Does Neck Lift Help Improve the Jawline?

Does a neck lift improve the look of the far edges of the jawline? Is there any procedure that lifts the jawline or do you need a full lower face lift?

Doctor Answers 46

Jawline Improvement

As the jawline and neck are immediately adjacent, patients with aging changes along the jawline such as jowls can have those issues addressed at the same time as a necklift. The skin of the jawline is elevated in continuity with the neck skin to restore a smooth jawline contour. For many patients I combine this with structural fat grafting of hollow areas and conservative liposuction of excessively full areas to produce a jawline contour that is as smooth and youthful as possible.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 120 reviews

Lifting the jawline => Lower facelift; Improving neck => Necklift

Improving the Jawline

If your main concern is your jawline, then a lower facelift or mini-facelift will address the smoothing of the jawline, if there is jowling or sagging of fat below the jawline. Since the jawline is part of the lower third of the face, this is why we call it a lower facelift. A mini-facelift or mini-lift is also a type of lower facelift, which implies that less work on the deeper layers was performed, or it is performed under local anesthesia, and in some cases, it takes a very short time to complete.

Three Facial Zones and the Neck

Since the face can be divided into thirds, the upper third (forehead), the middle third (cheeks/cheekbones) and lower third ( the lower cheek and jawline, the neck is actually below the face, and in a zone by itself. Lower facelifts and mini-facelifts can affect the midface and neck, simply by the fact that it is bordering on the those two zones; however, the improvement from a lower facelift alone on the midface/cheeks or neck profile, will be limited.

What is a Necklift?

A necklift involves, removing any excess fat, tightening any hanging muscle bands or cords (platysmal muscle bands) either by tying the middle edge of the muscle cords together, and/or tightening the outer edge of the platysmal muscles to an area behind the ears. Once the fat and muscle of the neck is contoured and tightened, the excess neck skin is excised (removed) from an incision behind the ears and into the hairline.

Synergy of Lower facelift and Necklift

There is a reason, why you commonly see the term lower facelift and necklift together as a combination procedure. The two adjacent areas when lifted together as a unit has "synergy" and seems to give a better result, than when the two procedures are performed alone. In the right patients with a perfect neck, and isolated sagging of the jawline, a mini-lift or lower facelift alone can be performed as the "correct" procedure for that patient, while another patient with a perfect jawline but isolated sagging (mild) of the neck may be a candidate for a necklift alone (incisions behind the ears and sometimes an additional incision under the chin to access the middle edge of the platysma muscle.)

Necklift Alone?

When can a necklift be performed alone? If the patient doesn't have too much excess facial skin on their lower face, then potentially a necklift alone with incisions starting at the back of the earlobes and in the crease behind the ear into the hairline can be performed. However, if the person has too much excess facial skin, or excess skin directly below their chin, then a lower facelift may need to be performed at the same time to get the best result, and prevent pleating of skin from the lower face around the base of the earlobes. In these cases, the lower facelift give the surgeon a longer incision around the front of the ear in order to remove the excess facial skin and also redistribute the skin that is directly under the chin.

Does Neck Lift Help Improve the Jawline?

If it is a necklift only, then it may help a little bit, or it may not do anything at all. If your surgeon's definition of a necklift is really a Lower facelift and necklift combination, then it should do the trick. A necklift is really for improving the neck profile, but does not improve the quality of the neck skin. When the neck skin has lost elasticity, stretching the skin can make the skin look younger, but if you pinch this same skin after surgery, the loss of elasticity and crepiness of the thin skin is still apparent. So it is really an appearance or illusion of youth, but does not actually make your neck young like it was in your 20's and 30's.

Expectation Management

If you are a good candidate for a necklift and your jawline isn't that bad and doesn't bother you, then you can have a necklift alone. If you happen to get a slight improvement of the jawline, then consider it a bonus, but if you don't get any improvement, then you will also be okay with that result, too.

If your jawline really bothers you, and you are hoping a single procedure (necklift alone) will take care of the neck and jawline, then it is likely wishful thinking and you will likely be disappointed, and the combination of the lower face and necklift may be the better option for you, after considering all of the risks and recovery (of course.)

Consult with a Board-Certified Facial Plastic or Plastic Surgeon in your area to get their opinion. I hope that makes sense and Good luck.


Dr. Yang

George Yang, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Make sure your definition and your surgeon's definition are the same

When discussing lower facial and neck rejuvenation with your surgeon, be sure that the two of you are talking about the same thing. Some folks use the term neck lift to address just the neck, others the neck and jawline, and the same goes for a lower facelift.

I think it is relatively a rare thing to find a patient that only needs their neckline improved and has a perfect jawline with no jowling whatsoever. Consequently, a lower facelift that addresses the neck, jawlines and jowls is usually the best choice, adds very little extra time to the procedure, and gives the most complete rejuvenation with only a slightly longer scar.

Invest in yourself, do your homework and be clear with your surgeon about what you want-- this is the best chance at a wonderful, natural, and lasting result!

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Usually a facelift and necklift

The best and most effective way to rejuvenate the jowl area is a face and necklift.

A necklift alone, defined either as a submental procedure tightening the platysma and removing fat, or a neck-only lift with incisions behind the ear, does not rejuvenate the jowls well, in my opinion. The effect of pulling and redistributing of deeper tissues from above and below is simply not there.

Minilifts pull slightly but are weakest for the biggest problem, namely jowl and neck rejuvenation.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

The neck lift corrects the neck with minimal improvement to the jaw line!

The goal with all facial cosmetic procedures is to look and feel natural, refreshed, and younger by setting the clock back a few years. In general, the neck lift corrects the neck with minimal improvement to the jaw line. To fully correct the jaw line and neck, a formal face and neck lift procedure is required. There are several variations of face and neck lift procedure that the surgeon may choose from to yield the best result. I would strongly advise you to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon or facial plastic surgeon experienced in facial rejuvenation to find out what method works best for you.

Thanks for your question.

Stephen A. Goldstein, MD
Englewood Plastic Surgeon

Neck lift helps the neck, Facelift helps the jawline


Many patients are in your same situation. They do not want to undergo a lower or full facelift, but their real concern is their jaw line. A neck lift addresses the neck, while a lower facelift addresses the jawline. The difference in terms of the incisions required is just the matter of a few centimeters, but the difference in terms of the final result is substantial. Please to not cheat yourself out of a nice result by deceiving yourself into thinking that a neck lift is going to give you the same results as a lower facelift.

I hope this is helpful.

David Shafer, MD
New York City

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Neck Lift and improvement in jawline, jowls, and neck line

There are many nuances of a typical face lift and neck lift. Every surgeon approaches these two areas in a slightly different way. Surgeons may focus or prioritize elements of the skin, platysma bands, SMAS, volume, and facial proportions in completely different ways. These approaches reflect the priorities of the surgeon, the desires of the patient, and the practicality of a particular surgery.

In general, a neck lift should improve the specific anatomic units of the jawline and jowls. This should be discussed with your surgeon prior to surgery to clarify specific considerations and improvements.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

It depends on how much loose skin you have.

To Buffy,

A neck lift is done through a short incision under the chin and corrects a double chin. When done alone, it is great for younger patients and particularly for men.

Whether a neck lift will clean up your jaw line depends primarily on how much excess skin there is. This in turn depends on age, smoking, sun damage, and other factors. So really it depends on your anatomy.

If there is a lot of loose skin, then you probably need a face lift as well.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Neck Lift Can Help Define the Jawline

When performing a neck lift, I first tighten the underlying platysmal muscle to angulate the jawline. I also tighten the deeper tissue around the lower part of the ear, which pulls up the lax skin underneath both the neck and the jawbone. If you have jowls or a double-chin, liposuction may be necessary to achieve optimal results. A well-performed necklift will make the entire jaw and neck area look smooth, toned, defined and youthful.

Jonathan Kulbersh, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Targeting Jawline

Thank you for your question.  I advise most of my patients to combine Facelift and Necklift, as their biggest concerns being their jowls and neck, therefore giving continuity and a well defined jawline.  If your main concern is your jowls and jawline a lower facelift would target these areas more successfully.  I have pioneered my Concept Facelift, which targets the SMAS muscle and skin, therefore giving the same longevity as a traditional facelift, however is performed under local anaesthetic.  This ensures a significantly reduced recovery period, with minimum swelling and bruising, therefore patients returning to their daily routines within 5-7 days. 
Please make sure you find a reputable and qualified plastic surgeon who can assess you properly to give you a realistic idea of what outcome you can achieve.

All The Best 

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.