Neck Lift

What is a neck lift?

The skin on a person’s neck can sag as a result of aging or weight loss, and is often affected before the face. A neck lift is a surgical procedure that can smooth and tighten this skin to provide a more toned and youthful appearance. The results of this procedure offer a drastic improvement to the appearance of the neck and subtle changes to overall appearance. Having loose neck muscles can lead to bands on the neck or drastic drooping of the skin. This can lower an individuals self-confidence as they believe people are looking at their aging skin and not them.

Dr. R. Brannon Claytor

Dr. Claytor is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and holds over 15 years of experience as a cosmetic plastic surgeon. An innovator and teacher in the field of plastic surgery, he uses advanced techniques like the drain-free tummy tuck and deep plane facelift to streamline recovery and provide natural-looking, durable results.

Portrait of Dr. Claytor smiling

Benefits of neck lift surgery

The benefits of having a neck lift range from a more youthful appearing neck to tightening the underlying muscle. This type of procedure is for someone who wants a real improvement in the appearance of their neck area. The benefits include:

  • smoother neck skin
  • rejuvenated appearance
  • tightened underlying muscle
  • improved confidence

“Everyone was professional and courteous. I was overwhelmed with the kindness and the way each person I met knew their job.  The consultation flowed nicely from the care coordinator to the surgeon to the person who did the photography. The facility is stunning and I felt so confident and comfortable that I did not feel a second opinion was warranted.”

Neck lift procedure

A neck lift procedure includes both a cervicoplasty to remove excess skin and a platysmaplasty to remove or alter muscles in the neck. Liposuction can also be used to remove excess fat during a neck lift. This takes two to three hours and may be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation, depending on the preference of the patient. Most procedures are performed within an outpatient basis.

  • Smoother neck skin: Neck lift surgery can smooth out wrinkles and sagging skin, resulting in a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance.
  • Tightened underlying muscle: By tightening the underlying muscles of the neck, this procedure helps create a firmer and more defined neck contour.
  • Improved jawline in profile: Address fullness in the neck can help to reveal your natural jawline and improve your appearance in profile.

Cervicoplasty: Surgical procedure that removes excess skin from the neck area.

Platysmaplasty: Surgery that tightens and alters neck muscles.

Rhytidectomy: Technical term for a facelift, often performed in conjunction with a neck lift.

Submental Lipectomy: Procedure to remove fat from under the chin.

SMAS Lift (Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System Lift): A type of facelift that adjusts skin and muscles as a unit.

Liposuction: Removal of excess fat deposits.

Incision: A cut made in the body during surgery.

Local Anesthesia: A drug-induced loss of sensation in a small area of the body.

General Anesthesia: Drug-induced loss of consciousness.

Recovery Period: The time it takes to heal after surgery.

Postoperative: Pertaining to the period following surgery.

Preoperative: Pertaining to the period before surgery.

Contraindication: A condition or factor that serves as a reason to withhold a certain medical treatment.

Invasive Procedure: Surgical technique involving a significant incision or entry into body cavities.

Non-Invasive Procedure: Treatment that does not require incisions or entry into body cavities.

Sutures: Stitches used to hold tissue together.

Scar Revision: A procedure to improve or reduce the appearance of scars.

Compression Garment: Special clothing worn to provide support and minimize swelling after surgery.

Necrosis: The death of cells or tissues.

Seroma: Accumulation of serous fluid in a region of the body post-surgery.

Hematoma: A collection of blood outside of blood vessels, often resulting from surgery or injury.

Can a neck lift be combined with a facelift?

A neck lift may be performed alongside a facelift, or may be performed alone. When combined together, these procedures can transform a man (learn about facelifts for men) or woman’s appearance and give them the youthful look they want to maintain in the future.

Do I need one or the other, or both?

Neck lifts and facelifts are both incredibly popular facial rejuvenation procedures at our Philadelphia plastic surgery practice. In this video, Dr. Claytor discusses the key differences between the two with careful illustration to help you determine which procedure (or even a combination of both) is the best fit for your unique anatomy and personal aesthetic goals.

What can I expect during neck lift recovery?

Swelling and bruising may occur shortly after the procedure and last up to ten days. Most people can return to work and other regular activities within two weeks after a neck lift procedure.

Before & After
neck lift before photo
neck lift after photo

*Individual results may vary.

Are there any risks associated with the neck lift procedure?

There are certain risks involved in a neck lift, as there is with any surgical procedure, including problems with anesthesia or infection. There is also a risk of facial nerve damage that may occur during surgery and can result in muscle paralysis. Although these complications are rare, they emphasize the importance of choosing a skilled and experienced surgeon.

Minimally-invasive neck lift alternatives

In addition to surgical neck lifting, Dr. Claytor offers a minimally-invasive neck lift that can be performed under local anesthesia using SmartLipo liposuction, the MyEllevate neck lift technique, and Precision Tx neck lift. Watch the video below to learn what these techniques can accomplish without lengthy incisions or extensive downtime.

Dr. Claytors uses a diagram to detail his 3-step technique—liposuction, laser, and Ellevate suture—for a minimally invasive (non-surgical) neck lift.
Video Transcript

Dr. Claytor here. Wanted to share with you the non-surgical neck lift. How does that work? First of all, we need to understand anatomy. So here we have the patient’s jawline. Here’s their jawbone. Here is the underlying bony structure and here is that contour on the neck with that hanging fat. And so it’s not just an excess amount of skin but it’s also extra fat. So how do we deal with that?

First thing we have to do is come in with liposuction, so that’s a liposuction cannula. Then we take and come in just behind the ear and go down here and suction out that fat. And so you can see these small holes at the end of the liposuction cannula suck out that fat. And that helps reduce the amount of fat volume that’s in the neck. That was really all we had years ago.

And then we moved on and we developed the precision TX SmartLipo laser. So this is a laser that we can put in also just behind the ear and reach down here, or you can also enter just underneath the chin here and come in. And the thing that’s unique about the Precision TX SmartLipo laser is that it’s bi-directional. It shoots out the end of the laser as well as out the side so it’s a side-firing laser as well. And what that allows me to do is turn, and so I can turn that laser and shoot out at the skin, or I can shoot down at the underlying muscle. When I shoot out at the skin I’m tightening the skin. When I shoot down at the muscle I’m removing the fat layer in addition to the liposuctioning.

Then, really, the exciting part about the non-surgical neck lift is the Ellevate suture. This is a absolutely transformative part of neck rejuvenation. And the reason for that is we can remove this fat, we can tighten the skin, but ultimately we’re left with the basic triangle that makes up the angle of the jaw. And we’ve got this extra skin here. If you want to take this distance which is longer than this distance and bring that tissue back up and recreate that beautiful neckline.

So how do we do that with the Ellevate suture? So this is the device here; it detaches so that I’m able to pass it through and then reattach it to the light source. And the reason the light source is important is it helps get it that exact level as you’re doing that tissue dissection. And so you start out right here in the middle: so we’ll bring down our magnets. which represent the pivot points. Again remember the first part is the liposuction where we go in with the cannula and we remove most of the fat cells. Now the problem with that, if you do that then you may have the hanging skin. So you come along with the precision TX SmartLipo laser and you go in and—remember it’s bi-directional so you can be firing the laser into the skin which helps with skin tightening and also removing more of the fat.

Now we need to work on taking that loose skin that’s had the fat removed with liposuction and the skin tightened with the Precision TX, and we need to tighten it using the Ellevate suture. So the way we do that is this enters into the tissue and then I slide it along here and then pull through the suture. So effectively what this looks like is, I put this stitch here and then I reattached this, and now I’m able to tunnel over to my next point. And so I go over to here and then when I pop out of the skin I’m able to pull this through. And this sits like such. So you can start to see how this suture underneath the skin is going to allow for the redraping and pulling.

The real key is that we need to anchor it up here. That is the anchor. Now we’re going to come up to here—the suture is going to go along to here. And then we’re going to go up tunnel again further and come out right behind the ear. The ear has a dense amount of connective tissue attached to the mastoid bone and will allow us to anchor the suture as we’re pivoting and coming back down here where we want to have the pull, and pull this tissue back but it needs to be anchored off of here. So now we come along here, bring it through here, pop it out, draw it through the tissue, and the suture ends right here. So you can see that by pulling on this, what’s going to happen is this tissue will be moved. Now that tissue will be moved back in that direction by the pull that’s pivoting off of that anchor. As the suture pulls, everything that’s been loosened up with the liposuction and the Precision TX allows now the new neck contour comes like that.

The truly amazing part of the Ellevate suture technique is as this is tied together—and this is a permanent suture—that takes and moves this neckline back and creates this beautiful jawline and it holds it because it’s permanent. It’s percutaneous because the biggest incision that I had to make was as big as this which is about two millimeters in size. So they’re virtually invisible incisions. And then the most important thing is that the old neckline, which was here, if you draw a line out comes out some point over here. Now the new neckline: you draw a line up here, comes right through the base of the nose. By doing so, now this beautiful neckline has been created, and it’s being held in place with the Ellevate suture after the fat was liposuctioned out and the skin and muscle were tightened with the Precision TX Smart Lipo. So this is the minimally invasive—or really even you could call it the non-surgical—neck lift. I hope you found this helpful. Thanks so much.

Schedule a consultation

If you are interested in a neck lift, and would like to see if you are a good candidate, contact our Bryn Mawr office at (610) 527-4833 to schedule a consultation.

References »

Gonzalez R. Composite platysmaplasty and closed percutaneous platysma myotomy: a simple way to treat deformities of the neck caused by aging. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2009. doi: 10.1016/j.asj.2009.04.007. 

Robenpour M, Fuchs Orenbach S, Hadash-Bengad R, Robenpour O, Heller L. The Wide Suture Suspension Platysmaplasty, a revised technique for neck rejuvenation: A retrospective cohort study. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2021. doi: 10.1111/jocd.14001.

Fedok FG. Another Look at Platysmaplasty in Facelifting. Facial Plastic Surgery. 2020. doi: 10.1055/s-0040-1714062.

Giampapa VC, Mesa JM. Neck rejuvenation with suture suspension platysmaplasty technique: a minimally invasive neck lift technique that addresses all patients’ anatomic needs. Clinics in Plastic Surgery. 2014. doi: 10.1016/j.cps.2013.09.005.

Areas Served:

Portrait of Dr. Claytor smiling

Medically reviewed by Dr. R. Brannon Claytor — Updated on Feb 20, 2024