Washington, D.C. (202) 785-4187

Neck Lift

A neck lift, also known surgically as a platysmaplasty, is a popular surgical procedure designed to tighten the loose muscles and skin from around the jawline down the neck. As a person ages, it is common to develop sagging skin, excess fat, and muscle laxity around the jawline and neck. It's nearly impossible to hide a "turkey neck," which can be due to excess skin or banding of the platysma muscle. Neck lift surgery is offered in Washington, D.C. at West End Plastic Surgery to rejuvenate the neck by directly treating the platysma muscle, which is the band of muscle that extends from the upper collarbone to the edges of the jawbone. After the procedure, you can expect a natural and more youthful appearance of the neck.

Women and men visit Dr. Paul G. Ruff IV for neck lift surgery from Alexandria, Reston, and surrounding communities. Request a consultation online to meet with one of our plastic surgeons and find out whether you're a good candidate for the procedure. Or call our office at (202) 785-4187 to schedule an appointment.

Before & After Neck Lift

Before photo
After photo



For more photos of our patients, please view our photo gallery.

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Are You a Good Candidate for a Neck Lift?

An ideal candidate for a neck lift is a man or woman who is between 40 and 70, in good overall health, and has realistic expectations about the procedure. It is helpful if you have good skin tone and elasticity. If your primary concern is a double chin, you surgeon may recommend KYBELLA™ injections to reduce the fat under your chin. Your skin and neck structure will be evaluated at your initial consultation to determine whether a neck lift is appropriate for you.

People typically choose this procedure to correct one or a combination of the following concerns:

  • Double chin
  • Loose neck skin due to age or extreme weight loss
  • Wrinkled skin in the middle of the neck

Some patients with laxity of the neck may be candidates for a non-surgical approach. Dr. Ruff can discuss minimally invasive options such as ThermiTight™ or Ultherapy® skin tightening if you are a good candidate.

Paul G. Ruff IV
M.D., F.A.C.S.

Personalized, compassionate patient care is the foundation of West End Plastic Surgery's philosophy. Our board-certified surgeon, Dr. Paul G. Ruff IV embraces innovative techniques to ensure our patients get the best treatments available.

Meet Dr. Ruff Request a consultation

Meeting With Your Plastic Surgeon

Your consultation with Dr. Ruff and our staff is the time to discuss your cosmetic goals. Your doctor explains the procedure, details his surgical plan, and answers your questions. The type of anesthesia used, potential risks, and cost and payment information are discussed. You will be asked to provide a medical history.

During your consultation we will:

  • Review the various neck lift options with you
  • Clearly discuss the potential risks of the procedure
  • Outline in detail how the surgery is performed and what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure
  • Provide detailed cost and payment information
  • Answer all your questions

You will be asked to provide:

  • Details about your medical history
  • A list of all medications you take, including over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, vitamins, and herbal supplements
  • Information regarding your tobacco and alcohol use

How the Procedure Is Performed

Your neck lift procedure is performed in our state-of-the-art surgical suite or at one of the area hospitals where Dr. Ruff operates. The surgery can be performed using either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation depending on what you and your doctor prefer. With general anesthesia, you will be completely asleep throughout the procedure. With local anesthesia, you will be lightly sedated and your neck and the surrounding area will be numbed. You will be awake but will be relaxed and will feel no discomfort. The type of anesthesia used as well as the length of your procedure (usually 1 to 3 hours) will be discussed with you at your initial consultation.

Working through an incision under the chin, your doctor carefully lifts the skin of the neck, removes excess tissue, and tightens underlying muscles with sutures. Excess skin at the point of the incisions may also be trimmed away.

The incisions are then closed with stitches, and a bandage is placed under your chin. An elastic garment is wrapped around your neck and head to aid in the healing process. The bandage and any drains that were used are usually removed the morning after surgery, but the elastic garment must be worn at night for the first 2 weeks after your surgery.

What To Expect After Your Surgery

Activity When
Bandage Removed The Day After Surgery
Shower and Shampoo Hair 2 Days After Surgery
Stitches Removed 1 Week to 10 Days After Surgery
Back to Work 2 Weeks After Surgery
Driving As Soon as You Feel Comfortable
Strenuous Activity 3 Weeks After Surgery
Fading of Scars Several Months to 1 Year

Before & After Photo Gallery

We're as thrilled with our patients' results as they are. Check out our before-and-after photo gallery and see for yourself the kind of work our talented surgeons do.

Immediately After Your Surgery

In most cases, neck lift surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and you go home shortly after the surgery. You may be sleepy from the anesthesia and the area around your incisions will be sore, so you will need to have someone drive you home. You will have mild discomfort, most of which can be alleviated with prescribed pain medication.

The First 24 to 48 Hours After Your Surgery

Most neck lift patients are up and around the day after surgery. The bandage that was placed under your chin will be removed the day after your surgery. The elastic garment that was wrapped around your head and neck can be removed during the day, but must be worn at night for 2 weeks after your neck lift. There will most likely be some swelling and localized bruising, both of which usually disappear in 10 to 14 days.

The First 2 Weeks After Surgery

You will notice a marked improvement in your discomfort level during the first few weeks after your surgery. In fact, the majority of neck lift patients return to work within 2 weeks of their surgery. Normal activities can be resumed as soon as you feel comfortable. Any bruising or swelling will generally disappear within 10 to 14 days of surgery. Your stitches are removed approximately 5 to 7 days after your neck lift. The elastic garment that wraps around your head and neck must be worn while sleeping for the first 2 weeks after surgery.

Resuming Your Normal Routine

Everyone heals at different rates, and you are the best judge of when you are ready for certain activities, but the following are general guidelines:

  • You can most likely return to work or school within 2 weeks after your surgery.
  • You can resume driving as soon as you feel comfortable doing so.
  • You can most likely return to your physical exercise program within 3 weeks of your neck lift. Our patients are encouraged to plan an exercise program and discuss it with the staff prior to resuming exercise.
  • Most of the visible signs of your surgery should fade within about 3 weeks.

Things to Be Aware of After Your Surgery

  • You may experience a loss of sensation or numbness in the area of your surgery. This is entirely normal and may take several months to disappear.
  • You may notice a tingling sensation in the surgical area. This feeling is a result of the healing of the nerves in the area and will go away within several months of your procedure.

What Are Possible Side Effects or Risks?

All surgical procedures have some degree of risk; however, major complications from neck lift surgery are unusual. During your initial consultation with Dr. Ruff and the staff of West End Plastic Surgery, your individual risks will be assessed and discussed. As with any surgery, you can help reduce the risks by closely following the pre- and post-surgery instructions provided to you. We will be with you every step of the way to ensure a safe and pleasing outcome.

Most likely risks include the following:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood or fluid collection
  • Asymmetry
  • Scarring
  • Distortion of the earlobe

How Long Will the Results of Your Neck Lift Last?

Neck lift surgery can provide you with a more youthful and defined profile. These results generally last 5 to 10 years and longer in many cases. It is important to keep in mind that the effects of aging and gravity will eventually cause the skin and muscles in your neck to become loose and begin to sag.

Questions You May Have

Are there other procedures that could be done along with neck lift surgery to enhance the overall appearance of my face?

A neck lift is often performed in conjunction with a brow lift or a facelift to provide a smoother, more youthful look to the face. Facial implants can be used to provide fullness and youthfulness to certain areas of the face, especially the chin and jawline. Procedures complementary to your neck lift surgery will be discussed with you during your initial consultation.

Will my insurance coverage pay for my neck lift?

Neck lift surgery is considered cosmetic surgery and, therefore, is not covered by insurance. You are responsible for the full payment of the procedure. Cost and payment information will be fully discussed with you during your initial consultation.

Are there alternatives to neck lift surgery?

If you have excess fat in your neck area but your skin is still taut, VASER LipoSelection™ may produce a more sculpted, angular, and youthful jawline.

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West End Plastic Surgery 2440 M Street Northwest #200
Washington, District of Columbia 20037 (202) 785-4187 Monday–Friday: 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Get Directions