Neck Lift

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Having a fleshy neck, otherwise known as a “turkey neck,” can make some individuals feel self-conscious about their appearance. This unattractive neck appearance can be the result of such factors as aging, genetics, and being overweight, just to name a few. Having a turkey neck has caused many individuals to seek out a plastic surgeon for a procedure that will help them enhance their appearance. A neck lift is such a surgical procedure that offers a solution.

There are two types of neck lift procedures to improve the appearance of your neck.

  • Cervicoplasty: this procedure is used to remove excess skin
  • Platysmaplasty: this procedure removes or alters neck muscles

During the neck lift procedure, excess fat and skin are removed from the neck and the neck muscles are either removed or altered. This results in a more defined neck and jawline appearance. This can be performed alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as a facelift, liposuction or a chin implant in order to further enhance the appearance of the neck. One procedure alone like liposuction or a chin implant can bring about a better neck appearance. To find out what technique(s) can help you enhance the appearance of your neck, consult with your plastic surgeon.

Pre-surgery planning:

  • The surgery usually takes two or three hours. The time will vary according to whether or not the surgeon is removing skin or fat or both and whether or not the neck lift is being done in conjunction with another procedure.
  • In order to undergo a neck lift, you must be in a good general health, both physically and mentally.
  • Be frank with your surgeon about what you hope the surgery will do for you. There are limitations to every surgery and a good surgeon will explain all of the risks involved to you.
  • During your consultation, your surgeon will instruct you on what medications to avoid prior to your surgery.
  • If you are a smoker, you must quit at least two weeks before the surgery and for at least two weeks after to ensure proper healing.
  • Make sure you wear loose, comfortable clothing on the day of the surgery

“Turkey wattle” or loose neck muscles
If you have weakened or loose muscle, this may cause the “turkey wattle” or appearance of neck bands.
Your surgeon may recommend platysmaplasty surgery to correct this. The surgeon makes incisions under your chin and/or in front of your ears to access the platysma and manipulate it accordingly. The surgeon may also use permanent sutures to hold the tissue in place.
Your surgeon may be able to use either local or general anesthesia depending on your age.

Excess fat:

Removing excess fat in the neck area is usually done with liposuction where the surgeon will make a small incision below the chin through which he or she will remove the excess fat. This procedure takes approximately an hour. Your incisions will be stitched and bandaged.

Too much skin:

When excess skin is the main reason for wanting to undergo a neck lift the surgeon will usually make incisions behind the bottom part of the ear and extend them into the hairline, trimming excess skin and lifting it into place. It will be secured with tissue glue or stitches. This procedure is often completed in about two or four hours, depending on the complexity of your procedure. Again, the anesthesia used will be determined by you and your surgeon.


Patients may go home the same day of surgery. Most people return to work within a week. You need to wait for at least three weeks before you become physically active.


  • In the first 70-10 days after the surgery you will have swelling and bruising
  • You may feel tightness or tingling and different sensations including burning or pulling
  • You may also experience temporary numbness in the neck area.

Dr. Kearney will go over all of the risks of this procedure with you during your pre-operative appointment.

After careful consideration and at the request of our state, and concern for the health and safety of our patients, we are cancelling all non-essential appointments and surgical procedures starting on 3-20-20. Please take note below of the ways that we are available to you over the next couple of weeks:

  • Appointments:Dr. Kearney will still be seeing a small number of post operative appointments over the next couple of weeks as well as any patients that require immediate attention or medical care, by appointment only. We are calling and emailing all patients who currently have appointments scheduled in the next 2 weeks to notify them and reschedule
  • Phone: We will be working remotely and able to answer questions as well as schedule future appointments and surgeries by calling our main number: 858.677.9352. Please note, however, that we will have reduced hours over the next couple of weeks so be sure to call during these times: M-F 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you have an urgent matter outside of these hours and need to speak to Dr. Kearney please call 619-270-4935.
  • Answering machine: Please do NOT leave important messages on the after hours greeting during the next 2 weeks as they may not be checked in a timely manner. Instead, we ask you to call or email during the above hours and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
  • Email: We will have access to email and our patient scheduling system and will be available to check and respond to emails M-F from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you reach us outside of these hours please allow 24-48 hours for a response. You can continue to email the patient coordinator you’ve been in contact with or simply use [email protected]
  • Virtual consultations: Can’t come in for an appointment right now? No problem! Dr. Kearney is able to offer phone consultations during the next couple of weeks. Simply email us at [email protected] or call 858-677-9352 during the above hours and we will let you know the simple steps to take.

We apologize for any inconvenience the above changes may cause and are hoping things return to “normal” as soon as possible. Please stay safe and healthy and let’s all try to remain as positive as possible during this time of uncertainty.

We appreciate all of you and look forward to seeing you again very soon!


Dr. Kearney and staff