Philadelphia, PA 215.561.9100

Villanova, PA 610.688.9100

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Neck Lift


The neck's appearance typically changes over time, and while some people accept the shifting tissues and sagging skin as they get older, others want to do something to restore a younger look. A neck and jawline may lose definition because of several factors, including genetics, gravity, stress, and environmental conditions—all of which can be countered with a neck lift at the Philadelphia area's Cross Plastic Surgery.

Many plastic surgeons automatically include the neck in facelift procedures, never realizing that correcting the neck alone is not only possible, but beneficial for some patients. The board-certified Dr. Kevin Cross regularly hears from patients—many of whom ask "How do I get rid of a saggy neck and jowls?"—who were told that correcting just the neck is not an option. To that, Dr. Cross says, "If neck laxity is what bothers a patient, they can absolutely achieve a beautiful result with a neck-only lift." He regularly performs more than 50 neck lifts a year for patients from all over the Philadelphia area, with the surgery remaining popular even through the pandemic years of 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Cross Aesthetics


Want to discover more about the benefits of a neck lift? Contact the Philadelphia area’s Cross Plastic Surgery at (215) 561-9100 (Philadelphia) or (610) 688-9100 (Villanova), or send a message online if you would like to set up a consultation.


A neck lift, also referred to as a lower rhytidectomy, is a type of facial surgery that addresses signs of aging that occur on the jawline and neck to improve the look of the lower face and below. Neck lift surgery can treat many common concerns that impact this area, including jowls caused by excess fat and sagging skin on the lower face, excess fatty deposits that develop below the chin, loose skin on the neck, and abnormal contours that are linked to muscle banding in the neck.

If you're looking for the best procedures for neck tightening, neck lift surgery remains one of the highest rated options in terms of patient satisfaction.


Wondering whether a neck lift is a good idea? For many patients, the aging process largely involves the neck, but the jowls and jawline are affected as well. For these patients, correcting the lowest part of the face along with the neck will provide the most harmonious and balanced result.

For some patients, however, signs of aging or poor aesthetics are fully isolated to the neck region. These patients may not be ready to have a complete facelift because they may feel like their upper face is still attractive and youthful. For this demographic, "Neck Only" lifting with a neck lift should be performed. A neck lift may also be a good option for patients whose neck doesn't match with the appearance of their upper face.

Neck lift surgery may also be beneficial for some younger patients. These are people who have commonly suffered from poor neck definition. For these patients, hereditary differences in anatomy prevent a well-defined jaw line and neck from ever developing. The lack of definition may be combined with the appearance of a weak chin. Both can be corrected with a neck lift.

The patient below, in her 30s, demonstrates all of these elements in this example:

View before & after results from Cross Medical Group in Philadelphia, PA

*Results may vary

This patient in her 30s underwent neck lift surgery to combat the appearance of a weak chin and lack of definition. Visit our Before & After Photo Gallery to see more.


If you're considering a contour change for your neck, one of the aspects you will undoubtably want to know more about is how to prepare for neck lift surgery. Getting ready is an important part of the neck lift process, just like it is for other forms of cosmetic surgery, and there are certain precautions you'll need to take.

When you're preparing to have neck lift surgery, you may be advised to get lab testing or a medical evaluation, discontinue certain medications or adjust how you're taking certain medications, and stop taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, or herbal supplements that can increase bleeding.

Quit smoking well in advance of the procedure, usually for four to six weeks before and after the neck lift surgery. Smoking tobacco can cause the skin to wrinkle while also constricting blood flow, which delays healing and recovery after a neck lift.

Take time to plan your recovery, build a support system to assist you while you heal, and schedule enough time off of work to allow yourself to rest properly. You'll need a friend or loved one to drive you home and stay with you overnight.


Many patients are rightfully curious about the details involved in a neck lift procedure. Dr. Cross is frequently asked questions such as "How does a neck lift work?" and "What does a neck lift involve?"

Neck lift surgery comes in two forms: The first option is for patients with good skin elasticity. For these patients, three incisions, each the length of a thumbnail, are made. One is hidden under the chin, and one is hidden behind each ear. The key to a successful neck lift result is making corrections to multiple areas under the skin, and these incisions allow access to those areas.

Areas where incisions are made during a neck lift surgery.
This diagram shows the incisions made during a neck lift surgery.

Most important to the result is manipulation of a thin muscle that lies just under the skin, called the platysma muscle. During a procedure at Cross Plastic Surgery, Dr. Cross tightens this muscle in two directions: from behind each ear and from the small incision under the chin, as demonstrated in this diagram.

Tightening this muscle from under the chin—like a corset is tightened around the waist—results in a well-defined silhouette in the region under the chin. Sculpting of fat, both above and below the platysma muscle, further helps improve neck definition.

Finally, modifying areas previously thought uncorrectable under the chin allows complete control of the neck appearance. This includes thinning bulky, redundant muscles called the digastric muscles, and reducing bulges that are created by sagging glands known as the submandibular glands.

For patients with poor elasticity, a neck lift is still possible—as shown in this 76-year-old male patient with very poor skin quality. The best option for these patients, however, includes removal of excess skin from incisions placed behind the ear in addition to the fat, muscle, and sometimes gland work.

Improve neck elasticity with neck lift surgery.

*Results may vary

Neck lift surgery is also possible for patients with poor skin elasticity, as shown with this 76-year-old patient. Visit our Before & After Photo Gallery to see more.


The next question that may be on your mind when you’re researching a neck procedure is, "What can I expect after a neck lift?"

There is minimal bruising and swelling after neck lift surgery, and typically very little pain. A special compression garment may be used to manage swelling and bruising after the neck lift has been completed.

Neck lift patients will experience a significant amount of tightness under the chin due to their anatomy being put back where it belongs. This tightness starts to resolve over the first week and does not prevent anyone from opening their mouth, swallowing, or eating. You will be given specific instructions for recovery, such as how to care for surgical sites, what types of medications to take, any specific concerns to look out for, and when to follow up with Dr. Cross.

Patients can start showering and washing their hair and face as soon as a day and a half after the procedure. Makeup can also be applied at that time. Walking and all normal activities can start right away—or as soon as a patient feels ready.

When resting or sleeping, be sure to keep your head elevated and straight to reduce swelling.

Start light exercise five days after the procedure, and full exercise by day 10. While there is a spectrum of healing times—with some neck lift patients healing very quickly, and others more slowly—the majority of patients who undergo a neck-only lift will start to feel comfortable being out and seen socially around 10 days after the procedure.

External sutures are removed one week after neck lift surgery. During this visit, advanced techniques are used to help resolve any residual bruising or swelling.


There is no expiration date on a neck lift procedure. For young patients, when the technique is used to establish proper anatomy when that anatomy did not exist, the results will last decades, until the aging process starts to cause laxity in their 50s to 70s.

For patients who developed neck laxity as a result of aging, the aging process continues from the second the procedure ends. Patients now age from a new starting place. Even after 10 to 15 years, when these patients look in the mirror, they will likely start to see some of the loosening that initially brought them to the office—but their appearance will still typically look more youthful than it did prior to the initial surgery.


Some patients may not be ready for neck lift surgery, but still wish to make changes to that area. Although surgery provides the most dramatic results, there are non-surgical options that can enhance the appearance of the neck. Ultherapy® uses ultrasound energy to tighten and firm targeted tissues without the need for incisions. Since the effects are not as significant as they would be with a neck lift, Ultherapy® works best for patients who want to address moderate laxity.

Patients who have a double chin may opt for Kybella®, an injectable fat-reduction treatment used specifically in the submental (below-the-chin) area. This injectable treatment dissolves excess fat below the chin to sculpt the neck and jawline. For more dramatic results that can be seen more quickly, liposuction is an effective choice.

Cross Aesthetics


For more details about what you can expect from a neck lift in the Philadelphia area, contact Cross Plastic Surgery by calling (215) 561-9100 or Main Line's Villanova (610) 688-9100. Send a message online to schedule a consultation, or for more information about neck lift surgery.


2200 Arch Street Suite 120, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Philadelphia, PA

2200 Arch Street Suite 120, Philadelphia, PA 19103
PH: 215.561.9100

775 E. Lancaster Avenue Suite 230, Villanova, PA 19085
Villanova, PA

775 E. Lancaster Avenue Suite 230, Villanova, PA 19085
PH: 610.688.9100



Cross Medical Group

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