A neck lift is a rejuvenating treatment that turns back the clock on the neck, but it does require recovery time afterward. I have put together these tips to ensure that your healing process is safe, smooth, and comfortable after your plastic surgery procedure.
What to Expect from Neck Lift Recovery
There are some common aspects of recovery that people typically experience after a neck lift (or lower rhytidectomy). Most patients will feel a tightness in their neck, and some will feel a degree of tenderness, swelling, and bruising. Soreness, tingling, and numbness are also side effects that are perfectly normal to expect during the recovery period.
Keep in mind that you’ll also be recovering from general anesthesia, which may affect some patients more than others. These side effects are usually nausea, drowsiness, and feeling slightly disoriented, all of which generally subside within a few hours following the procedure.
There are a few side effects that can occur as a result of the neck lift surgery that can be warning signs of potentially harmful issues. If you have a fever, significant pain, or fluid draining from your wound, these could be signs of an infection. Contact our office if you experience any of these symptoms or have any concerns about your healing process.
We may apply a bandage, chin-strap, or thin drainage tube after your surgery, which are designed to promote a full recovery after your neck lift. Much like after a facelift, the main goal is to limit movement in the treatment area to promote a speedy recovery.
What is the recovery time for a neck lift?
Neck lift recovery time is experienced in stages. Most side effects will last about 7 to 10 days after the procedure. The majority of the swelling and bruising should subside in approximately two weeks. The residual swelling will take longer to go down, but can be expected to resolve itself after around three months of healing. Some tightness or numbness has been known to linger for even longer in some patients.
Other areas of the body can be affected as well. Tightness and achiness in the neck, shoulders, and upper back can occur during = recovery, as well as headaches. These typically go away within two weeks. Unlike getting a Botox injection, you won’t be able to return to your regular activities immediately following your procedure.
#1 Follow Your Plastic Surgeon’s Post-Op Instructions
I will develop a post-op plan for you before your neck lift surgery. This plan will include instructions that are important to follow for a full and speedy recovery process. You’ll also have follow-up appointments scheduled that are vital to a successful neck lift recovery.
After your procedure our office will encourage you to reach out to us if you experience complications such as fever, redness, or excessive pain.
If you’ve been given a chin-strap or bandage to wear, keep it on as long as we recommend. Compression bandages are also used when facial liposuction is performed with the neck lift to remove fat under the chin. These will help to reduce swelling and speed up your neck lift recovery time. These can usually be removed for meals, showers, or cleaning your incision.
I will give you instructions on how to care for your neck area. You may need to take care of drains, or take or apply medications. It is essential that you follow instructions completely and contact our office if you have any questions along the way.
#2 Prepare Your Home for Your Recovery
After your neck lift procedure, you will need a comfortable environment that makes it easy to rest. Immediately following the surgery, enlist a friend or loved one to pick you up and take you home. If possible, have someone with you for the first 24-48 hours to care for you during the earliest phase of your recovery.
Prepare your home before you go in for your procedure. Making meals ahead of time and planning your entertainment will go a long way in helping you during the first few days of recovery. Set up a comfortable resting place with access to your remote, phone, healthy snacks, prescriptions, and water bottle. If you can set up your nest in a quiet space, opt for that so you’ll be able to sleep when you need to.
If you have other prescriptions to fill or errands to run, try to take care of them before your surgery. When you’re in the early stages of recovery you’re not going to feel like getting out right away, so plan accordingly.
#3 Keep Your Head Elevated
Keeping your head elevated is an important part of minimizing swelling and ensuring healthy circulation during recovery. Propping your head up with pillows will also help relieve the pressure from swelling or inflammation that may occur.
When your head is elevated it puts less stress on your neck, allowing the area to heal faster. Try to sleep on your back with your head under a few stacked pillows for the first week or two. You can also sleep in a recliner for the first few days if you find that position to be more comfortable.
#4 Avoid Strenuous Activity
Too much activity during recovery can increase your blood pressure, which leads to increased swelling. Your body needs time to heal properly and can’t handle strenuous activity right away. Exercising can also increase the stress hormone cortisol which does not contribute to a restful healing process.
You should also avoid activities that will strain your neck for the first few weeks after surgery. Twisting, bending, or abrupt movement of the neck can hinder your recovery.
#5 Wear Comfortable and Loose Clothing
One of the easiest ways to maintain your comfort during your recovery is to wear loose clothing that buttons in the front rather than needing to be pulled over your head. Clothing that irritates your neck may exacerbate tenderness in the surgical area. Treat your incisions as gently as possible to ensure complete healing and the most favorable scarring.
Learn more about neck lifts and the recovery process here.
Contact our Charlotte plastic surgery clinic for more neck lift recovery tips
I am a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon with extensive experience in facial rejuvenation procedures like the neck lift. With my expert team at Carolina Facial Plastics, Heather Bryant, MPAS, PA-C, Amanda Piligian, PA-C, and Courtney Whitley, FNP-C, we provide our Charlotte patients with expert care and impeccable results. I perform my surgeries in my private surgical center, Fairview Surgical Suites. Patients also have the option of spending a portion of their recovery time at Fairview Recovery Retreat, where they will have round-the-clock nursing in a comfortable, luxurious suite of your own.
If you’re looking for more tips for neck lift recovery, feel free to contact our plastic surgery clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina. We’ll be happy to schedule a consultation so you can learn more about this procedure and other surgical and non-surgical treatments we offer.