Expert Doctor


Posted October 04, 2017

Neck lift, also known as cervicoplasty, is a plastic surgery procedure intended to improve the contour and appearance of the neck. The procedure often involves removing excess skin from the neck as well as fat between the muscle and skin layer. In order to get positive results, it is sometimes necessary for the surgeon to work underneath the muscles of the neck to manipulate their deeper structures. The type of neck lift approach chosen by the surgeon should be customized for the individual as opposed to using the same technique for every patient. Overall, the goal is to provide a rejuvenating appearance and smooth contour to the neck.

Am I A Good Candidate For Neck Lift (Cervicoplasty)?

In general, a GOOD CANDIDATE includes a person who:

  • Wants to fix wrinkles and creases
  • Has vertical bands of loose or hanging skin
  • Wants to improve a poorly defined jawline
  • Suffers from a “turkey neck” or double chin

There are also people who are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES:

  • Overweight or obese people with more complex neck anatomy or a lot of fat accumulation
  • Some people who have isolated fat accumulation might be a candidate for liposuction or open lipectomy of the neck as opposed to a more traditional neck lift
  • Patients in poor overall health
  • Those who smoke frequently and/or on a regular basis
  • People with unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved

The approach chosen by the surgeon depends on what patients expect out of the procedure. The surgeon needs to make a determination about which technique is best to achieve a result that is realistic as well as aesthetically pleasing to the patient.

How is Neck Lift (Cervicoplasty) Performed?

Cervicoplasty is performed according to the needs of the patient. There might be more than one procedure performed during the surgery so the time in the operating room varies according to the patient. Many patients combine a neck lift with a brow lift, a facelift or eyelid surgery.

  • Cervicoplasty can be performed under general or local anesthesia and the patient normally goes home the same day. Small incisions are placed under the chin and behind the ears so the excess skin can be removed. The surgeon cuts, and then lifts, the skin in order to reach the excess skin. Once the excess skin is removed, the remaining skin is re-draped over the neck for a tighter and smoother appearance.
  • Patients who wish to get their desired results via liposuction have the liposuction performed first. The surgeon makes an incision to remove the excess fat through a small cannula. The cannula breaks up the fat and then removes it from the area of the neck being targeted. There will be some swelling and bruising after the liposuction but patients will see the elimination of a double chin and a refined jawline as a result.
  • Platysmaplasty is where the superficial muscles of the neck are tightened, or removed, in order to get rid of the appearance of band lines under the neck while providing a more youthful appearance. Once the work on the muscles under the neck is addressed, the skin is pulled tight and the incisions are closed.
  • A neck lift can also be performed endoscopically and this results in even smaller incisions, reduced bruising and a faster recovery time.
  • Alternative non-surgical options such as Thermage (radiofrequency), Ultherapy (ultrasound) and Kybella (injectable) are minimally invasive and do not really target the skin. More importantly, they do not address the anatomical issues of aging like cervicoplasty does for a patient.

How Much Does Neck Lift (Cervicoplasty) Cost?

The cost of a neck lift varies according to the technique used by the surgeon. In general, cervicoplasty prices vary based on the items involved in the procedure. It could be in the price range of $3000-$14,000 but patients can expect to add another $1000-$4000 if they also utilize liposuction. If the patient has platysmaplasty (reconstruction of the neck muscles) as well, the overall price is usually around $6000-$8000.

Recovery and Downtime

Following a neck lift, patients should expect to take 2-3 weeks off work for recovery. They will also need a family member to stay with them for a few days as they will be confined to bed. Prescription pain medication should be able to control any pain.

It is best for patients to wear shirts that button up in the front during the recovery period as pulling clothes over the head will be difficult.

There will be some bruising and swelling after the surgery. Patients cannot perform any heavy lifting or sports for a few weeks after surgery.

The length of the recovery time will be longer if the neck lift is combined with another procedure such as a face or brow lift.


There will be some improvement that can be seen immediately but the results will continue to improve over time. The final results can usually be seen within 6-7 months. Overall, the results should last between 5-10 years.

Limitations and Risks of Neck Lift (Cervicoplasty)

The biggest LIMITATION is probably the patient’s health.  If the patient is not healthy, or morbidly overweight, the doctor will have to take that into account before performing surgery.

It is often necessary to treat patients before the surgery with good skin care, or medical skin care, in order to improve the quality of the skin so they can get better results from their neck lift. Preparing the skin before the neck lift improves the odds of having a more lasting cervicoplasty.

Some of the RISKS of cervicoplasty include:

  • Bleeding
  • Hematoma
  • Temporary numbness of the skin
  • Seroma
  • Neck tightness
  • Lumpy skin

The Clock Keeps Ticking

Cervicoplasty may turn the clock back but the clock continues to tick. Even if the surgeon erases eight to ten years from the face and neck, the aging process will continue. While patients are always better off having a neck lift, the natural aging process continues so they may want to have it redone sometime in the future to maintain the natural looking results.


Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - MA

Based on an exclusive interview with Jordan Deschamps-Braly, MD in San Francisco, CA

Article Last Updated on October 04, 2017