How Much Pain is Involved with a Neck Lift?

Will it feel like a bruise? Will it throb, or just tingle?

Doctor Answers 14

Necklift and pain

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Most of my patients tolerate neck lift procedures very well. You essentially have three anesthetic options. You can do the procedure under general anesthetic. General anesthetic ensures that you will not experience any pain during the procedure however, it does prolong the recovery when compared with other options. At least in my experience. In my opinion general anesthesia is overkill for an isolated neck lift procedure.

 Conscious sedation is a second option. Conscious sedation uses sedating medication through an IV and allows your level of sedation to be controlled throughout the case. Most patients tolerate this type of anesthetic well however, compared with local anesthetic, your recovery will be a bit more prolonged.

Local anesthetic is a great option for a neck lift procedure. The advantage of local anesthetic includes a better safety profile for the patient, and a quicker recovery time. A few things to think about if considering doing it under local anesthetic include whether or not you have neck or back pain, anxiety or panic disorder, or restless leg syndrome. Patients who experience the above may have a less than desireable experience when doing the case under local and should be made fully aware of what to expect during the case.

In my experience, patients rarely complain about post-operative pain. Vicodin is usually more than adequate to cover the pain. As long as you are not taking blood thinning medications or supplements your bleeding and swelling should resolve without complication. Keep in mind that although it is less invasive than a facelift it is still a surgery and there is down time involved. Compliance with pre and post-operative instructions is very important.

Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon

Pain after Neck Lift?

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Thank you for the question.

Neck lifting surgery is a very well-tolerated procedure. However, like every procedure there will be patients who report “no pain” and others who report significant discomfort. Minimizing activity that increases blood flow to the area will also help minimize swelling and  potential “throbbing”. For example,  keep your head elevated after surgery may help decrease swelling and resulting discomfort.

You should also expect some numbness in the area of dissection that may last for many months.

I hope this helps.

Pain after Necklift

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The Neck Lift involves minimal post-operative discomfort. Pain medication is prescribed, but it is unlikely it will be needed for more than a day or two following your procedure. Most patients return to work or social activities ten to fourteen days after surgery. Strenuous physical exercise should be avoided for four to six weeks following a neck lift as it can trigger swelling thus causing pain.

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

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Pain after Necklift

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Just as with any surgery, some post-procedure discomfort and pain can be expected following a neck lift. Although a neck lift is considered well-tolerated, every patient will have a different pain response following a the procedure. This is due to their individual threshold for pain and the surgical technique used and the extent of the procedure. Most pain resolves over the first 24-48 hours. Often patients report some tightness in the area, which may last for several weeks this is due to the neck being tightened like a corset. Avoiding strenuous activity can help reduce the risk of discomfort. In addition, discomfort can be managed with prescription medication if needed.

Neck Lift: Minimal Pain and Recovery

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In my practice in New York and Long Island, our neck lift patients report very little discomfort after I perform a neck lift surgery. There is typically a small amount of bruising and swelling post-surgery, and necklift patients can sometimes return to work in as soon as a week. Also, we perform neck lift surgery under local anesthesia with light IV sedation (as opposed to general anesthesia) so it is a safer method and comfortable for the patient, and the recovery time is quicker with less downtime.

Amiya Prasad, MD
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Pain after neck lift

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It depends on how extensive your neck lift is but it can typically require 1-2 days of prescription pain medications for the average patient.  The most common feeling is 'tightness' as opposed to sharp pain

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Pain with a neck lift

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  I think the answer to this question depends on your surgeon's technique.  I RARELY have patients who complain of pain after this procedure.   In fact, I honestly cannot recall where this has ever been a problem. 

Lawrence Kass, MD
Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 140 reviews

Neck lift pain

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It is important to remember that everyone handles pain differently. Most of my patients categorize neck and facelifts are "uncomfortable" rather than painful. Patients need to be supported with adequate pain medication, beginning with prescription medication and then stepping down to non-prescription items. Also, it is extremely important not to fall behind the pain by trying to delay dosages, especially in the first 2-3 days postoperatively.

Mild discomfort after neck lift

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Neck lifts involve freeing the skin of the neck, sometimes thinning the underlying fat either with liposuction or directly, and usually a tightening procedure to the platsyma muscle underneath the skin.  The skin is then "redraped' in a cosmetically "concealed" way so as not to see the incision lines.  There is expected brusing and swelling but pain is not a usual complaint.  I think sometimes in the first few days there may be some mild discomfort with extreme head turning or jaw opening but I instruct my patients to be very "gentle" with head turning in the first 2 weeks after neck lift.  I hope this helps!


James F. Boynton, M.D., F.A.C.S.


Neck lift has minimal pain.

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One or two pain pills is average for the minimal pain of a neck lift. Twenty percent take nothing or a Tylenol.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 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.