If you’ve ever wished for a more defined jawline or less sagging and fat around your neck, you may want to consider neck lift surgery.

Maybe you’ve always hated how the area under your jaw looks more like a hump than an angle or you base your wardrobe choices on how you can conceal your sagging neck skin. Whatever the reason you are considering neck lift surgery, the procedure can help you feel and look better knowing you don’t have to feel self-conscious about your neck anymore.

You may consider neck lift surgery if you have:

  • Excess neck skin
  • Excess neck fat
  • A banded, lined or wrinkled appearance to your neck

Each of these concerns can be addressed with neck lift surgery. This surgery can be performed on patients of all ages. Some young people are born with loose neck muscles that give their neckline a rounded appearance while older patients can lose muscle and skin elasticity over time.

“The goal of a neck lift is to identify loose muscles and remove extra fat and/or skin” says Chad Gordon, DO, Assistant Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Clinical Director of the Facial Transplant Program at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “The effect can be dramatic and take as much as 10 to 15 years off a patient’s appearance.”

Neck Lift Surgery Approaches

Your surgeon can use a variety of approaches when it comes to your neck lift surgery. These include:

  • Liposuction, a procedure that involves removing excess fat from underneath the jaw line to achieve a smooth, contoured appearance.
  • Cervicoplasty, an approach that involves removing the excess skin that gives your neck a sagging appearance. This also can help tighten aging skin that appears wrinkled.
  • Platysmaplasty, a treatment that targets the band of neck muscles known as the platysma to reduce the neck’s turkey wattle appearance.

Improvements in surgical tools and techniques mean your surgeon can perform most procedures in a minimally invasive manner using small incisions under the jaw and/or behind your ears. Your surgeon can determine the amount and type of incisions needed based on your personal surgical goals.

Neck Lift Surgery Risks and Complications

Risks and complications are inherent in all surgeries. Neck lift surgery typically requires placing you under general anesthesia, which achieves a sleep-like effect where you will not see, feel or remember any aspect of the surgery. Less-invasive approaches may be performed under local anesthesia in special circumstances.

Common symptoms experienced after neck lift surgery include:

  • Bruising
  • Numbness
  • Swelling
  • Tightness
  • Tingling

While uncomfortable, these are expected symptoms following surgery. However, other symptoms can indicate an infection. These include running a fever or white, thick drainage from your surgical sites known as pus. If you experience these or other unexpected symptoms, contact your surgeon.

Selecting a Neck Lift Surgeon

Another risk associated with neck lift surgery is that you will not like the results. While surgeons use many tools at their disposal to evaluate your surgical expectations and determine what your outcomes will be, fully predicting how your body will respond to surgery is nearly impossible. To minimize the likelihood you will not be pleased with a surgical result, carefully choose your plastic surgeon.

“You should interview a surgeon just as you would interview someone for a job,” says James Zins, MD, Plastic Surgery Department Chair at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. “You must feel comfortable with the explanations and examples the surgeon gives you surrounding your procedure.”

Dr. Zins recommends always asking the surgeon how often he or she performs the procedure and to see examples of past work. A good plastic surgeon should be accustomed to these requests and be forthcoming with this and other requested information.

The Neck Lift Recovery Period

The duration of neck lift surgery recovery depends upon the surgical approach utilized. However, you can generally expect to be out of