Troubled by a double chin, “turkey neck” or undefined jawline? A Boston neck lift could be the perfect understated solution that achieves the dramatic improvement you’re looking for.

When comparing procedures to give us a more youthful appearance, a neck lift may not be the most obvious option that comes to mind. But what goes on below the chin can hold the secret to looking, and feeling, decades younger. And it’s hard to argue with the evidence. Based on 583 recent reviews from people across the United States who have had the procedure done, 530 said it was worth it.

But what’s involved with a neck lift, does it always involve surgery and how natural are the results?

What is a Boston neck lift?

For anyone who feels the upper part of their face is aging well in comparison to the lower (be it a double chin, banding on the neck, sagging jowls, or all three) the neck lift can balance their features.

Also known as a lower rhytidectomy, the neck lift is designed to turn back the years by creating a more defined jawline and a slimmer neck with smoother skin.

And the figures suggest it delivers results.

According to the statistics, over 21,000 people had the operation done in 2022, and it has a 91% “Worth It” rating on RealSelf. One patient said, “I look incomparable with how I looked before surgery….Bottom line: I look very good, much younger, natural.”

What happens during a neck lift?

When researching neck lifts that might work for you, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Surgical techniques generally target 3 areas:

  • Excess fat
  • Loose platysma muscles (which as explains, is a band of tissue found in the chest, neck, and facial region).
  • And sagging skin

A survey done by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery indicated that 67% of respondents were bothered by excess fat under the chin or neck.

To improve the definition of the jawline by removing fat, Seattle facial plastic surgeon Dr. William Portuese, says a surgeon has two options.

The chosen procedure depends on whether fat has accumulated above the platysma muscle – in which case liposuction would be used – or both above and below the platysma – which means surgery is required. Most patients require the second solution.

As well as a double chin, loose platysma bands are said to be one of the first signs of aging which, one report claims, is thought to happen as skin sags followed by a loss of muscle tone, creating the proverbial “turkey neck” effect.

This is addressed by a procedure called a “platysmaplasty”, which says tightens the underlying neck muscles to rejuvenate the neck area. This process doesn’t remove excess skin or fat.

Instead, unwanted, sagging skin that’s come about from a loss of collagen and elastin or from weight loss, is addressed by a cervicoplasty – which targets the area underneath the chin and neck area. A cervicoplasty, however, doesn’t tighten the neck muscles.

There are other variations to the main surgical techniques, such as

Deep Neck Lift

A deep neck lift addresses muscles deeper than the first couple of layers so can result in a more naturally youthful result.

Short-scar Neck Lift or Mini/Micro Neck Lift

Surgeons may also use a short scar neck lift or mini or micro neck lift for those with more moderate signs of aging, where smaller incisions are made under the chin or near the temples to change the neck structure below the skin.

Hyo Neck Lift

The Hyo neck lift involves stitching the band of tissue in the neck muscles towards the bone at the root of the tongue and then to the skin. Results show this creates an improvement in the area under the chin and may be less invasive than a full neck lift.

Are there any non-surgical alternatives to neck lifts?

Talking about less invasive, if we want to turn back the years, is it really necessary to have surgery?

There are several treatments available that address fat, loose skin, and banding which don’t require a surgical procedure and usually result in less downtime than having an operation.

Thread Neck Lift

The thread neck lift can produce results for moderate issues. The surgeon uses absorbable sutures to reduce sagging which, according to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, also stimulates the production of collagen to produce healthier, firmer skin.

Nefertiti Lift

Alternatively, injectables like botulinum toxin, are used in the so-called “Nefertiti lift”. The injections prevent muscle contraction, which can cause wrinkles and other signs of aging, and can lessen existing lines, smooth dimpled skin, and reduce sagging.

Other Non-Surgical Techniques

Other non-surgical techniques include ultrasound skin tightening, where the skin is heated to encourage collagen production, and radio frequency (RF) treatments, which act similarly.

Fat Treatment

For fat treatment, some favor deoxycholic acid (also known as Kybella), which, as John Hopkins Medicine explains, is a substance that’s injected under the chin to melt fat that the body then reabsorbs.

Fat Reduction

Fat reduction can also be instigated by freezing and destroying fat cells (by techniques like CoolSculpting) which according to research, can cause a 20-80% reduction of fat following one procedure. This may be to the lower end when performed on the under-chin area.

Even less invasive solutions include using instant neck tape to pull back sagging skin as well as good old-fashioned facial exercises that may go some way to preventing further signs of aging.

How long does a Boston neck lift take?

But for many people with advancing signs of aging, an operation is the most effective way to address their issues.

The Aesthetic Society says that surgical neck lift procedures can range from one hour to three hours or more, depending on the complexity of the surgery. Usually, it’s performed as an outpatient procedure with patients going home the same day.

Am I a candidate for a neck lift?

Some surgeons suggest that the best time to get neck lift surgery is before the age of 45 – 55 because most of the aging effects that lead to turkey neck occur during that period. However, healthy people in their seventies have surgery too.

Generally, the ideal candidate for a lower rhytidectomy is someone who is bothered about excess fat under their chin, sagging skin below the jawline, and/or suffers from the turkey neck effect.

They should be healthy and a non-smoker with relatively good skin tone and have realistic expectations about what their surgery can achieve.

Can a neck lift be combined with other surgeries?

For patients who’d like to refresh and rejuvenate more of their appearance, a neck lift is commonly combined with other procedures.

Facelift procedures address deep mouth creases, loose skin on the cheeks, and sagging jowls by tightening muscles, redistributing fat, and removing excess skin. Treating the face and neck at the same time gives the patient a more seamless look from the cheeks down to the collarbone.

To learn more about face and neck lifts, you can read our blogs on “A Patient’s Guide To a Facelift Procedure in Boston and “How Much Does A Boston Facelift Cost

For signs of aging above the eyes, a brow lift can also be performed to refresh a patient’s look by raising the skin upward and creating a smooth and youthful-looking forehead.

Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, is another option. This procedure focuses on addressing puffy skin and fat around the eyes and tightening loose skin on the upper and lower lids to create a more youthful appearance.

A neck lift may also be typically performed alongside a chin implant. As RealSelf reports, this is where a sculpted piece of material is inserted into the chin to increase its size and improve the definition of the jawline.

What are the benefits of a neck lift?

The impact of a neck lift procedure can be seen straight away. One patient reports, “I am only 3.5 days post-op and can already see significant improvements”.

By maintaining a healthy lifestyle after surgery, patients could prolong the results by slowing down the future signs of aging. 

How long does a neck lift last?

Dr. Zoran Potparic says a well-performed neck lift should last for 10 to 15 years. 

In contrast, non-surgical rejuvenation treatments can’t achieve the result.  The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery outlines that some skin tightening procedures don’t show immediate results, may require multiple visits to the provider and produce an overall effect that lasts around a year.

But they are definitely worth consideration by some patients with moderate issues. The ASPS states that they may help delay the time at which a neck lift becomes appropriate.

Neck lift surgery risks and complications

As with any operation, there are risks to having an anesthetic and undergoing surgery. With neck lift some patients complain of a feeling of tightness in their neck at first. If this doesn’t relax over time, some surgeons recommend ultrasound treatments or a relaxing of sutures if these have been used.

Others may notice an asymmetry that may be attributed to the recovery process or could require corrective surgery. This is rare, however, in the hands of an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Markarian.

Patients are always advised to refer back to their surgeon for advice if they’re worried about their results.

How much does a neck lift cost?

Neck lift prices found on the Internet vary widely. Much depends on whether the chosen operation is targeting fat, skin, or muscle – or all three at the same time.

According to RealSelf, a neck lift can range anywhere from $4,500 – $23,000. Fees are dependent on factors like the surgeon’s experience, the locality of their clinic, any additional facility costs, and the level of anesthesia and medication.

But the final price tag also depends on any other procedures that may be combined during the surgery. For instance, different approaches for a chin implant may cost between $1,200 and $12,700, according to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.

Boston neck lift recovery: what to expect

Downtime from a neck lift depends on the individual but may be between 1 – 2 weeks. Immediately after surgery, patients can expect to experience swelling and bruising and excess blood or fluid could call for the use of pressure dressings or drains.

But many recover quickly. One patient reports, “I felt no pain and after 9 days out, although still very bruised and swollen, I feel like a new woman!”.

Patients should be back to normal activities after a month with the last signs of surgery disappearing within a year.

Is a neck lift right for you?

The good news is there are a wide variety of neck lift techniques available to suit an individual’s needs as well as their pockets.

But as with all plastic surgery, you must carry out thorough research, ensuring your surgeon is board certified and well qualified in the surgery that’s right for you. Make sure you compare consultations and are satisfied with the responses you get to all of your questions, including the type of aftercare you can expect to receive.

But rest assured. In the right hands, your surgery can achieve a subtly refreshed and youthful look – without anyone ever knowing how you’ve done it.


Please note: All materials on the Site, such as text, treatments, outcomes, photographs and images and any other material provided on the Site are for information purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding treatments. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Site.
Though the content of this blog has been carefully prepared, the author of this content is not a medical doctor and the content has not been reviewed by a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon. 
Unless specifically stated, patients referred to in this blog have not received a Boston Neck Lift by Dr Mark Markarian. This blog does not endorse the work of any doctors or surgeons mentioned. Stories relating to patients’ personal experiences of the Neck Lift procedure should be treated as anecdotal only.
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