As we age we lose tightness and smoothness in the neck. This is due to skin, muscle and ligament aging in the jawline and neck tissues. There is excess skin with or without excess fat which forms a “double chin” or a “turkey neck”. Our neck area is a very visible part of our appearance and an aging neck can make us feel self-conscious. Some may cover up the neck and try to hide the parts of the neck they don’t like. Many of my patients want a long lasting and more permanent solution to improve their neck aging and jawline contouring.
A neck lift is a surgical procedure with minimal scarring designed to remove excessive fatty deposits (“turkey neck”), tighten the neck muscles and muscle bands (platysma bands) and remove skin excess (“double chin”). In an isolated neck lift we treat the aging that happened in the neck only, without making changes to the cheeks or other facial areas.
Yes, it is absolutely possible to just have a neck lift without a complete facelift depending on the patient anatomy.
How is a neck lift surgery performed?
A neck lift is performed under general anesthesia or sedation to improve the signs of aging on the neck. We can combine several techniques in a neck lift depending on the patient’s anatomy, such as liposuction, platysmaplasty, treatment of the deep neck structure such as digastric muscles and submandibular glands, and skin tightening. Usually the treatment of the neck improves the jawline contour.
Do I need to have a complete facelift if I just want a neck lift?
No, it is absolutely possible to have only a neck lift surgery without a facelift surgery. It depends on the patient’s anatomy, but a neck lift without facelift is performed frequently. A neck lift is also part of the complete facelift procedure. Some patients would benefit more from a complete facelift if they also have significant aging in the cheeks, deep creases in the face or loss of facial volume.
If you think you might be a good candidate for a neck lift, combined or not with improvements to the face, nose, eyelids and lips, an in-person consultation is a good way of finding specific information that will benefit you and your individual needs.
A complete facelift includes:
- Facelift to lift the cheeks, the corners of the mouth, improve deep wrinkles in the face
- Neck lift and platysmaplasty to neck bands
- Fat grafting to the face to improve facial highlights and loss of volume
Will others see my neck lift incisions?
No, the neck lift incisions should not be visible after the initial healing process. When the closure is made correctly and with attention to detail, the incisions are hidden under the chin and/or around the ear. Scars will be virtually invisible six months after surgery.
How long is the recovery time?
The average downtime is usually 2 weeks after surgery. When we focus only on the neck, it is also very easy to hide any signs of surgery. In the first week the patient typically has some degree of bruising and swelling at the front and sides of the neck. Patients might also have bruising around the ear and along the jawline. Make-up and a scarf can be used to cover the initial bruising.
After surgery what should I do for my skin?
A neck lift does not stop the aging process, but it can make the neck appear younger or give the neck a fresh look. We offer a number of skin treatments and products to help maintain the results long-term, including maintaining and improving the texture of the skin, fine lines and skin thinning. A healthy lifestyle is also a part of the maintenance of any cosmetic procedure.
How can I get started to learn more?
If you are interested in discussing a neck lift, or any other facial rejuvenation procedure, it would be my pleasure to see you in the office for an in-person consultation. We can talk about what you want to achieve, go over the specific areas you are looking to improve, and I will answer any questions you have.
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Surgery and Recovery Information
After the procedure
A neck lift is an outpatient surgery done under general anesthesia. After the procedure, there will be visible fine skin sutures in the incisions, some bruising and swelling.
A neck lift surgery is not a painful procedure, but mild discomfort and feeling of tightness in the face and neck areas are expected for a few days to a few weeks after surgery. Bruising and swelling are usually the cause of the discomfort. However, it can be treated with preoperative and postoperative medication and supplementation, ice and anti-inflammatories.
Frequently combined procedures with a neck lift are a facelift, lip lift, blepharoplasty or eyelid lift, fat grafting to the face, browlift, skin resurfacing with a chemical peel to treat the skin aging, lip lift and others. There are many options for us to use to achieve the best results.
Sutures are removed between 7-10 days after the surgery. Return to normal daily activities between 2-3 weeks. Expect at least 8 weeks for committing to major social events as residual swelling can remain for some patients after surgery. We are all different, so it is hard to predict who will get more or less swelling and bruising.
General preoperative recommendations for facelift, neck lift and mini-facelift surgery:
What to avoid before surgery:
- DO NOT take any aspirin for 7-10 days before your scheduled procedure. Do not take NSAIDS (Aleve, Motrin, Ibuprofen) for 5 days before surgery. You may take Tylenol (Acetaminophen) if needed for aches or pains. Please contact the office at if you have any questions about any medications that you are taking or if you are prescribed aspirin by your cardiologist or Primary Care Provider (PCP).
- Discontinue Vitamin E 10 days before surgery.
- Avoid the following herbal supplements for 10 days before surgery: Echinacea, Ephedra / Phentermine (used for weight loss), Feverfew, Fish Oils, Garlic, Ginkgo Biloba, Goldenseal, Kava-Kava, Licorice, Saw Palmetto, St. John’s Wort and Valerian.
- Stop Smoking. The harmful effects of smoking can cause tissue death, infection, and open wounds. It also makes you age faster!
- Alcohol can promote swelling of the surgical area and it is best to avoid alcohol intake for at least one week before surgery.
What to take before surgery:
- Dr Miotto will prescribe some supplements and medication to help speed up recovery after surgery and decrease discomfort during healing.
General postoperative recommendations after a neck lift surgery:
- You MUST have a responsible adult to transport you home and stay with you for a full twenty-four hours after your surgery. If general anesthesia is used, the medications used during the procedure directly affect the nervous system, and for your safety, we will not allow you to drive or be home alone immediately after surgery.
- You will be unable to drive if you are taking narcotics.
- It is common to feel sluggish for a few days as the anesthesia works its way out of your system.
- It is recommended to elevate the head with two to three pillows after all facial procedures.
- Your initial post-operative appointment will be scheduled by your Patient Care Coordinator; please make arrangements to have reliable transportation for these appointments as you will not be permitted to drive until twenty-four hours after your surgery and when you are no longer taking narcotic pain medications.
- For your safety, we require that you have a responsible adult stay with you for twenty-four hours after your surgery for general help, as you may find your balance and judgement impaired.
- Please refrain from physical activity that will increase your heart rate or blood pressure for 2 weeks after surgery. However, bed rest is NOT recommended, and you should be walking at normal pace after the procedure.
- Frequent walking will decrease the risk of post-operative blood clots (mostly after general anesthesia).
- Sexual activity can safely be resumed 2 weeks following surgery. Please discuss with Dr Miotto as needed.
- You can shower twenty-four hours after surgery. You may clean the incisions as instructed by Dr Miotto or her nurses after the procedure.
- Do not submerge yourself into a tub/pool until all wounds have healed (usually in 3 weeks).
- Do not scrub the surgical sites, however you can allow soapy water to run over them.
- Avoid lotions on the surgical sites for 2 weeks, but you can moisturize any other areas as desired.
Returning to Work:
- Recovery time will vary; however, most patients return to work within one to 2 weeks after the procedure, within one week you will have a feel for your specific limitations and will be able to determine how comfortable you will be with resuming your daily activities and workload.
- Immediately following surgery, it is best to eat bland, easily-digested food and avoid excess sugar and salt. Healthy proteins (eggs, lean meat, beans, nuts), rice, fruits and cooked vegetables (broccoli, peppers, sweet potatoes) will provide your body with nutrients essential for healing.
- Eat a few bites of food before taking pain medications as these can cause nausea.
- A diet low in sodium will help minimize swelling and water retention.
- Drink plenty of water! Drinking low sugar sports drinks and protein shakes are recommended.
- Keep in mind that our goal in aesthetic surgery is improvement and not perfection. You will be followed closely after surgery to assure that you heal well and have the best possible results.
- It can take months for the very final results of your surgery be apparent. After 12 weeks, you can expect your results to be mostly permanent. Expect subtle changes in swelling and healing (including the appearance of scarring) to continue to improve for up to twelve months.
- It is important for you to keep open communication with your physician and return for your follow up visits. We will take pre and post pictures along the way and look at the final results together.
GABRIELE C. MIOTTO MD, MEd., is a Brazillian-American plastic surgeon specialized in aesthetic surgery and minimally invasive procedures, specially of the face, eyes, nose, breast and liposuction.
Call 404-850-5851 for your consultation.