Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibilityWhat is a neck lift? Your guide to this facial plastic surgery in 2024

What is a neck lift? Your guide to the neck lift procedure in 2024


    Sagging skin, wrinkles, and a double chin can make anyone feel self-conscious and look way older. It’s frustrating because these concerns often don’t respond to diet and exercise — they’re a natural part of aging. The good news is there’s a procedure that can help: A neck lift.

    A neck lift procedure eliminates excess skin, fat, and muscle while tightening underlying tissues. The result is a more youthful and defined neckline.

    Thinking about getting one? Here’s what you should know about it — its benefits, types, risks, and recovery process.

    What is a neck lift?

    A neck lift, also known as a lower rhytidectomy, is a surgery that improves the neck’s appearance by removing unwanted skin, fat, and muscle. It targets common aging signs in the neck, such as loose skin, wrinkles, and double chin. This procedure creates a more defined and youthful-looking neck contour by tightening the underlying muscles and repositioning the skin.

    Why consider a neck lift?

    Men and women consider getting neck rejuvenation for several reasons:

    • Aging: Our skin loses elasticity as we age. The muscles in the neck can become lax, leading to sagging skin and wrinkles.

    • Weight fluctuations: Significant weight loss or gain can cause excess submental skin and fat accumulation.

    • Genetics: Some people are genetically predisposed to having a double chin or a less defined jawline.

    • Self-confidence: A neck lift can help people feel more confident about their looks and boost their self-esteem.

    The neck lift procedure: An overview

    The neck lift procedure varies depending on the patient’s needs and goals. The surgeon may also choose to use their preferred techniques.

    But in general, you can expect a neck lift surgery to involve these steps:

    1. Anesthesia

    The surgical team will give you either general anesthesia or intravenous sedation to ensure comfort and safety during the procedure. Factors like the extent of the procedure, your health, and the surgeon’s recommendations will determine the choice between the two.

    General anesthesia makes you unconscious, while intravenous sedation puts you in a relaxed state but allows you to stay awake.

    2. Incisions

    Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the surgeon will create incisions to access the underlying neck tissues. The specific techniques used and the extent of correction needed will dictate the placement and length of these incisions. 

    Usually, the surgeon makes incisions around the ears and/or under the chin. They’ll try to keep the incisions as discreet as possible to minimize visible scarring.

    3. Muscle tightening

    The surgeon will tighten and reposition the underlying neck muscles to create a defined, youthful-looking neckline.

    4. Fat removal

    The surgeon may remove unwanted fat in the neck area using liposuction or direct excision to address the appearance of a double chin or a lack of definition. 

    Liposuction involves inserting a thin cannula through small incisions to suction out the fat. Direct excision involves removing fat deposits through the main incisions. The amount of fat and the location of excess fat will determine the choice between these techniques.

    5. Skin repositioning

    After the surgeon tightens the underlying muscles and removes unwanted fat, they’ll redrape the skin over the newly contoured neck. Then, they’ll trim away any extra skin to create a smooth, taut look. Finally, the surgeon will position and secure the remaining skin with sutures to maintain the new neckline. 

    6. Close incisions

    The surgeon will close the incisions using skin adhesive or surgical sutures, which may be absorbable or need removal after healing.

    Types of neck lift procedures

    Different types of neck lift procedures address specific concerns and help patients achieve certain results.

    Let’s explore the options available:

    Traditional neck lift

    When a surgeon performs a traditional neck lift, they make incisions around the ears and/or under the chin to access the muscles and tissues underneath. This technique allows for more extensive tightening and repositioning of the skin and muscles. It’s suitable for people with major sagging and excess skin.

    Limited incision neck lift

    A limited incision neck lift, also known as a mini neck lift, is a less invasive option involving smaller incisions to pull up the lower face. It’s typically hidden behind the ear lobes. This technique is best for those with mild to moderate skin laxity and minimal excess fat.

    Neck liposuction

    Neck liposuction focuses on removing unwanted fat from the neck using a thin cannula (tube) inserted through small incisions. This technique is ideal for men and women with good skin elasticity and minimal sagging but stubborn fat pockets in the submental region.


    Cervicoplasty focuses on removing unwanted skin from the neck. It’s often combined with a traditional neck lift to address significant skin laxity and achieve a more defined jawline. The downside to this direct neck lift procedure is that there are visible neck scars afterward.


    Platysmaplasty tightens the platysma muscles in the neck. It can help create a more defined and younger-looking neck contour by addressing the “banding” that can develop in the neck over time.

    Non-surgical options

    If you’re not ready for surgery or have mild submental concerns, non-surgical options like injectable treatments (e.g. Botox, dermal fillers) and skin tightening devices (e.g. internal and or external radiofrequency, Renuvion/J Plasma) may be promising. These can help improve your neck’s appearance to an extent, but results are less dramatic compared to surgical neck lifts.

    Risks and complications of a neck lift

    As with any surgery, a neck lift carries potential risks, including:

    • Anesthesia reactions

    • Bleeding

    • Infection

    • Nerve injury

    • Scarring

    • Skin discoloration or irregularities

    • Asymmetry

    • Persistent pain

    • Unsatisfactory results

    Choose a reputable, board-certified surgeon to minimize the chance of post-op complications.

    Recovery after a neck lift

    The recovery process after a neck lift varies depending on the procedure’s extent and how your body heals.

    In general, patients experience the following:

    • Swelling and bruising: These common side effects usually dissipate within two weeks.

    • Discomfort: Patients often manage pain with prescribed medications.

    • Downtime: Most need two weeks off work and should avoid strenuous activity for the first few weeks.

    • Incision care: Patients will get instructions on caring for their incisions to promote healing and minimize scarring.

    • Follow-up appointments: Regular check-ins with the surgeon are imperative for monitoring progress and addressing concerns.

    Cost and financing options for a neck lift

    The cost of a neck lift procedure varies depending on factors like the surgeon’s experience, geographic location, and procedure extent. On average, a neck lift costs $6,267 in the US (2024), according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons [1]. Many plastic surgeons offer financing options or work with third-party financing companies to help make it more affordable. You can use our pricing calculator to get an estimate of your neck lift procedure, as well as explore payment plan options.

    Neck lift vs. other cosmetic procedures

    While a neck lift targets the neck area, other cosmetic procedures may be combined with or be alternatives to a neck lift.

    Depending on your concerns and goals, you may also explore the following:

    • Facelift: A facelift addresses sagging and wrinkles in the mid and lower face. You can get one with a neck lift for more comprehensive rejuvenation.

    • Chin augmentation: Chin implants can enhance the chin’s projection and create a more balanced profile.

    • Thread lift: This minimally invasive procedure uses absorbable threads to pull up and tighten loose skin in the face and neck. Adults 30 to 50 years of age are often good candidates for this treatment.

    Are there neck lift alternatives?

    If you’re not suitable for a surgical neck lift or prefer non-invasive options, you can consider the following alternatives:

    • Kybella injections: This FDA-approved injectable treatment helps reduce submental fullness by breaking down fat cells.

    • Ultherapy: This non-invasive procedure uses focused ultrasound energy to tighten and lift the skin on the neck and face. It also improves the texture and tone, leaving the skin looking much smoother.

    • Radiofrequency treatments: Devices like Morpheus and Profound RF use radiofrequency energy to stimulate collagen production and tighten skin.

    • Laser treatments: Fractional laser resurfacing can help improve skin texture, reduce wrinkles, and promote collagen production in the neck.

    While these alternatives may provide some improvement, they can’t achieve the same dramatic results as a surgical neck lift. So, they’re best for patients with mild submental concerns.

    Ages where neck lifts are common

    It’s typical for men and women in their mid-30s to mid-60s to get neck lifts. By this age range, they tend to experience visible signs of aging. But the procedure can benefit people of various ages, depending on their concerns and skin quality. Some may start getting neck lifts in their 30s if they have genetically predisposed neck concerns. Others may not need them until they’re older than 65.

    Questions to ask your doctor about the neck lift procedure

    During your initial consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon, ask these questions to help you make an informed decision:

    • Are you board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (or equivalent if living outside the US)?

    • How many successful neck lift procedures have you done in the past year?

    • What type of neck lift technique do you recommend for my concerns?

    • Where will the incisions be and how visible will the scars be?

    • What are the risks and potential complications associated with a neck lift?

    • How long will the recovery take, and when can I resume work and normal activities?

    • What kind of results can I realistically expect from a neck lift? Do you have recent before and after photos you can share with me?

    • How long do neck lift results last?

    • Are there non-surgical alternatives that may be suitable for my needs?

    • What’s the total cost of the procedure, and do you offer financing options?

    Neck lift procedure near me | Burbank, CA

    If submental fullness has bothered you, a neck lift can give you a more youthful and refined neckline. It’ll improve sagging skin, wrinkles, and the appearance of a double chin. You’ll feel more confident after the surgery.

    While no surgery is without risks, the neck lift procedure is safe and effective when done by an experienced plastic surgeon. Enjoy a stunning jawline for many years by following your surgeon’s guidance and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    Considering a neck lift in Greater Los Angeles? Dr. Orloff, board-certified plastic surgeon of Burbank Plastic Surgery, has led the field for over 26 years. With more than 12,000 successful procedures, he and his team provide personalized care and exceptional results. When you’re ready, book a consultation to learn how we can help you achieve your aesthetic goals.


    1. Neck lift, American Society of Plastic Surgeons