much does a neck lift cost?

    The costs for a neck lift vary based on your specific needs. When you come in for your consultation visit, we’ll be better able to discuss fees in detail with you. Our staff will also review the financing options available and help with any payment questions you may have.

Our locations

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MedStar Health: Plastic Surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

3800 Reservoir Road NW,
BLES Building
1st. Floor
Washington, D.C., 20007


MedStar Health: Plastic Surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center

106 Irving St. NW
POB North
Ste. 3400
Washington, D.C., 20010

MedStar Health: Plastic Surgery at McLean

6862 Elm Street
Suite 800
McLean, VA 22101