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Is a Chin Strap Needed After a Neck Lift for Turkey Neck?

After a neck lift to get rid of my turkey neck, would I have to wear a chin strap? If so, how long?

Doctor Answers 26

It's helpful for healing early after the necklift, but ....

Chin Straps: Worth it? or not worth it?

Chin straps are a bit of an annoyance to wear immediately after surgery and have a tendency to fall off.  They are relatively inexpensive and I think, in general, a good investment towards protecting the several thousand dollar investment on your necklift.  

Many surgeons do advocate the use of chin straps (compression dressings) like an ACE type bandage or even the spandex type head, neck and cheek compression dressing you can buy online, in order to give the area under the neck some compression while it is initially healing.  This can help with swelling, as well as give the skin some support as it is trying to heal to its underlying soft tissues (fat and muscle).  I think this compression helps the area to heal faster.  After the initially healing in the first week, the collagen that was made after the surgery is disorganized.  Over the following weeks to months and up to a year, the collagen remodels itself and becomes more organize with the collagen fibers lining up in the same direction, to help the necklift hold its new shape.

I like to use analogies, so here is one which may make some sense.  When we perform plastic surgery, usually it involves some separation of skin from the underlying fat.  When the skin is laid back down, it "glues" itself back down using your own collagen.   A compression dressing would be similar to a clamp used to hold two pieces of wood that you are trying to glue together.  You can place the two pieces of wood with glue together, and it should hold, but if you clamp the wood with glue together, it usually holds much stronger, and there is less likely to be gaps between the area that is glued. 

One Warning 

The chin strap should not be worn too tight.  It should feel like a slight hug on your face.  Why?  Since the neck skin was recently operated on, the blood supply to the skin is not the same as it normally is.  A compression dressing that is too tight can potentially compromise the blood supply to the skin and cause something called "Skin necrosis" which is when the skin doesn't get enough blood and oxygen, and the skin dies.  The skin turns dark, and dries up like a scab.  

This can also happen when the patient is using cold or warm compresses.  If the patient uses ice directly on the skin, it can cause "frost bite" or a cold burn to the skin, and if the patient uses a hot compress or electric heating pad, it can also "cook" the skin.  The skin will also die and turn into a scab.  The skin then needs to heal from underneath, and will likely leave a scar.

Chin straps, cold and warm compresses can be helpful, but should be used as directed by your operating surgeon.  Every surgeon's protocol after surgery may be different and some may use All, some or none of the above.

I wish you the best,

Dr. Yang

New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

A chin strap is optional

gatelli, After neck lift surgery, they will likely place a dressing / chin strap for the first few days. After this, I feel it is optional. One alternative would be to just wear the chin strap at night. However, you should discuss this with your surgeon and follow his/her suggestions.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Dressing after Neck Lift needed only for a few days

The neck dressing we have patients wear is for protection from trauma and to limit the extremes of head motion after surgery. It does nothing after that.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Support typically unnecessary after neck lift, but ask your surgeon


Surgeons vary in the application of post-op elastic support (chin strap) following neck lift (and in the type of surgery they perform). It is important to follow the routine your surgeon recommends, as part of your recovery and care.

When I perform a surgical neck lift, including removal of subcutaneous fat (by suction lipectomy or scissor excision), removal of excess platysma muscle bands, suture tightening of lax muscle, and redraping & removal of the excess skin, I ask patients to wear the elastic support for the first 24-36 hours. After the first dressing change in my office, I do not require that they wear it, but suggest they do if they notice increased swelling. Typically, the neck has relatively little swelling and the support is unnecessary afterward.

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Surgery involves swelling

To reduce the swelling and risk of bleeding after a necklift, a compression garment is advisable for the first 24 hours. After that, you can wear as neede to help minimize the swelling.

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews


Wearing such a device can be particularly helpful in the first few days following a face and/or neck lift to lessen the degree of swelling and bruising.  I recommend that patients wear the customized garment (that we supply for them) at night for the first few weeks following their procedure.  Oftentimes, patients enjoy wearing the garment, as it provides comfort for them in the immediate postoperative period.  I would discuss with your surgeon, as each doctor's regime varies based on preference and technique.

Best of luck!

Jeffrey B. Wise, MD, FACS
Wayne Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Chin Strap Not Needed After a Neck Lift

Hi gatelli, some patients find a chin strap to be reassuring and helpful after neck lift procedure while others do not.  

We not found any difference in either speed of recovery or longevity of result between those who use chin straps and those who do not.  Therefore, we do not routinely recommend the use of a chin strap but do have them available for those patients who are interested in using one.

Tom D. Wang, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Chin Strap After Neck Lift - Optional for Most

Most important is to listen and follow your Plastic Surgeon's instructions.
In my practice my patients are have a light supportive dressing placed in the operating room following their neck lift of face lift and worn for 2-3 days. I do not require a chin strap for all but if there happens to be excessive swelling then I will occasionally suggest its use.

However when just liposuction is performed in the upper neck, a compression garment is recommended for the following reasons:
  1. It restricts the amount of edema that forms and hastens its resolution by mechanical pressure.
  2. It decreases the amount of bruising.
  3. It assists the loose skin in retracting or shrinking.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Compression Following Neck Lift

                  Compression dressings and chin straps are often utilized after neck lift surgery for a variety of reasons. Chin straps minimize swelling, decrease the potential for hematoma and bruising, help remodel soft tissue and help limit neck movement in the immediate post-operative period.

                  The use of chin straps varies and depends on the surgeon’s preference, the magnitude of the procedure and the type of procedure performed. It’s not unusual for chin straps to be utilized for one to two weeks when larger more aggressive procedures are performed. In some cases when minimal procedures are performed, chin straps may not be utilized at all.

                  It’s important to discuss this issue with your plastic surgeon before surgery. Your surgeon should be able to tell you, if a chin strap will be used. 

Chin Strap After Necklift

The most important part of any operation is THE OPERATION.  I don't think that wearing a chin strap will make a bad neck lift better, nor will it make a good neck lift bad if you don't wear one.  I have all my patients wear an Ace Bandage wrap for a week after surgery.  The main benefit of the chin strap is that it helps remind the patient to not turn the head too much, putting extra strain on the incisions behind the ear.  It might help a little with swelling and bruising, but probably not much.  

John Bitner, MD
Salt Lake City Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 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.