Neck Lift Safe?

I worry about risking my life - have had two mild MI's, cancer and life-threatening septicemia. But I'm healthy! I screen my photos so the sagging neck doesn't show, but it's severe-looking, maybe because I have a narrow face.

Doctor Answers 14

Is a Neck Lift Safe

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A necklift is a surgical or non-surgical procedure designed to smooth out these wrinkles and folds that occur with age by tightening the tissues that lie beneath the skin and removing extra skin around the #neck and jawline.  

All surgical procedures carry risks. The #complications from a surgical necklift are quite rare, but even the safest surgery carries a small degree of risk. Bleeding , infection, changes in sensation, continued laxity , and asymmetries are some of the rare possibilities. Problems with non-surgical treatments are even more unusual.

While #complications from this safe procedure are rare, there are always #risks that will be discussed with you thoroughly by your doctor. Also, it is important to ask questions of concern during your consultation and pre-op appointments. 

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Neck Lift Safety

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The neck lift operation is usually quite safe.  Your history and physical exam will let us know more about your individual risk. Your Internal Medicine and Cardiology doctors may need to clear you before undergoing surgery.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Safety of Neck Lift

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   The neck lift is a very safe procedure, but anyone who would be a poor candidate for general anesthesia should not undergo elective surgery.  If medical clearance is given by the doctors following you, neck lift surgery may be performed.

Neck lift can be done under local anesthesia with sedation.

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Some people are not healthy enough to have any elective surgery, but if your internist tells you it's ok, a neck lift is really safe.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Safety of Neck Lift

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Generally neck lift surgery is a very safe procedure but you have had some serious illnesses. I would advise you to see your cardiologist to make sure everything is okay with your heart. You do not want to be put under general anesthesia with a life threatening heart condition. If your cardiologist says you are healthy, you should set up a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. Good Luck! “Dr. D”

Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 127 reviews

Necklift surgery and safety

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Dear rellen,

  • You can do surgery with local anesthesia or with some light sedation to avoid complications associated with anesthesia
  • That being said, we use adrenaline in our local anesthetic which could have side effects relating to getting your heart rate up
  • You would definitely need clearance from your doctor, including a stress test (walking on a treadmill and having an EKG) to make sure that nothing goes awry

Best regards,

Nima Shemirani

Nima Shemirani, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Neck lift and safety

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The neck lift operation itself is quite safe, but in light of the fact that myocardial infarction, cancer, and septicemia are medical issues, the patient should be cleared by their cardiologist prior to undergoing elective cosmetic surgery.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Is a neck lift safe?

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Before any elective surgery, I would recommend a complete physical exam with blood work. In addition, I require patients past a certain age to have a stress test performed by a board certified cardiologist. This will determine you are in optimal condition to have surgery performed. A stress test would be highly recommended, since you have had issues with your heart in the past. In general, a neck lift is a safe procedure. As long as your physical and and associated tests show a positive result, you will be in good shape to have the procedure performed. I hope this helps, and congratulations on taking the first step toward improving your appearance with cosmetic surgery!

Paul S. Nassif, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

How safe is a neck lift?

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Good question.  I think the question is not is a neck lift safe but rather is it safe for you to undergo a general anesthesia.  A plastic surgeon can help guide you with this question but it will likely fall on your cardiologist to determine if elective surgery is safe for you.  Of all the issues you have listed I think the cardiac history is the most concerning issue that will need to be worked up by a doctor to make sure you are a safe candidate for surgery.

Shaun Parson, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Neck Lift Safe?

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Neck lifting can be done either as a stand alone procedure or in combination with a lateral facelift procedure. As a stand alone procedure, the procedure is often called a "T Neck" operation whereby the central neck skin is removed directly and the muscle underneath (the platysma) is tied together. The scar is placed in the middle of the neck and it goes down the neck vertically in the midline. For certain individuals, including people with marginal medical issues, the T-Neck can be an effective way to achieve tightening. Because of the scar position, we often do several scar lasers with fractional Co2 lasers to achieve the optimal outcome.


Because of the potential visibility of scars in the central neck, most people get a facelift to achieve neck tightening. Often, the lateral facelift is combined with a central neck procedure called a platysmalplasty to get the best neck lift results. The incisons here are around the ear and in the crease under the chin, such that they are hidden. This procedure is typically more complex, and thus may be considered more risky than the T-Neck operation. However, the results tend to be more comprehensive and most people get great results with this combined operation.


In terms of factors that reduce surgical risk, the most important is achieving a medical clearance from your primary doctor, and makign sure the proper work-up is done prior to the procedure. The other factor that tends to come up with patients who have had MI's is the ability to come off blood thinners for an acceptable period of time. If the clearance is in place, here are things that I have observed in my experience that can further reduce surgical risk:


1. The use of tumscent (dilute) local anesthesia to limit the epinephrine need for the lift. Tumescent anesthesia techniques have advanced greatly in the last 15 years, and they are very helpful in theoretically higher risk patients.

2. The use of oral sedation instead of IV sedation or general anesthsia. Level 1 anesthesia is very safe end effective to reduce surgical risk, and many physicians are returning to this type of sedation especially for face and neck cosmetic surgery.

3. The use of Smart Lipo (1064 frequency) is a very effective way to reduce bleeding and achieve further skin tightening. Tunneling flaps with this device has been a game changer for facelifting in my opinion.

4. The use of barbed absorbable sutures (Quill) can be very helpful in higher risk patients.  The new geenrations of barbed sutures can help physicians get comparable results while trying to limit the flap length extensions.

5. The use of PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) with Thrombin is very helpful to place in a wound in higher risk patients. In my experiecne this can help accelerate healing and reduce issues like bruising.

6. The use of phototherapeutic lights can help acelelrate healing in higher risk patients. We use the Omnilux system and I have seen good results in higher risk patients. We also use post surgical Ultrasound as a way to help accelerate swelling resolution.

7. Finally, proper pre and post surgical care in a high volume clinic is very helpful for higher risk patients. Everythign from the diligence of wrapping the face after a lift to the wound care experience of the specific clinic can help in higher risk cases.  Hope this helps.

Farhan Taghizadeh, MD
Phoenix Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.