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Neck Lift Recovery. What is the Real Downtime? (photo)

I'm 53 and in good shape. Have a great doc who did my t- tuck and brst red. 2 yrs. ago. Don't want to wait too long to do a neck lift bc I heard it looks less natural the longer u wait, but want 2 know this: what's the REAL down time? I know everyone's different, but what are the 'stages' of recovery? Don't need lipo and not having anything else done. I know I'll have to sleep on my back for awhile and take it easy, but I'm more concerned w my appearance during recovery (the irony!) LOL.

Doctor Answers 16

Neck Lift Recovery. What is the Real Downtime? (photo)

We always recommend approximately two weeks for recovery for a neck lift.  A lot of our patients feel better after a week when the initial swelling is reduced. 

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

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Neck Lift Recovery and Downtime

Recovery time from a neck lift or facelift varies from person to person. Typically most patients will be in a had wrap dressing applied in the operating room for 3 days. Keeping your head elevated during the first weeks minimizes swelling. You should be up waliking immedciately after surgery to prevent clots in your legs. Most patients can generally expect to be presentable within three weeks from surgery. Patients should expect swelling, bruising, and discoloration of the skin during this phase of recovery (swelling normally goes down after 48 hours; most bruising will go away within two weeks). The marks from a facelift are noticeable at first, but are easily hidden with a bit of “camouflage” make-up which our experts can teach you to do.
The scars from a facelift mature within six to twelve months from the surgery date. It is during this time that the rejuvenating effects of the facelift will become apparent and the real result will be seen.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Pictures are worth a thousand words

Hi misspurdy,

I agree with the prior answers that the downtime is approximately a week. One thing that I do differently during my consultations is to show actual photos during the recovery. I try to take photos on most of my post operative visits to show actual bruising and swelling during the days following the procedure. I usually see my patients on Day 1, 3, 5 and 8. So I have many photos during this period. After that I see my patients on Week 6, but they already look great at that point, so I think these very early photos are actually more interesting to potential necklift and facelift patients.

I can tell them about the recovery, but when they see the recovery photos, they can judge for themselves when they think they may be suitable to be out in the public or go to work.

I can show the same photos to different patients and one patient may say that they would not want to be seen at all, while another patient feels that they can hide the stitches and bruising and still go to work.

I don't only show the best case scenarios, but mainly the typical bruising, swelling and suture lines, and some that are much more bruised than average.

I think this really helps with setting expectations and often times makes the recovery for the patient easier, when they have seen a patient who was much more bruised or swollen than themselves, they feel reassured and confident that they are doing better than the average patient.

These same patients during recovery are also shown in their final before and after, so that potential patients can understand that this initial recovery is temporary, and even with significant swelling and bruising the results can still be great.


Dr. Yang

George Yang, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Real Neck Lift Recovery Is 2-3 weeks

Thank you for your question.

You will be up and around the day after your neck lift.

Your neck will feel very tight for about two weeks.

The main recovery is the time for bruising to resolve which is usually 2 weeks but can take 3.

You should be comfortable being seen in public after a week or two but may find you want to wear a scarf or turtle neck to cover the bruising.

I recommend not planning photos or an important social event for at least 6 weeks after surgery.

Realistic down time for neck lift

In most cases it takes a week or so to recover from an isolated neck lift. If a neck lift is part of a full facelift and other combined procedures then you can expect this to take a litlle longer. No question you will want to camouflage the face and neck after the surgery but you should be looking good fairly quickly if its the neck on its own.

Thomas Buonassisi, MD
Vancouver Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Neck Lift Surgery Downtime

When I perform a necklift as an isolated procedure (without a facelift), I recommend people to take about a week off. During that week the first day after neck lift surgery, the dressing is removed. At my practice in New York, I do not typically use drains for a neck lift. There's usually some brusing and swelling; this level of swelling diminishes over several days. Most of my patients go back to work and use a scarf or makeup to camouflage 1 week after surgery. After 2 weeks, bruising should have gone away.

Amiya Prasad, MD
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Real down-time

The real downtime of a neck lift varies person to person

Best case scenario 1 week

Average ~ 2 weeks

Sam Naficy, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 164 reviews

Neck lift recovery

The recovery for a neck lift alone is roughly 7-10 days. Quick. If you add your face (facelift) it's more like 2 weeks. Good luck

Neck Lift Recovery. What is the Real Downtime? (photo)

As degrees of neck laxity vary so do the choices in operations and recovery times. The more aggressive the neck lifting surgery, complete opening or undermining, the longer the recovery. This could be as long as a month. For a mini neck lift recovery is short, about a week to 10 days. 

What is the recovery for a neck lift like?

I do neck lifts on patients who have laxity that is isolated to the neck without any signs of jowling or sagging in the face. It is more common that I do a neck lift in combination with a facelift because the aging process typically leads to concurrent laxity in the face and neck. I find that patients are usually more satisfied with a more thorough procedure that addresses the critical areas of aging rather than addressing an isolated area and neglecting another area. If a patient presents with laxity in the face and neck and only the neck is addressed this can actually accentuate the jowling and look worse than before surgery.

That being said, there are patients who do present with isolated neck laxity who would benefit from a neck lift. I typically advise my patients that the bruising will resolve over the first 7-10 days. Things that can be done to minimize bruising include avoiding any type of blood thinning medications or supplements two weeks before and two weeks after surgery and ensuring that your blood pressure is well controlled. I also advise that patients use arnica during the preoperative period which can help minimize bruising. Everybody heals at their own unique pace. I have seen patients who hardly have any bruising stigma and I have had patients who have had bruising into the chest. Regardless, it always resolves.

Swelling can last for a couple of months. Most of the visible swelling will resolve within the first 10-14 days but you may feel swelling for a couple of months. You can have a hard feeling under the chin and up the sides of the neck which takes time to subside. Compression garments and ice can help with the swelling.

I usually advise at least one week of down time and avoiding any strenuous activity for 3 weeks. I would consult with at least 2 qualified and experienced surgeons for a detailed evaluation. Good Luck!

Todd C. Miller, MD
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 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.