All Your Questions About Neck Lifts — Answered

Society at large seems to be in an era of openness regarding plastic surgery and beauty "tweakments." Thanks to everyone from colleagues to celebrities opening up about their experiences with Botox and injectables and other more invasive procedures, it seems the stigma clouding the plastic-surgery industry is slowly beginning to lift.

Still, the specifics on certain procedures remain hush-hush, even though interest has clearly been demonstrated. Take, for example, neck lifts. The most popular video on TikTok on how to fake one has earned upward of four million views, and even Kris Jenner documented her experience after getting the surgery on season six of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians." Yet there is still some mystery surrounding what exactly the procedure entails or even how much it costs.

If you're curious to know more, we asked Jaimie DeRosa, MD, plastic surgeon at DeRosa Center Plastic Surgery & Med Spa, for everything you need to know about neck lifts. From how invasive they are to whether they're covered by insurance and even how long the results last, keep reading.

What Is a Neck Lift?

"A neck lift is a surgical procedure that is performed to help to correct neck laxity and reduce excess skin, and sometimes fat, from the neck," Dr. DeRosa tells POPSUGAR. "It is typically performed in conjunction with at least a lower facelift that addresses hanging skin and laxity along the jawline and lower cheek area, including the jowls."

Considered a rejuvenation procedure, a neck lift can make the neck appear more lifted and defined for an overall more youthful profile. "People often get neck lifts in order to create better definition in the neck, often trying to get more of a '90-degree' neckline angle from the jawline to the neck," Dr. DeRosa says. "Neck lifts are also good for correcting issues like a 'turkey neck,' and they remove hanging, redundant neck skin that can develop as people age."

While the procedure is highly nuanced, there is a general consensus regarding the way that neck lifts are performed. "Your doctor will make an incision along the back of the ear and sometimes into the hairline behind the ear, elevating the skin of the neck from this vantage point to start," Dr. DeRosa says. "This tightens the fibrous tissue underneath the skin to help 'pull' the neck back into a more youthful position. Toward the end of the surgery, excess skin is trimmed and removed before the incision is closed."

The level of invasiveness from a neck lift is dependent on how drastic of a change you'd like to see. "Depending on the degree of skin elevation and other items addressed in a neck lift, it can range from minimally invasive to relatively invasive," Dr. DeRosa says. "Some procedures may entail extensive work such as tightening the platysma muscle (platysmaplasty), removing fat from the area under the chin (submental liposuction), and tightening up the glands under the jawline (submandibular gland pexi)," she says.

If you're not sure what direction you'd like to go in, start by asking your doctor the differences between a "mini neck lift" and a "deep plane neck lift," which are minimally and more invasive, respectively, then see which more closely aligns with your personal vision.

Neck-Lift Recovery Time

The good news? Neck lifts have a relatively short healing time. "Downtime can vary, but in general, there are sutures around the ear that are removed or dissolve in five to seven days," Dr. DeRosa says. "There may be bruising and swelling as well that can lengthen downtime for another week or so, but in general, my patients have about a week of downtime after a neck lift and then can go on with their daily activities."

As for how long the procedure lasts, that's a bit more fluid of an answer. "The results of a neck lift can last from about five years to over 20, depending on the degree of surgery performed," Dr. DeRosa says. Still, do keep in mind that other factors, such as skin damage with loss of elasticity and rapid weight gain and loss, may also affect the longevity of the results.

Neck-Lift Before and After

Neck-Lift Cost

Since neck lifts are often an elective procedure, they are typically not covered by insurance, so you will have to pay out of pocket. "The cost can range from around $8,000 to over $50,000," Dr. DeRosa says. This pricing range depends on the market in which you live, your surgeon's fees, the exact procedure you get, and other factors.

When it comes to any major surgery, you should always opt for certified professionals who have a proven track record of achieving the results that you are looking for — even if it will cost you a bit more. Still, finding the right provider is one of the most crucial steps in this entire process. "There are only two certifying organizations in the United States — the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS) and the American Board of Plastic Surgery — that certify surgeons to perform plastic surgery," Dr. DeRosa says. "These certifications tell a patient that your surgeon has gone through a rigorous training program as well as the appropriate exams and have proven their ability to perform plastic surgery safely." If you are lost on where to find a provider, you can't go wrong with starting your research on either of these websites.

How to Prepare For a Neck Lift

Preparing for a neck lift is just as important as the surgery itself, so there are a few steps that Dr. DeRosa recommends prior to the procedure. "You should prep for neck lift by avoiding excess salt and alcohol for at least two weeks prior to surgery," Dr. DeRosa says. "Additionally, avoid things that can cause bleeding such as aspirin."

On the day of surgery, you'll want to follow your surgeon's recommendations. This typically includes avoiding eating or drinking for eight hours before surgery and coming into the surgical center without makeup and wearing comfortable clothing. "Afterward, you'll want to limit strenuous exercise and drastic head movements during the early postoperative time to help decrease risks such as bleeding or a blood collection under the skin, also called a hematoma," Dr. DeRosa says. "Once the incisions are healed, you'll also want to use sunscreen on the scars to help keep them from getting too dark or white."

As with any plastic-surgery procedure, neck lifts come with risks and possible complications, including bleeding, infection, visible scarring, permanent numbness, and nerve damage, so you'll want to make sure to pick the right surgeon. Be sure to keep an open line of communication with your surgeon from the moment your consultation begins up until the surgery and even after, and make sure they are willing to address any concerns in a way that best suits your needs.