Neck lift vs. Facelift Cosmetic Surgery

Blog post - facelift neck lift incisions cosmetic surgery

Traditionally, many often think that a surgical facelift is required to significantly improve one’s appearance. Office injections with Botox® and facial fillers can achieve temporary changes as part of a liquid facelift or nonsurgical facelift, but cosmetic surgery is required for a long-lasting and dramatic improvement. More importantly, patients with significant skin laxity need cosmetic surgery to reduce excess skin, as nonsurgical treatments tend be suboptimal.

Plastic surgeons refer to a facelift and neck lift as surgical procedures of the lower face and neck. Confusion may arise between these two cosmetic procedures as they both cover similar areas and can have significant improvements to saggy skin and muscles of the face and neck.

The similarity of these procedures is that they can make patients appear several years younger. A facelift and neck lift also share similar recovery periods, with a majority of recovery within the first two weeks. Results after facelift or neck lift surgery tend to last longer if patients continue to lead a healthy lifestyle. Lastly, the cost of neck lift and facelift are also comparable. See facelift and neck lift prices on our website.

Blog post - facelift neck lift incisions cosmetic surgery

Typical incisions for facelift (pink) and neck lift (blue). Incisions are variable in position and length specific for each patient. Facelift incisions tends to be in front of ear, while neck lift incisions tend to be behind the ear and under the chin. Plastic surgeons advise patients on the expected incision for each procedure.


A large variety of names or techniques have been associated with facelift surgery, including mini lift, s lift, SMAS lift, deep plane, short scar, MACS, etc. All surgical facelifts generally have an incision in front of the ear, with variable extension around the ear, including short-scar or mini lifts. Facelifts modify the cheek, mid face, and jowls. Facelifts can pull the cheek and facial tissue upward, improving not just the cheeks but also the lower face, jowls, and jawline. Essentially all facelifts also improve the neck too.

To simulate a facelift, put your fingers by the cheek area and push the skin upwards and backwards.

Neck lift

A neck lift is any surgical procedure that improves the appearance of the neck. A neck lift may address the fat, muscle, skin, or bone of this area to rejuvenate and enhance. Neck lift incisions are generally placed under the chin and behind the ear to modify the platysma muscle and neck fat. Neck lift may involve liposuction and chin augmentation with implant too. Neck lifts improve a double chin (i.e. submental fullness) and “turkey neck”.

To simulate a neck lift, put your fingers below the jawline area and push the skin upwards and backwards.

Neck lift vs. Facelift

A majority of patients benefit from a combined procedure, thus improving the lower face and neck. As a result, the most popular cosmetic procedure is a combination lower face and neck lift. Incisions are placed around the ear along with an incision below the chin. Liposuction of the neck is performed at the same time, in addition to facial fat injection for many patients.

Blog post - facelift neck lift incisions cosmetic surgery

Before and after photographs revision lower facelift, neck liposuction, and facial fat transfer. Neck lift was performed with the facelift for rejuvenation of the face, jawline, and neck.

Which is better: facelift or neck lift? As with any cosmetic surgery procedure, there isn’t a “best” option. Some patients may need to focus more on the face, while others need just neck. However, the neck and lower face are considered as a region and often treated simultaneously by the best facelift surgeons. Plastic surgeons and facial cosmetic specialists modify the procedure specific to each patient depending on unique facial and neck anatomy. See the healing of facelift and neck lift incisions over time on our blog.

Find the best facelift surgeon for you, rather than the the right surgical technique. The primary goal with any facelift or neck lift is to look younger and refreshed. – Houtan Chaboki, MD

A consultation with a cosmetic surgeon who performs a variety treatments can help determine an appropriate approach for each person. Have you considered a facelift or neck lift? Speak with a facial plastic surgeon to review options with you.

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