“My experience and the results achieved were Amazing! Now when I look in the mirror, I see a reflection that speaks of my young spirit! I don’t look “flattened” or “pulled”, I look refreshed. Thank you!”
–Necklift patient Martasy on RealSelf.com

What Does a Neck Lift Treat?

There are 3 types of changes that contribute to an older-looking neck and face:

  • Loose & Damaged Skin – wrinkles, uneven texture, and pigmentation changes, as well as skin laxity and thinning
  • Sagging & Drooping Muscles – loosening of connective tissues and loss of muscle tone
  • Excess Fat – our necks tend to accumulate more fat as we age, while our faces tend to lose fat. Excess fat will weigh down skin and cause it to stretch and sag.

A Necklift is the only procedure that addresses the changes in skin and muscle laxity as well as contouring the fat in the neck. Your board-certified plastic surgeon is able to tighten the muscles and connective tissues, remove excess fat both above and below the muscle, and then reduce skin laxity in a way that turns back the aging process to restore a more youthful, natural appearance. One thing that a neck lift will not address is skin damage issues like fine lines, crepey skin texture, and sun damage. However, many patients will choose to incorporate a laser treatment into their procedure, to treat these skin concerns

How is the Procedure Performed?

Surgical correction of aging in the neck lays a foundation for years of improvement.

In general, the procedure is performed by first making a small incision in the natural crease under the chin, which allows the doctor to remove any excess fat above the muscle. Next, the two vertical bands of muscle are reconnected and tightened back to a youthful position. Any excess fat under the muscle can be removed at the same time. Finally, if there is excess skin, it may be gently trimmed away by using very thin incisions that are hidden in a natural skin crease and behind the ear for a smoother, toned look. The location of your incisions, as well as the details that are specific to your unique aging pattern, will be discussed by your board-certified plastic surgeon at your personalized consultation.


Our expert plastic surgery team works collaboratively within our multi-specialty physician team to select the right procedures, providers, and treatment plan for each patient. Our team approach allows our physicians to draw on the expertise of industry leaders in all facets of cosmetic surgery, and in combination with our wide assortment of devices, allows us to hand select not only an effective treatment, but the very best treatment for your physiology, aging patterns, and lifestyle.

Combining Procedures for Maximum Results

Pairing procedures allows patients to achieve multiple cosmetic goals in one treatment and to reduce overall downtime, as healing takes place simultaneously. A necklift can bring about more comprehensive change when paired with a lower facelift to address sagging along the jawline and through the cheeks, CO2 Fractional Ablative Laser Skin Rejuvenation to address fine lines and wrinkles as well as sun damage, liposculpting for a leaner, sculpted neck, or an array of other facial plastic surgery treatments for other cosmetic concerns.

Our facial plastic surgeons are careful to create natural, beautiful results that will leave others wondering what has you looking so refreshed, not what procedures you’ve had done. Our gallery of before and afters are a testament to the skill and artistry our team prides itself in providing for each and every one of our patients.

Non Surgical Neck Lift Alternatives

A neck lift is the most comprehensive treatment for neck rejuvenation and the only treatment that allows us to address all 3 causes of an older-looking neck – sagging muscles, excess fat, and loose skin. However, for those with only one or two of these concerns, or who are simply opposed to a  surgical procedure of any kind, Reflections does offer a variety of non-invasive and minimally invasive options, such as:

  • ThermiTight injectable radio frequency allows for targeted tightening of the skin throughout the neck. This is a good minimally invasive option for those with moderate to mild skin laxity and no real concerns about fat or muscle changes.
  • Exilis offers radio frequency in a non-invasive procedure that reduces excess fat, smoothes away wrinkles, and tightens the skin over a series of treatments. This is a treatment that works well for those for whom down-time isn’t a possibility.
  • Ultherapy captures the power of micro-targeted ultrasound for lifting. This non-invasive technology creates a lifted look that develops over several months, so it’s well suited for those for whom down-time isn’t a possibility, and who wish to have the most discreet results possible.
  • Laser Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure for removing excess fat and tightening loose skin throughout the neck. This procedure has shortened downtimes when compared to a neck lift, and does not address muscle change.
  • Kybella is an injectable fat reduction product that was specifically formulated to target the fat under the chin. Over a series of treatments, the patient will see a dramatic decrease in the amount of excess fat in this area. Kybella works best for those with only a moderate or mild degree of skin laxity.

Frequently Asked Questions About Neck Lift

Who is an ideal candidate for a neck lift?

Almost anyone who wants to see dramatic rejuvenation of their neck is a good candidate for a necklift. In general, the ideal candidate is someone who:

  • Has both skin and muscle laxity in their neck (vertical neck bands, a “turkey wattle” , or a “double chin”)
  • is willing to achieve maximal improvement in the neck through surgery
  • is medically eligible

What is recovery like after a neck lift?

Every care will be taken to ensure your discomfort and downtime are minimized while your results are maximized.

You should plan for a few days rest immediately following your procedure. You will leave the office with a temporary compression garment that you will not remove for two days. You will follow-up with the doctor on the day after surgery to have the temporary compression garment changed and to be fitted for a compression garment that will be worn only at night starting about 48 hours after surgery. This will help minimize swelling and speed up the recovery process. You will wear this until the night after your one week follow up visit. Most patients feel “restaurant ready” and comfortable returning to their normal activities within 3-5 days after surgery. Exercise and strenuous activity must be avoided for 14 days. Bruising and swelling are usually minimal. During the days when patients might experience bruising, makeup can be worn to disguise the discoloration. Our physicians have long histories of making recoveries as comfortable and easy as possible.

What is the pain level during recovery from a neck lift?

With most of the surgeries we perform, there is usually little to no discomfort afterward. You can expect that you will feel a tightness in your neck following the procedure, but it will come to feel natural within a few days after surgery.
Patients are usually prescribed some pain medication for their recovery period, but most find by day 2-3 that they no longer need something that strong and are comfortable with just OTC pain medication, like Tylenol. Patients will be in close contact with their surgery coordinator during the recovery, and we will take every precaution to ensure you are comfortable throughout the process.

What kind of scarring should I expect from a neck lift?

Our physicians believe natural-looking results include discreet incisions well disguised in natural folds. Artful placement of incision lines, a gentle surgical technique, and skilled suturing are key in minimizing scar appearance.

What risks are associated with a neck lift?

We pride ourselves on our safety record. Your plastic surgeon will make sure to go through all of the potential risks with you and answer any questions you have about your specific situation. Each patient is different, and we want to be able to speak to your specific health concerns individually. However, you should know Reflections is meticulous and has an excellent safety record.

What happens during the neck lift procedure?

We will begin by making an incision just below the chin, in the natural crease. This is followed by any liposculpting of the neck and jawline. Next, we will tighten and realign the muscle structures that have loosened with aging. In many cases fat will be removed from under the muscle. Finally, we will remove any excess skin if needed and then suture the incisions. Sometimes this will include removal of excess skin along the crease between ear and neck as well. The whole procedure usually takes about 60 – 90 minutes.

Will my results from a neck lift last?

By addressing the underlying structural changes caused by the aging process, a necklift makes changes that will ensure you’ll always look better than if you hadn’t had the surgery at all. Over time, you may find great benefit from procedures, which before your neck lift, would have given only minimal to negligible results.

Who should get a neck lift?

Whether you call it your neck flab, turkey waddle, or submental sag, a wrinkled and sagging neck is something that can be treated with a neck lift surgery!

Does your neck give away your age? Oftentimes patients will mention feeling like their face looks young, but their neck looks old.  They will say that they don’t like to facetime their family or wear collared shirts, because of how much attention these draw to their necks.  Some will even resort to turtlenecks to hide what becomes a subconscious assault on their self-confidence. Neck creams, Botox, lasers, or other non-surgical procedures are often a good way to delay or treat early signs of an aging neck, but if you’re not getting the results that you hoped for, a neck lift might be the right choice for you.

Natural Neck Lift Results

The naturalness of your neck lift result is directly affected by two key factors:

  1. Accurate and detailed the diagnosis of underlying changes to skin, musculature, and fat prior to and during the surgery
  2. Techniques used during surgery

Most patients do not realize that a surgeon with perfect technique can still create a bad neck lift result if they fail to accurately diagnose the corrections that need to be made in order to return the face to a more youthful past. The changes that occur in the aging face are multi-factoral, and three-dimensional.

When we see bad neck lift results, we often see 2 issues:

  1. The neck has been pulled too tightly – that is bad technique
  2. There are weird swoops or swirls – and that is poor diagnoses of the changes that need to be corrected

We can all understand how technique can create a problem by removing too much skin, but a misdiagnosis of the multiple three-dimensional vectors of aging in a face are what leads to unnatural swoops or weird contours in a bad neck lift result.

The section below on how to select a surgeon will help you identify someone with the skills and experience to achieve not only the most natural results, but also to give you a safe and comfortable experience.

How to Select The Best Neck Lift Surgeon

Here are some selection criteria for choosing an experienced and skilled plastic surgeon for your neck lift:

  • Ask them to show you what changes they see that need correction in your neck: you want to see that they not only show that things have shifted in more than 1 direction over time, but also that they’re talking about the varying layers of change within the fat, muscle, and skin layers
  • Look for a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon or Facial Plastic Surgeon: Both Facial Plastic Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons are qualified to safely perform neck lift surgery. Board certification ensures they are up-to-date on new training and techniques.
  • Ask to see their before and after photos – and ask them to show you examples that look like you: the proof is in the pudding – or the photos in this case. Someone who can show you where they’ve treated patients like you before is likely well-equipped to create the same kind of results for you. You want to see an example of the same gender, similar skin tone, and possibly someone with similar hairline to you (if you’re concerned about visible scars).
  • Ask for their additional credentials: some surgeons are newer than others, while others have decades of experience. Experience does really matter, as there are many nuances to creating great results that are only learned by doing. Society memberships are also an important way to validate a surgeon’s skill. ASAPS in particular, requires that the surgeon practices mainly in aesthetics and be nominated by other plastic surgeons, for their skill, to join. Finally, ask about hospital privileges. The best surgeons can perform their surgeries in the best hospitals, and can choose between venues.

External References

  • https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/neck-lift
  • https://www.smartbeautyguide.com/procedures/head-face/neck-lift/
  • https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-products/wrinkle-treatments-and-other-anti-aging-products
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2884910/
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/neck-lift/about/pac-20384583
  • https://www.webmd.com/beauty/cosmetic-procedures-neck-lift#1
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/turkey-neck#exercises
  • https://www.verywellhealth.com/neck-lift-surgery-2710044
  • https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1294301-overview
Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon at Reflections Center

Dr. Joe Fodero is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience. For 20 years, Dr. Fodero has built an amazing resume of plastic surgery work in the New Jersey area and is recognized as a Top Plastic Surgeon in Rhinoplasty, Breast Augmentation, and Body Sculpting. We’re so happy he’s decided to join forces with the Reflections Center team of physicians.