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5 Neck Lift Recovery Tips

    If your neck is jowling with crepiness and giving you a “turkey neck,” you may be a great candidate for neck lift surgery. Excess skin with muscle banding in the neck can add years to your appearance, so the neck lift, medically coined as platysmaplasty, provides great facial rejuvenation results. The neck lift defines the jawline, chin, and neck, providing a youthful appearance. Dr. Kaplan often recommends that candidates for face lift surgery combine it with a neck lift to maintain a fully rejuvenated balance throughout the face and neck.

    What happens during neck lift surgery?


    During neck lift surgery, Dr. Kaplan makes a small incision behind your ears and under your chin and carefully removes fat from your jawline under the chin. Neck lift surgery is performed using either local or general anesthetic.

    The most commonly used technique for neck lift surgery is liposuction, as Dr. Kaplan uses specialized equipment to suction fat from beneath the chin and around the jawline. Liposuction provides excellent results if your main goal of the procedure is to remove the fat and reveal the definition in your chin and jawline. However, it does not correct structural issues relating to the appearance of your neck. If your concern goes beyond excess fat and skin around your lower face, Dr. Kaplan will recommend other neck lift surgery techniques that can provide you with your goal results. He may even recommend chin or jawline implants if you want to create a more structured appearance to the lower portion of your face.

    Neck lift surgery takes about one and a half hours to perform. Be sure to plan for recovery ahead of time, including your ride back home from The Kaplan Center.


    You should fully recover from your neck lift surgery within 4-6 weeks. Stitches will be removed within the first week or so after your platysmaplasty. Scars will gradually fade within 6-12 months following your procedure. The first day after your surgery is usually the most uncomfortable, and most pain will begin to alleviate after days two and three. Dr. Kaplan may send you home with a bandage around your face and neck to minimize swelling after your neck lift surgery. A thin tube may be put in place to drain excess fluid from under the skin. Dr. Kaplan will give you specific instructions on maintaining these throughout recovery.

    Around four weeks following your neck lift procedure, you may slowly get back into performing regular activities, but if your body tells you to slow down, listen to it and allow the time to recover completely. Don’t push yourself too hard.


    Like any other type of surgery, there is a recovery period when you should take the proper precautions to maximize healing. You should keep these five tips in mind as you go into your neck lift recovery:


    During recovery from a neck lift, you must keep your head above your heart. Avoiding excess twisting or bending of your neck will minimize swelling. You may need to sleep in a chair to keep your head elevated, but if you opt to sleep in a bed, make sure you have plenty of pillows as a cushion to keep your head above your heart. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, you should not apply ice to the neck during neck lift recovery, which can negatively impact blood flow and damage the skin, threatening the chance of skin death.


    Dr. Kaplan is committed to helping you build a recovery plan that makes your road to healing as smooth and painless as possible. He may prescribe medication, either oral or to apply to scars, to ensure you are healing correctly with the least amount of pain possible. Avoid alcoholic beverages or driving until you stop any narcotic medication for the pain. Medication Dr. Kaplan recommends you apply to the skin will help minimize scarring. Dr. Kaplan may recommend taking extra-strength Tylenol every four hours to reduce pain during recovery. You may be advised to carefully apply Hydrogen Peroxide mixed with warm tap water to the operated site. At six weeks post-op, you may begin the application of vitamin E or cocoa butter to the area.


    To achieve the best results, you should listen to your surgeon’s recommendations regarding downtime and limit strenuous activities for the first three weeks after surgery. You should have someone with you for at least the first 24 hours after surgery to help with any tasks that may be too arduous during your healing. Some light physical activity, such as walking, may be beneficial but be careful not to overdo it. Be gentle with your incisions throughout your recovery, as they can be easily agitated, resulting in the need to return to The Kaplan Center and possibly lead to a revision procedure in the future.

    You are permitted to shower the day after neck lift surgery, but you should be extra gentle while washing your hair, using Johnson’s baby shampoo. Be careful not to snag incisions near or on your hairline while brushing or combing your hair. You can dry your hair with a hair dryer, but only use it on the “cool” setting to avoid heat near the operated site for several weeks after surgery.


    Sun exposure is one of the foremost causes of aging in the neck, leading patients to opt for a neck lift. It is also one of the prime causes of healing disturbances following neck lift surgery. Avoid sun exposure at all costs, and if you have to be somewhere with sun exposure, wear plenty of sun protection and use an umbrella or some other type of protective covering. Ask Dr. Kaplan for any recommendations regarding sun protection following neck lift surgery.


    Following neck lift surgery, as you may imagine, it is difficult and painful to wear a shirt with any type of neckline or even pull it over your head. Dr. Kaplan recommends stocking up on buttoned-down shirts, or zip-up sweaters, to ensure your wound heals correctly without too much friction. These will also provide more comfort if Dr. Kaplan instructs you to wear a specialized garment around your neck for compression to reduce swelling and minimize fluid loss.

    When will I see the final results following neck lift surgery?
    Do not be alarmed if swelling or bruising takes several weeks or months to diminish completely. The healing process after neck lift surgery takes time, but you should be able to see the results you desire 6-12 months following surgery and once the swelling has dissipated.

    If you are ready to change your life, improve your self-confidence, and are prepared to undergo the necessary recovery time with neck lift surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kaplan to see if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure.