Skip to content
Home » Blog » Neck Lift Scars: Prevention And Treatment

Neck Lift Scars: Prevention And Treatment

Home » Blog » Neck Lift Scars: Prevention And Treatment

Neck Lift Scars: Prevention And Treatment


    What Do Neck Lift Scars Look Like?

    Before considering a neck lift to tighten up sagging skin in the neck and under the chin, patients should be aware that, like any surgical procedure, there may be some residual scarring. 

    Temporarily noticeable scarring is a natural part of the healing process, and most patients experience some swelling and bruising at first, but this resolves within about four weeks. After this point, the new contours of the neck will gradually become visible. Patience is vital to being happy with your results, and be aware that for swelling to diminish completely may take up to three months.

    During a neck lift, or deep plane neck lift in more advanced cases, underlying tissues and muscles are repositioned and tightened, excess fat and skin removed, and the skin tightened, each helping to sculpt the neck. A neck lift leaves a more defined jawline and reveals the natural, youthful contours of the neck and chin.

    Incisions during a neck lift are typically placed around the ears and under the chin so the surgeon can target the central part of the neck and work on the deeper structures of the neck and lower face. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the exact placement and length of scars depends on the degree of aging.

    Your scars will likely appear red for the first few days after neck lift surgery. They will gradually fade to purple over the following weeks and months before becoming white and virtually unnoticeable within 6 months to a year. 

    By the 12-month mark, people shouldn’t be able to notice your scars unless they know exactly where to look for them. Experienced board-certified plastic surgeons like Dr. Kaplan have rich knowledge of facial anatomy and the natural contours of the face and neck and carefully hide incisions in specific lines and folds.

    People with certain skin types may be prone to developing hypertrophic scars, which appear thick and pigmented.

    How Do I Prevent Noticeable Neck Lift Scars?

    The gold standard actions to take during neck lift recovery to minimize the visibility of scars are cleaning them thoroughly with saline every few hours or as directed by your doctor and applying Neosporin or petroleum jelly to keep the area clean and the skin moist. One of the number one causes of thickened scars is dried blood, so keeping your incisions moist is vital for scar prevention.

    According to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, avoiding wearing any clothing that needs to go over your head at the beginning of your recovery can help prevent abrasion on your incisions during the healing period.

    Other ways to help speed up healing and reduce the appearance of visible scars include:

    • Elevating the head to reduce swelling
    • Applying cold compresses to the area for the first few days to diminish swelling
    • Applying sunscreen often around the treated areas and minimizing sun exposure to prevent the darkening of scars
    • Avoiding picking your scabs

    How Do I Treat Scars After A Neck Lift?

    If six months to a year go by and your scars still appear thick and red or purple, you may want to consider treatment methods to minimize their appearance as much as possible.

    Over-the-counter medicated creams or gels can help reverse poorly healed scars. We may recommend antihistamine cream if your scar is itchy or sensitive to alleviate itchiness while simultaneously speeding up healing.

    If you visit your plastic surgeon after your neck lift because your scars appear raised, thick, or red, or even turning into what is considered keloids or hypertrophic scars, they may recommend corticosteroid injections. These tiny injections can help minimize inflammation, itching, and discomfort. The amount of steroid injections you need and how often you need them depends on the severity of your scars, but they are sometimes given every few weeks for several months.

    Dermal fillers can help to smooth out the appearance of depressed scars. As injectable fillers do not last forever, these indentations need refilling every 6 months to a year to maintain these results.

    Skin treatments such as laser skin resurfacing also help to remove the damaged top layer of skin and reveal new, healthy skin. These can improve uneven pigmentation and irregularities in the texture of the skin to make scars less noticeable.

    Dermabrasion can also remove the top layer of skin to minimize skin irregularities from scars. 

    Chemical peels can also remove superficial layers of skin. Chemical solution options range from light to deep depending on your skin type, goals, and preferences for recovery time.

    Energy devices such as lasers use concentrated light energy to remove targeted skin irregularities precisely. They are often used to flatten, lighten, and soften the appearance of scars.

    In rare cases, scar revision surgery is the best solution for dramatically reducing scarring. This surgery involves removing the entirety of the scar tissue and covering the area with healthy skin. Surgery can improve the placement, shape, and size of scars.

    It is important to note that these scar revision treatments are not used immediately after surgery, as there should be no scar manipulation in their early development. These are used as “backup” therapies if proper post-op care of your scars does not help them heal correctly.

    Are There Non-Surgical Alternatives To A Neck Lift?

    One way to prevent scars is to avoid surgery altogether. There are non-surgical alternatives to tightening the neck, but the results are much less dramatic and more temporary when compared to neck lift surgery.


    Neuromodulators such as Botox or Dysport can be used in the lower face and neck to reduce the appearance of wrinkly, sagging skin in the neck and define the jawline. These are known as a “Nefertiti lift.”

    Dermal Fillers

    During a “liquid facelift,” dermal fillers can sculpt the neck and jawline by improving laxity and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


    Through thousands of micro-injuries, microneedling can stimulate collagen and elastin production in the neck to tighten the skin in the lower face and neck for a smoother, brighter, more supple appearance.


    PDO threads are dissolvable sutures strategically placed around the neck, jawline, and lower face to lift, tighten, and contour the area without surgery.

    Laser Skin Tightening

    Laser skin tightening treatments such as SkinTyte can reduce the appearance of jowls and wrinkles and define the jawline for a more youthful appearance.

    Laser Skin Resurfacing

    Many laser options are available, which use light energy to improve the skin’s overall appearance, with some addressing surface issues such as deep wrinkles, texture, and fine lines.

    BroadBand Light

    BroadBand Light (BBL) is an intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy that helps improve skin texture and tighten up lax skin in the lower face and neck.

    Are you seeking a solution for excess skin and fat in the neck? Request a consultation with Dr. Gordon Kaplan, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York and New Jersey specializing in facial rejuvenation, to discover if neck lift surgery is for you.

    The Kaplan Center

    The Kaplan Center is a medical practice ran by board-certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Gordon Kaplan in Edgewater, NJ. With over two decades of experience, The Kaplan Center specialises in plastic and reconstructive surgery for the face and body, along with a number of non-surgical treatments.