How noticeable are neck lift scars and do they fade away?

Tags: neck scar

I have always said that I would never get any cosmetic surgery if it means I will have severe scarring after. How bad are neck lift scars? A lot of the pictures I’ve seen online show pretty noticeable scars. Do the scars tend to fade over time, or are there any ways to minimize how the scars look after surgery?


F, 57, New York

Incisions tend to leave some scars, even if they are small incisions. However, the location of the scar and who performs the procedure can go a long way towards minimizing them.  You should consult with a few board-certified plastic surgeons who specialize in this type of cosmetic surgery.

Assuming you have no underlying medical conditions and are looking to eliminate the loose skin in and around your neck area, you can begin the consultation process. Most experienced surgeons will make incisions behind your ears and under your chin. The sites of these incisions should be discussed during your pre-op visits and you can talk to your plastic surgeon about the amount of potential scarring at that time.  

Women have it a little easier than men when it comes to hiding scars, as their hair can generally cover the area behind their ears.  

You will experience some bruising and swelling, as you would with most surgical procedures.  

Discussing post-op care with your plastic surgeon before the procedure will help you understand the healing process, recovery time, when you can resume normal activities, and of course, the potential for scarring.  Good luck.

If you are talking about a neck lift versus a full facelift, then scarring should be minimal when performed correctly by a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience with this type of plastic surgery. Excess skin and neck fat lend themselves to what is sometimes referred to as a “turkey wattle” or “turkey neck” and make us look older. Unlike dark circles under the eyes or some age spots, the neck can’t be hidden by makeup.

It looks like you’ve done a lot of homework on this topic and checking before and after photos is a good way to start your research. To review a few basics – a neck lift or neck lift surgery should correct a sagging neck and reduce the excess fat, giving you a more youthful appearance. Incisions are made under the chin and / or in front of or behind the ears – depending on the technique your plastic surgeon uses and the extent of your neck lift procedure.  

After the excess fat and skin are removed, the tissue and skin are secured with sutures. Drains may be placed at the sight of the incisions before the bandages are applied. If performed by an experienced plastic surgeon, this cosmetic procedure should leave a negligible amount of scarring. However, each patient and situation is different.

Make sure you ask your physician exactly where the incisions will fall on your face and for examples of their previous work.

We tell all of our patients that the only thing we can guarantee about a scar after surgery is that you will have one.  That said, necklift scars are generally placed behind the ears so they are usually hidden.  Depending upon the type of necklift performed, there may be incisions in front of the ears as well, along the border where the face meets the ear.  When performed correctly, these scars do tend to fade into the natural creases of the face and are not usually visible when completely healed.

Dr. Gary Breslow has 5 Necklift before & afters:

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