A neck lift is one of the most effective rejuvenation procedures for many of our patients. But how much time does recovery after a neck lift take? Will there be much discomfort and pain? Bruising? Swelling? Downtime?
Although a neck lift itself is not too invasive, the resulting cosmetic improvements can be very dramatic. It can rewind the clock on the way you look, especially if combined with a facelift, neck liposuction, or dermal fillers. Combining a neck lift with other procedures can be a powerful way to combat signs of ageing and provide an overall rejuvenated result.
Recovery after a neck lift or platysmaplasty can take up to 4 to 6 weeks. You can usually go back to work after 3-5 days but will have to take special care for up to a month. Pain, bruising, and swelling are all to be expected after a neck lift, however, they shouldn’t cause too much concern.
Download our 2023 Facelift Guide
This complete guide to Facelift Surgery covers everything you need to know about this procedure, including:
- Your surgery explained
- How to assess if you are a good candidate.
- Planning for your surgery
- Answers to most frequently asked questions.
- Before and after gallery
- Learn more about Facelift Surgery
To make your neck lift recovery period smoother, we’ve put together some aftercare tips and tricks for a healthy and normal recovery. You’ll also find a day-to-day timeline explaining what you should expect during the recovery time. Keep reading!
How to Prepare for Neck Lift
If you’re planning on getting a neck lift, then you need to prepare yourself. Prepare for surgery and prepare for the recovery period that comes after platysmaplasty. Here are some things you can do:
- Meal prep: Since you’re not likely to be in the mood for cooking after your neck or facelift, we recommend that you prepare 2-3 days worth of meals and stick them in the fridge for when you’re back from the hospital.
- Shopping: Get some groceries to last you a few days just so that you don’t have to go out shopping when you’re recovering from platysmaplasty.
- Get a neck or chin band: You will be asked to wear a chin band or a neck band for 2-3 weeks after your neck lift surgery. You can buy these before your operation.
- Book your caretaker: After your neck lift, you can’t drive since you will still have some sedatives in you. This is why a family member or a friend will need to drive you back home. Discuss this with them a couple of weeks before your surgery to make sure that they free themselves up on your surgery day.
- Prepare clean towels and sheets: You will need some clean towels to apply them as cold compresses. Moreover, you should have clean sheets ready in case any blood or wound fluid gets on your sheets.
What to Expect During Normal Neck Lift Recovery
Every woman and man wants to know what they can expect during normal neck lift recovery.
In general, recovery after a neck lift is not hard. It’s pretty straightforward. Full recovery can take up to 4 weeks, but you will be able to resume your daily activities much sooner. You can generally get back to work with minimal symptoms 3-5 days after your platysmaplasty. Exercising will need to be put on hold till after week 2.
Neck lift incisions are usually made behind each ear and a small incision under your chin.
Below are the symptoms that you can expect to have during neck lift recovery:
- Pain: Pain after neck lift surgery is not too intense and can be handled with routine painkillers.
- Swelling: Swelling can last several months after your neck lift, however, the vast majority will be gone by 4 weeks of recovery.
- Bruising: You might have bruises around your chin, jaw, and neck.
- Numbness: Numbness after getting a neck lift is normal. It is temporary and should go away in a few weeks.
- Tightness: Since your neck is a very mobile region, it might feel a little tight and restricted after your neck lift. This is because excess skin was removed and the remaining skin was pulled tight. The feeling of neck tightness can last up to 2 months after getting a neck lift. It is most felt when you turn your head to the sides.
These symptoms should be expected after your neck lift and are not a cause for worry. If you develop fever, poor wound healing, or notice anything out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate to visit us.
Best Tips For Recovery After Neck Lift
To help you recover faster and get rid of swelling and bruising more effectively after your neck lift, we’ve put together a list of proven tips and tricks:
- Sleep with an elevated head
- You need to try and keep your head and neck above the level of your heart while sleeping to prevent swelling. You can use a couple of thick pillows to keep your head high. This keeps the fluids away from your chin and neck thanks to the effect of gravity.
- Wear your compression neck and chin band
- You will need to wear a chin and neck band after getting a neck lift.
- You should wear these for 1 – 2 weeks after your surgery.
- Use cold compresses
- Cold compresses are a great way to reduce swelling and pain after a neck lift. However, avoid applying ice to your neck lift wounds.
- Ice can reduce blood flow and prevent your neck lift from healing well.
- Listen to your body
- It’s true that you can go to work as early as 3 days after a neck lift, but it doesn’t mean that you should. If you feel tired and your body lacks energy, then you should rest.
- Avoid bathing and long hot showers for a couple of weeks
- You can normally shower 2 days after your neck lift. However, it’s recommended that you avoid full-body immersion and long hot showers for the first 2 weeks.
- Avoid sunlight
- Your neck lift wounds are in an exposed area of your body.
- You should avoid direct sunlight or at least wear sunscreen to allow your neck lift wounds to heal well without excessive scarring.
Do’s and Don’ts During Neck Lift Recovery
Here’s a list of things that you should and should not do after your neck lift surgery:
- Seep with an elevated head
- Use cold towels for swelling and pain
- Wear a compression garment after your neck lift
- Listen to your surgeon’s aftercare instructions
- Sleep on a low pillow
- Apply ice directly to your wounds
- Hesitate to call your surgeon if you suspect something is wrong
- Go back to doing sports too early
- Go out in the sun without protection
A Timeline For Recovery After Neck Lift
In order to understand the neck lift recovery period better, here is a detailed day-to-day timeline of the process:
Right After the Neck Lift
After your neck lift, you will go to the recovery room to wake up. You might feel a little drowsy and light-headed, but that is a normal effect of sedatives and anaesthetics. However, you should not feel any significant pain.
Your surgeon might use drains, if so you will have a plastic drain coming out of your neck lift wound. This drain pulls out the fluid and might be left there until your first follow-up visit.
A neck lift is an outpatient procedure, which means that you will be discharged on the same day after your surgery. You are not allowed to drive after a neck lift, so your caretaker should be ready to drive you back home.
The pain, swelling, and bruising peak around the second day after your neck lift. Routine painkillers (like paracetamol or ibuprofen) are usually enough to control any pain.
During the first 3 days after your neck lift, you should stay at home and rest. Take a break from work, chores, and taking care of the kids. Just rest and allow your neck wounds to heal.
Your drain should be ideally removed on day 3 after your neck lift.
Most people feel good enough to go back to work after the 3rd day of necklift recovery. By this time, you will feel much more energetic.
The pain will be very tolerable. You will still have some bruising, however, the bruises will be fading away. You can cover them with makeup as long as it is not directly on your wounds.
The bruising is a bit slower to fade away, but you will start noticing the difference day after day.
You should come back to have your stitches removed on day 7 after your neck lift.
By the second week, most patients will feel like their normal selves again. The bruising will have almost faded out, and the swelling significantly improved.
You can generally go back to practising light sports and jogging during the second week of neck lift recovery. Avoid, however, contact sports and sports that involve excessive head movement or arm lifting.
Patients generally achieve a full recovery and live with no restrictions as they near the 1-month mark.
You can start noticing the amazing and dramatic transformation in the way your neck looks.
After 3-4 weeks pass, you can gradually go back to practising sports, lifting, and going to the gym.
After 4 weeks
The swelling will keep decreasing for a few more weeks until disappears completely.
Your neck lift scars will continue maturing and fading away for up to 12 months after your surgery. These scars are usually small and well-hidden within your hairline and normal facial curves.
How to Get the Best Results After Neck Lift
If you want to get the best out of your neck lift, then here are a few tips for you:
- Choose your surgeon carefully: Don’t just go to any cosmetic surgeon. Choose an accredited plastic surgeon that has extensive experience in performing natural and dramatic neck lifts while avoiding the “fake” look.
- Get scar-reducing therapy: We offer several methods (like laser therapy) to reduce scar appearance after a neck lift. You can request this a few months after your surgery to get an even better aesthetic outcome.
- Use sun protection: Exposing your wounds to sunlight can lead to hyperpigmentation of the scars. Avoid direct sunlight and use sunscreen when you go out.
- Don’t smoke: Nicotine can interfere with the healing of your neck lift wounds and reduce the quality of your outcome.
- Eat and drink well: Proper hydration along with a balanced and full diet is essential for immunity and wound healing.
- Check out the extensive recovery information we have on our website
Potential Risks of Neck Lift
Neck lift surgery is usually a very safe procedure with minimal risks involved. However, some of the rare complications that can occur after platysmaplasty include:
- Seroma and hematoma: This is when respectively fluid and blood collect inside your neck lift wound. To prevent this, our surgeons sometimes insert a plastic drain in your wound for a few days. Wearing compression bands can help prevent such collections.
- Nerve injury: Since the neck is rich with nerves and nerve endings, accidental injury is one of the rare complications that can happen.
- Wound dehiscence: Your stitches might break and the wound might open – usually as a result of an infection. If you notice any poor wound healing or pus in your wound then don’t hesitate on checking with your surgeon.
FAQs About Neck Lift Recovery
How long does it take to recover from a neck lift?
- Recovery after a neck lift can take up to 4 weeks. Most of the symptoms are significantly improved by the end of the first week. You can generally go back to work 3-5 days after your neck lift.
How painful is neck lift surgery?
- Pain is not a particular concern after neck lift surgery. Routine painkillers are enough if you have pain.
How long does the neck feel tight after a neck lift?
- You might have a tight-neck feeling for up to 2 months after your neck lift. This is the time it takes for your skin to slightly stretch and adapt to your neck movement.
How long does swelling last after a neck lift?
- Swelling can last up to 2 months after your neck lift. Most of the swelling goes away after the 1-month mark, however, some residual swelling might remain for a few more weeks.
Should I massage my neck after a neck lift?
- Lymphatic massage can sometimes be recommended to reduce swelling after a neck lift. Do this gently and only after consulting with your surgeon.
How long do you wear the chin strap after a neck lift?
- It is recommended that you wear a neck and chin strap for 2-4 weeks after your neck lift surgery, day and night.
When will I look normal after a neck lift?
- Of course, you will look amazing! You will have some swelling and bruising but nothing that will make you look too ill.
When can I sleep flat after a neck lift?
- It is recommended that you sleep with an elevated head after your neck lift. Use a couple of thick pillows under your head and avoid sleeping flat.
How long after neck lift can I exercise?
- You can start light jogging 1 week after your neck lift. More intense exercises can be resumed as of the 3rd week
How do I reduce swelling after a neck lift?
- Cold compresses, wearing a neck band, and sleeping with your head elevated are very effective ways to reduce swelling after a neck lift.
Does a neck lift affect swallowing?
- A neck lift in no way interferes with the process of swallowing.
How do you stop bruising after a neck lift?
- You cannot prevent bruising after your neck lift. Bruising is a normal part of recovery and can last up to 2 weeks. You can use mild skin-friendly makeup to hide the bruises, however, don’t apply it directly to your wounds.
What happens if you don’t wear a compression garment after a neck lift?
- If you don’t wear compression garments after your neck lift you might increase the risk of swelling and seroma or hematoma formation.
When can I shower after a neck lift?
- You can shower as of the second day after your neck lift. Avoid full bathing and long hot showers for a couple of weeks.
If you’re looking for more information on neck lift recovery, you can check out the following medical sources:
- National Plastic Surgery Survey: Face Lift Techniques and Complications | Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- Updating the Concepts on Neck Lift and Lower Third of the Face
- Neck Lift Recovery | ASPS