All About Neck Lifts

By: Dr. J. Timothy Katzen



When pursuing a more youthful and refined appearance, many turn their attention to the neck, which often shows signs of aging. A neck lift, a popular procedure known for its impactful results, and might be the solution you’re seeking. But what exactly does a neck lift entail, and is it the right choice for you? In this blog, we'll explore the ins and outs of neck lifts, comparing them with similar procedures, and discussing what recovery looks like.

What is a Neck Lift?

A neck lift, medically known as lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure designed to enhance the appearance of the neck and jawline. This procedure addresses various concerns, ranging from excess neck, excess neck fat, and weakened neck muscles. This often results in improved contour and a more youthful profile. Our skin loses elasticity as we age, and the neck can become one of the first areas to show these signs of aging. A neck lift can result in the correction of these areas, effectively reverse changes, and restoring a smoother, more defined neck and jawline.

Neck Lift vs. Neck Liposuction: Understanding the Difference

When considering a neck lift, you must understand how it differs from procedures like neck liposuction. While both aim to enhance the neck's appearance, they target different issues. A neck lift primarily focuses on removing excess skin and tightening muscles, crucial for those with significant skin laxity or banding in the neck. On the other hand, neck liposuction is more about removing excess neck fat, and is ideal for individuals with good neck skin elasticity. These procedures can sometimes be combined to achieve amazing results, simultaneously addressing excess neck fat and neck skin laxity.

Experiencing the Procedure: Is a Neck Lift Painful?

Concerns about pain and discomfort are natural when considering any surgical procedure. Fortunately, a neck lift does not cause too much pain. Usually, patients are under anesthesia during the neck lift surgery, ensuring a pain-free experience. Post-operative pain is easily managed with prescribed medications. As each individual’s pain threshold and recovery rate vary, open communication with your plastic surgeon about pain management is key to a comfortable recovery process.

The Medical Perspective: Understanding the Surgical Technique of a Neck Lift

The neck lift procedure involves making three incisions: one around each ear and one under the chin. The plastic surgeon can access and tighten underlying neck muscles through these incisions, remove or reposition excess neck fat, and trim away excess neck skin. A key aspect of the neck lift is addressing the platysma muscle, which can become lax and form visible bands as we age. By tightening this muscle, plastic surgeons can significantly reduce the appearance of these bands, contributing to a smoother neck profile. Tightening of the platysma muscle is similar to the muscle plication performed during a tummy tuck. The muscle is tightly brought together for permanent results.

The success of a neck lift heavily relies on the plastic surgeon's skill and the patient's individual anatomy. Therefore, choosing a plastic surgeon with extensive experience in facial plastic surgery, like Dr. Timothy Katzen, ensures that you receive a personalized approach tailored to your unique facial structure and aesthetic goals.

Recovery Insights: What to Expect After a Neck Lift

After a neck lift, most patients can expect to take some time off work and daily activities. Typically, initial recovery involves managing swelling and discomfort, which subsides significantly within the first few weeks. Most people feel ready to return to social activities and work within two to three weeks after surgery. However, avoiding strenuous activities for a few weeks ensures optimal healing. Your plastic surgeon will provide detailed postoperative care instructions, which are essential to follow for a smooth recovery and to minimize the risk of complications.

The Lasting Impact: How Long Does a Neck Lift Last?

One of the most common questions about neck lifts is their longevity. Typically, the results of a neck lift can last for several years, with many patients enjoying their new contours for a decade or more. However, it’s important to remember that while a neck lift can turn back the clock, it doesn't stop the aging process. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and skincare regimen can significantly extend the results of your surgery. Factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and environmental exposure also play a role in the long-term sustainability of the procedure.

Exploring Alternative and Combined Procedures

While a neck lift can dramatically improve the features of your neck, it's not the only option for enhancing the neck area. Here are some other treatments and procedures that can complement or serve as alternatives to a neck lift:

  • Botox for Neck Bands: Botox injections can be an effective non-surgical alternative for those not ready for surgery or have less pronounced neck banding. Botox can temporarily relax the platysma muscle, reducing the appearance of neck bands.
  • Kybella for Under-Chin Fat: Kybella is an injectable treatment that dissolves fat under the chin, addressing the double chin issue. This can be a suitable option for patients with good skin elasticity who primarily have excess fat in the under-chin area.
  • Laser Skin Tightening and Resurfacing: Laser treatments can improve skin texture and tightness. These non-invasive procedures address superficial skin laxity and improve overall skin quality.
  • Combining Procedures for Full Rejuvenation: In some cases, combining a neck lift with other procedures, such as a facelift or chin augmentation, can provide more comprehensive rejuvenation. This approach is particularly beneficial for patients who have aging signs in multiple areas of the face and neck.

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice for Your Neck Rejuvenation

Deciding to undergo a neck lift or any other neck rejuvenation procedure is a personal choice that depends on your specific concerns, goals, and lifestyle. With various surgical and non-surgical options available, it's important to consult with an experienced plastic surgeon who can guide you through the decision-making process. Dr. Timothy Katzen has extensive expertise in neck contouring, and offers both in-person and virtual consultations to help you determine the best approach for your needs.

Remember, whether you choose a surgical neck lift, non-invasive treatments, or a combination of procedures, the goal is to achieve a natural, rejuvenated appearance that reflects your inner vitality. By understanding the various options and working with a skilled plastic surgeon, you can take a significant step towards enhancing your neck's appearance and boosting your overall confidence. View this procedure live in the operating room.

57 year old female. She had weight loss surgery and lost 115 lbs. She was not happy with the appearance of her face and neck after her massive weight loss. She underwent a face lift and neck lift.

Frequently Asked Questions About Neck Lift Surgery

What are the primary benefits of a neck lift?

A neck lift primarily improves the appearance of the neck and jawline by removing excess neck skin, tightening underlying neck muscles, and eliminating excess fat. This results in a more youthful, contoured neck and jawline.

Who is the ideal candidate for a neck lift?

Ideal candidates for a neck lift are generally those who experience sagging skin, neck muscle banding, or excess neck fat. Candidates should be in good overall health, non-smokers, and have realistic expectations about the surgery's outcomes.

How should I prepare for a neck lift surgery?

Preparation includes avoiding medications that increase bleeding risk, stopping smoking, and arranging for post-surgery support and recovery time. Your plastic surgeon will provide specific instructions based on your medical history.

Can a neck lift be combined with other facial surgeries?

Yes, a neck lift is often combined with other procedures like a facelift, chin augmentation, or liposuction for more comprehensive results. Your surgeon can recommend the best combination of procedures for your needs.

What kind of anesthesia is used for a neck lift?

Typically, neck lift surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will determine the most appropriate type of anesthesia for your procedure.

How long is the recovery period after a neck lift?

Most patients can return to work and normal activities within two to three weeks post-surgery. Full recovery, including the subsiding of major swelling and bruising, can take several weeks.

Will there be visible scars after a neck lift?

Scarring is a normal part of surgery. However, iincisions are usually made in discreet areas, like behind the ears or under the chin, to minimize visible scarring. Over time, these scars fade significantly.

What are the risks associated with neck lift surgery?

As with any surgery, risks include infection, bleeding, and anesthesia complications. Choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Timothy Katzen minimizes these risks.

How long do the results of a neck lift last?

The results of a neck lift can last several years. The longevity of neck lift results depends on factors like skin quality, age, genetics, and lifestyle habits.

Is there a non-surgical alternative to a neck lift?

Non-surgical alternatives, such as Botox for neck bands or Kybella for under-chin fat, can address some neck concerns. However, non-surgical alternatives do not offer the same results as a surgical neck lift. Your surgeon can advise if these treatments are appropriate for you.

How do I maintain the results of my neck lift?

Maintaining a stable weight, protecting your skin from the sun, following a healthy lifestyle, and using appropriate skincare products can help prolong the results of your neck lift.

What should I look for when choosing a plastic surgeon for my neck lift?

Look for a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in neck and facial procedures. Check their credentials, before and after photos, patient reviews, and ensure you feel comfortable with their approach. Their chosen surgical plan for your neck should make sense.

Can a neck lift help with “turkey neck”?

Yes, one of the primary goals of a neck lift is to address and correct the “turkey neck” appearance, which is characterized by loose, sagging skin on the neck.

How soon can I see the results of my neck lift?

Initial results are visible soon after surgery. Final results can take several months to fully emerge as swelling subsides and the skin adjusts to its new contour.

Next Steps

Whether you're considering a neck lift, neck liposuction, or non-invasive procedures like Botox and fillers, the key is to choose the treatment that aligns with your individual aging concerns, desired outcomes, and comfort level. If you're noticing early signs of aging and prefer a less invasive approach, treatments like Botox and fillers can be highly effective. However, for more pronounced signs of aging, such as deep wrinkles and significant sagging, a neck lift may provide the rejuvenation you seek. Remember that each procedure, whether surgical or non-surgical, have its unique set of pros and cons, and the optimal choice varies from person to person.

Consult with an experienced plastic surgeon, like Dr. Timothy Katzen. Dr. Katzen offers both in-person and virtual consultations. He can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs and goals. With his expertise, you can explore the best options for your facial rejuvenation journey. Check out Dr. Katzen’s before and after neck lift photos. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Katzen, please call 310-859-7770 or email [email protected]. Remember, the right procedure for you is one that not only addresses your physical concerns but also aligns with your lifestyle and expectations. Call today and get the neck of your dreams.

Works Cited

"Neck Lift." American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Plastic Surgeons,

Pezeshk, Ronnie A., et al. "Neck Rejuvenation through the Lateral Platysma Window: A Key Component of Face-Lift Surgery." Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, vol. 139, no. 4, Apr. 2017, pp. 865-866. DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000003215.

"Before & After Photos: Face/Neck Lift." J. Timothy Katzen, M.D., Beverly Hills,

"Neck Lift Beverly Hills." J. Timothy Katzen, M.D., Beverly Hills,

"Neck Liposuction Beverly Hills." J. Timothy Katzen, M.D., Beverly Hills,

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.