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 22

Neck Lift Recovery Time!

The recovery from a neck lift can be surprisingly quick, especially if your surgeon uses a rapid recovery protocol.  A rapid recovery protocol includes a twilight combined with tumescent anesthesia, no drains, removal of the dressing the next day, hot showers the next day and up and around walking the next day.  With this method, my patients are generally able to get back to work within a week.  The big problem is usually the residual swelling that does not look bad but people who know you well will likely notice the swelling and hopefully an improvement in your appearance.  There will be bruising but this can always be covered up with makeup.  With this technique, you will not need any narcotics and all my patients ever use is some Aleve or something similar.

You should love the results.  Everyone who has a neck lift in my practice is thrilled with their outcome.  The saggy neck is an aged look and correcting can be one of the best things you can do for your looks!

I hope that helps and if it does please give it and up vote at the top right at the "report' button.  Thanks.

Best regards.

Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Neck lift recovery

Neck lift recovery, on average, takes 12 -14 days. The first night you will have a dressing on around the neck that will be removed the next morning. At that time, in our office, we allow you to get in the shower.  Afterwards, we have our patients wear a light elastic band around the neck the first week as much as possible. Also, the first week, we recommend no heavy lifting, working out, or bending over. So, this week, you can't lift your kids or your pets or tend to your garden. You really want to take it easy otherwise you'll worsen the bruising and swelling.

On day 7, the stitches are generally removed, you're allowed to wear makeup in our practice, and we allow you to start working out. The problem with the second week is the bruising and swelling. You can do things around the house but you may not want to be seen at work or by your friends until day 12 after surgery.

Mike Majmundar, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Neck Lift Recovery

It is all relative. I agree with your statement. You don't need "a lot of work". 

After one week the swelling will be significantly reduced. You will have bruising which will go through the typically phases and colors of a normal bruise (similar to your breast and tummy tuck).   After about 8 days you will be able to mask things with cover-up. At the two week mark You should be able to go out in public without much concern. I would have some nice scarfs available. As you said every patient is different, medications, lifestyle and genetics are variables we can't control as surgeons and are just as important as technique.

Best of luck,


Benjamin Caughlin, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Neck Lift Recovery. What is the Real Downtime?

Thank you for your question. After the neck lifting operation the recovery period depends on your physical status, age, general health and condition mainly. The operation itself does not take too long therefore you receive a mild anesthesia. Since the anesthesia that you receive is mild; you will not have problems associated with anesthetic agents after the operation. You can start to do your daily activities just after the operations but we do not advise you heavy lifting, running or activities that require excess physical activity. The more you rest, the faster your recovery will be.

Bulent Cihantimur, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

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. 

Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 9 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
4.3 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Stages of recovery

Your neck skin will look red and bruised in some areas more than others for the first few days after surgery. Those areas will then fade to a yellow and then dissappear between 1-2 weeks. Swelling will decrease over a two week period. We recommend taking arnica 4-5 days before the surgery and during recovery to help decrease bruising. Bromelain (an enzyme) in pinnapple helps reduce swelling as well. Finally we always recommend no blood thinning meds 2 weeks before or after surgery.

Marshall T. Partington, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Really, how long does recovery for a neck lift last?

not all neck lifts are the same. Therefore not all recoveries are the same. For a patient that has significant excess adipose tissue which means excess fat in the neck region there will be significantly more dissection and soft tissue redraping. This will clearly result in a longer recovery period. In terms of the excess skin for patient to have much more loose skin due to animation deformities the recovery will  also require a significantly more extensive dissection and tissue  redraping with more tension put on the wound closure. Often drains are used to help remove postoperative fluid accumulation for the first 24 hours. Surgeons who use concomitant lipo suction techniques with tumescent fluid will note a decrease in the postoperative ecchymosis or bruising.  The bruising is often what extends and pro long is the recovery period. As this often is a noticeable side effect of the surgery. While this can be disguised or hidden with make up it can be long-lasting. In terms of recovery we often share with patients that full recovery will be achieved by one month but many simple activities can resume in 1 week. 

R. Brannon Claytor, MD, FACS
Bryn Mawr Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

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
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 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.

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.