Should my Neck Look Like an Elephant Post Op After Face/neck Lift? (photo)

See pics. It's so ugly, but non board certified plastic surgeon says it's normal. Is it true? I'm only 48 and didn't really need a face/neck lift, in my and other's opinion, but I want face skin resurfacing and ps said I should do this first, then resurfacing. Maybe elephant neck is normal post op, but I'd like an opinion. Thanks much.

Doctor Answers 8

Slow healing / neck banding / woody changes

In some patients after facelift or necklift surgery, there is slow healing that can show as banding, edema in focal areas, or uneven incisions.

All good surgeons experience these things from time to time.  It's best to have a very close and frequent communication with your surgeon to make sure you are treating the problem with the right combination of creams, sheeting, possible injections, consideration for atypical infection, possible steroid injection, ultrasound and laser therapy.

It can be frustrating when this happens, but it happens to the best of us, and it sometimes takes time and patience to fix.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 177 reviews

Woody Edema after Neck Lift

     Induration and woody edema following a neck lift can occur depending upon the amount of defatting.  Extensive defatting will produce more induration.  This will resolve.  If there is any concern for fluid collection or infection, intervention may be necessary.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Not Normal??

 You are correct. This does look like a normal post-operative appearance. May I suggest you get your operative report from your surgeon and seek out a second option expeditiously. Consider a member of the ASAPS. They are Board Certified Experts in Revisional Cosmetic Surgery. Best,


Gary R Culbertson. MD, FACS

Gary R. Culbertson, MD
Columbia Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Should my neck look like this

Thank you for your question and for providing the photos. While it is impossible to make an accurate diagnosis on photos alone, the skin of your neck does have an atypical appearance. I would suggest an immediate evaluation by your surgeon. Since he performed the procedure, he should have the best understanding of what was actually done.

If you are uncomfortable with his explanation, I would recommend a second opinion by a board certified plastic surgeon.  While some issues resolve on their own, others need intervention to correct and prevent further worsening. This can only be determined by an examination.

Best of luck with your neck.

Jeff Rockmore

Jeffrey Rockmore, MD
Albany Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Should my Neck Look Like an Elephant Post Op After Face/neck Lift?

Very hard to see the issue on ONLY the close up photos posted. Best to re post straight on, side full face photos. But yes you might be correct in that you seem to have irregular healing of the sub mental skin. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Neck skin irregularity after liposuction

You did not specify the time frame, however, under any circumstances you neck contour and texture looks irregular.  I would return to your surgeon or seek another qualified surgeon to evaluate the wound and make sure there is no fluid retained (seroma) or frank infection. Don't hesitate, as early intervention is important to prevent skin compromise.

Arthur N. Falk, MD
Albany Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

When in doubt see a board certified surgeon

It is impossible to tell from a photograph, but it appears that this is not a typical appearance following a neck lift. I would seek a second opinion from a board certified Plastic or Facial Plastic Surgeon to make sure you are healing normal.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Neck skin after necklift

The skin of the neck can appear distorted and wrinkled after a necklift at times. It can easily take up to 3 months for all swelling to settle to show the final result. At that point if there is excess fat or skin left, it can be removed conservatively. Remember the goal is improvement not perfection. You can see the change between post op day 4 and 15. Keep following it with photos. In the interim, start daily massage of the neck with cocoa butter and vit E . It will help loosen up any scar bands and smooth out the appearance. I look forward to seeing follow up posts.


Dr. J

Disclaimer: This answer is not intended to give a medical opinion and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 107 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.