What is the Difference Between Neck Lift and Lower Face Lift?

The pictures make the results look pretty similar. What are the differences in operation?

Doctor Answers 23

Neck lifts and lower facelifts

Aging is not restricted to only the neck area, so it would be unlikely to only need a necklift without the incorporation of the lower facelift as well.  As I perform the surgeries, I include the lower facelift with my necklifts for most of the patients.  Excess skin tightening as well as better muscle tone should include elevation and lateral rotation of the platysmal and SMAS layers with the neck and lower facial skin.


Good luck .


Frank Rieger M.D.  Tampa

Lower Face lift vs Neck Lift - Be sure ears look natural and there are no creases in after photos

Loss of skin elasticity with age (and sun exposure) allows the lateral and lower cheeks, which aren't tightly attached to facial bones, to 'sag'. On either side of the chin are ligaments which hold the skin more tightly against the jawbone (mandible). This is where, and why, 'jowls' develop. I have also observed that many people develop both atrophy of soft tissues and slight recession of the mandible between the chin and the jowl area, which serves to exaggerate the appearance of jowls.

The surgical procedure that has traditionally been referred to as a' facelift' involves mobilizing the skin and soft tissues of the lower face and jawline (and in most cases, the neck), and advancing them upward and laterally to eliminate sagging (jowls) and provide the appearance of improved skin tone. The excess skin is removed.

What is currently referred to as a facelift usually means some combination of surgical lower face rejuvenation with procedures that are designed to improve other facial aesthetic areas: the brow and eyelids, the midface, and the neck. The combination of procedures I perform on any patient are customized for that individual's specific needs and desires, and thus no two 'facelifts' are exactly alike.

The facelift procedure involves incisions that skirt the contour of the ears, using the anatomy of the ear to help conceal them. For a full facelift, the incision starts in the sideburn area, follows the contours of the junction of the ear with the face, curves behind the earlobe into the recess between the posterior ear and the neck/scalp, and then extends into the hairline posteriorly at the top of the ear. When I make these incisions, I design them so that, once fully healed, they may be difficult for even a hairdresser to detect. That goal can often be achieved, and it requires meticulous attention to every centimeter of the closure.

The majority of patients having a facelift surgery also have aging changes in the neck, which can be corrected and improved through a variety of surgical procedures. To improve the neck contours, the facelift can be extended over the jawline and onto the anterior and lateral aspect of the neck. In other patients without major aging changes at or above the jawline, neck rejuvenation alone may be performed. 

Though it is not technically part of the face, a neck with loose, sagging skin can age the face dramatically. A neck lift is a standard part of most facelift surgeries, as the neck skin is mobilized in continuity with the lower face.

Immediately under the skin of the neck is the platysma muscle, which you can easily see in a mirror when you clench your teeth and tighten your jaw. In youth, this paired muscle meets in the midline below the chin. With age, the right and left sides of the platysma often separate, producing vertical 'cords' in the anterior neck. The platysma can be divided anteriorly and tightened during neck lift cosmetic surgery to permanently eliminate these 'cords' and improve the neck contour. One tightened in the midline below the chin, lateral traction on the platysma then creates a 'sling' which elevates the soft tissues below the jawline.

Before selecting a plastic surgeon take time researching surgeons, view many before and after photos and speak to former patients

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Necklift and lower facelift are part and parcel of each other

Nature has created lower face and neck in continuity with each other. Thus they can not be seperated from each other. Necklift requires some overlap into lower face. Similarly lower facelift requires some overlap into neck. Thus they are more or less identical operations. 

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Necklift versus Lower Facelift - What is the Difference?

Thank you for your question. A lower facelift tightens and restores the entire face, neck, jawline, jowls, cheeks, midface and lateral brow.  A neck lift concentrates on the neck below the jawline. Hope this answers your question.  Best of luck to you!

Necklift versus Lower Facelift - What is the Difference?

A lower face lift is always combined with a neck lift but the opposite is not necessarily true. The incisions are almost the same, they go higher to the sideburns in a facelift. A lower facelift corrects the jowls while a neck lift tightens the neck skin and muscles and improve the neck profile.

Mohammed Alghoul, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Neck and lower facelift

The difference between a lower facelift and necklift is probably minimal and in fact might be the same procedure with just different terminology. The names of different lifts in the face and neck can be confusing as they expand but each patient needs to be evaluated to see what type of procedure would be best for them.. Although a lot of catchy names are out there dont be mislead by these but seek out advice from a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who has a lot of experience with facial cosmetic surgery..

G. Wesley Price, MD
Chevy Chase Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Facial aging doesn't stop at the neck line.

The face and neck age together and for the most part a neck lift should include elevation of the lower face. Conversely a lower facelift should include tightening of the neck. In most cases the operation is essentially the same  but may be called a neck lift or a lower facelift depending on the surgeons preference. The one exception is an isolated platysmaplasty which can tighten the mid line neck without having any effect on the face. When performed on its own it is used to improve a sagging neck in a young patient who has no other signs of facial aging.

Thomas Buonassisi, MD
Vancouver Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Necklift versus lower facelift.

Surgeons differ as to precisely what these terms describe.  Simply put, a necklift refers to a procedure that improves the appearance of the structures below the jawline while a lower facelift refers to the lower half of the face, above the jawline.  They are commonly performed together, to the point they may be inseparable.  A necklift will often require an additional short incision beneath the chin.

Glynn Bolitho, PhD, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Lower Face Lift vs Neck Lift

You can try to keep things separate by discussing the lower face (from the cheekbone to the jawline) and the neck (from the jawline to the clavicle), but they are closely related.  If a patient only has muscle bands in the neck with minimal skin laxity, it is possible to do a truly isolated neck lift (by tightening the muscles, and allowing the skin to re-distribute)--but most of the time patients also have significant skin laxity.  When you need to remove excess skin from the neck, a scar will be placed in-front of the ear (to avoid "bunching" of the skin infront of the ear), and that means the cheek has been undermined.  Because of this, the neck operation has crossed-over into the lower face, and you might as well address the jawline.  It is important to discuss your desired outcomes with your surgeon, and listen to how they plan to achieve your goals - it should make sense.  How the operation is named is a bit superfluous.

Neck vs lower face lift. What's the difference?

Neck vs lower face lift.  What's the difference?  Nothing other than semantics.   There are a lot of names flying around out there for facial rejuvenation procedures and you the patient have to be careful and do your homework to make sure you know exactly what you're buying and consenting.   Make sure your surgeon explains, and shows you, what the procedure can accomplish, location of incisions, and potential pitfalls or complications.  

James Wire, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.