What to Expect with Your Neck Lift Procedure: A Step-by-Step Guide

Apr 20, 2023

The average person spends between three and five hours each day looking at their smartphone. Staring down at screens for such prolonged periods has caused a rapid increase in what is known as “tech neck.” One of the not-so-attractive symptoms of tech neck is the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles down the neckline.

This is one of many reasons more people are choosing to visit our Lexington Plastic Surgery and Dr. Theo Gerstle.

A neck lift procedure can also treat:

  • Loose, sagging neck skin
  • Irregular neck contouring due to muscle banding
  • Excess skin under the chin
What to Expect with Your Neck Lift Procedure: A Step-by-Step Guide

(Lucija Ros/Unsplash)

Step 1: Consultation

You’ll begin by making an appointment with a trusted plastic surgeon. During the initial consultation, your surgeon will examine your neck, review your medical history, and discuss your desired outcomes. They may also wish to take photographs for reference. This is a great time to bring up any questions or concerns you may have about the procedure.

Step 2: Preparation

You may need to make small changes to your daily lifestyle and routine in the weeks leading up to your procedure. For example, your surgeon might ask you to:

  • Receive a medical evaluation and lab testing
  • Begin taking certain medications
  • Avoid taking certain medications
  • Stop smoking

You should stay hydrated both before and after the procedure. It is also wise to stock up on groceries and supplies you might need during your initial recovery and arrange reliable transportation and care following the procedure. We recommend having someone stay with you for the first 24-48 hours. You’ll also need to take several days off of work, so try to arrange this well in advance.

Finally, ensure that you are going into your neck lift procedure with as little anxiety as possible.

Step 3: Anesthesia

When you arrive for your procedure, you will be placed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia and sedation. Many who have never experienced being “put under” feel some nervousness regarding this aspect of the procedure. However, those who have been through it will tell you that it is typically quick, easy, and painless. If you’re feeling anxious about anesthesia, try using relaxation techniques such as visualization and deep breathing, and bring a support person with you on the day of your procedure.

Step 4: Incision

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, it’s time for the procedure to begin. Your surgeon will make small, discreet incisions in the creases of the neck, underneath the chin, or behind the ears. Utilizing multiple, smaller incisions allows for faster healing and less scarring. If you are having other procedures done along with your neck lift, you may need additional incisions.

Step 5: The Procedure

The nature of your procedure depends on your individual needs and desires. If you’ve opted for liposuction, your surgeon will insert a small tube into the incision, drawing out excess fat.

During a full neck lift, fat from the neck and jowls is redistributed or sculpted. The platysma may be tightened, and the tissue beneath the neck will be repositioned.

Step 6: Closure

In most cases, sutures are used to close the incisions. Some sutures dissolve on their own; others will need to be removed after a few days.

Once the surgeon is finished, the surgical sites will be bandaged, and you will be given a neck garment which will keep a light amount of pressure on the area and aid in healing. Finally, you’ll be taken to a recovery room, where you will be monitored until the anesthesia has worn off and you are ready to be sent home.

Step 7: Recovery

Following your procedure, you will likely feel some swelling and discomfort in and around the neck, accompanied by moderate bruising. Pain will be mild to moderate and can be treated with medication as recommended by your surgeon. Your surgeon will instruct you on caring for the incision sites, so be sure to follow these instructions carefully.

As previously mentioned, it is important to have someone at home with you, at least for the first 24-48 hours of recovery, to help cook meals and perform other tasks that may strain your neck too much. We also recommend that patients take at least one month away from work to rest and fully recover.

At 3-4 weeks, you will be given the “all clear” to resume regular housework, light movement, and short, frequent walks around the house, which will prevent blood clots and promote healing. Speak to your surgeon before adding exercise back into your routine, and expect to wait at least six weeks before attempting vigorous activities.

Follow-up appointments will be scheduled for the purpose of monitoring your healing process. If, however, you experience any severe pain, additional bruising, or abnormal discharge from the incision sites, contact your surgeon immediately.


Once the swelling and bruising have gone, you’ll begin to notice immediate results. However, it can take several weeks for more drastic effects to become apparent, often several months before the change is fully visible. With this in mind, try not to feel discouraged if things aren’t looking just as you had hoped directly following your procedure.

It is also helpful to remember that a neck lift will not stop the aging process. It will, however, create a lasting improvement in the appearance of your neck and chin, keeping you looking and feeling young for years to come. You can prolong the results of your procedure by exercising regularly, adopting good nutrition habits, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.

Questions? We have performed countless neck lift surgeries for Louisville and Lexington patients and are happy to help you understand more about the process. Contact us today.


Are you experiencing tech neck? One of its unsightly symptoms is the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles along the neckline. If you’re considering neck lift surgery but feeling apprehensive about the process, learning about what happens during the procedure can ease your concerns. Take a look at this infographic for a step-by-step guide on the neck lift procedure.

7 Steps of a Neck Lift Procedure Infographic