Expert Doctor

Neck Lift vs. Facelift

Posted January 30, 2017
Neck Lift vs. Facelift

A neck lift is a plastic surgery procedure that helps tighten only the neck and jowls. It may also include neck liposuction if the patient has significant fat under the chin. A procedure called platysmaplasty should be performed at the same time as the necklift, if the patient has platysmal banding or prominent vertical lines on the neck. In a neck lift, the incision starts at the bottom of the ear and then goes up behind the ear.

On the other hand, a facelift primarily tightens the upper part of the face, and also includes a neck lift to target that area as well. It helps soften the nasolabial folds and pulls the cheek fat that has fallen, to a higher position. This gives a more triangular shape to the face, which is the universal ideal aesthetic. This incision begins just above the front of the ear then goes down along the ear and then up behind the ear.   



The best candidate for a neck lift is someone who has jowling and neck laxity only. This procedure is not ideal for patients who have significant aging in the face.

A facelift is ideal for someone who already shows signs of aging, including jowls, neck laxity, drooping cheeks, and deep nasolabial folds. Since facelifts include a neck lift, the ideal patients for this procedure are those who are in their 50s, because they will typically already show some signs of aging, while still maintaining good skin tone and elasticity.  



A facelift is usually the better surgical option because it allows for a more vertical lift, which is more rejuvenating to the overall facial aesthetic.

However, for people who have only neck laxity, they can solely address that area and manage the face only when it becomes necessary.



A facelift will produce results that are above and beyond a neck lift. Because a neck lift is already included in a facelift, the results will look more even than just doing a neck lift. In a facelift, the neck and face are both smoothed and lifted at the same time creating a more even look throughout.



Both procedures help tighten the neck and sharpen the angle of the jawline. However, a neck lift will not help with anything above those areas. A facelift is the better option for patients looking to have a more complete rejuvenation.

While both procedures provide tightening, they do not change the texture of the skin. Patients who have significant wrinkling might need additional procedures such as laser treatment to achieve the best rejuvenation even after either kind of lift. If the patient has significant volume loss in the face, dermal fillers are the best option to remedy that problem.



With both surgeries, there will be swelling and bruising after the operation, which can last for a couple of days. There can also be some temporary nerve and muscle weakness. Pain may occur but is usually minimal and can be managed by taking mild painkillers.



Downtime may be slightly longer for the facelift since there is more dissection involved. For both surgeries, patients can expect bruising at the base of the neck and the top of the chest. With facelift, additional bruising can be expected in the cheeks. Although the bruising and much of the swelling resolves after a few weeks, complete healing takes several months. 



Patients will see improvements very quickly, as soon as the swelling subsides. The results should last for many years. However, as all patients and skin types are different, those who have very thick, heavy skin may notice some laxity returning sooner than others.



It is crucial for patients to understand that everyone is different and will therefore see different results. There is not one standard, either with results or recovery, that everyone will fall under. A surgeon can explain the specific case to a patient as well as what factors will play into the procedure and determine results. It is important for patients to listen to their advice and not seek answers from unauthorized sources such as the Internet or friends. Choosing a surgeon the patient trusts will guide them in the right direction and leave them with the best possible results.   


Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team- AA

Based on an exclusive interview with John Martin, MD in Coral Gables, FL

Article Last Updated on January 30, 2017