Neck Lift vs. Face Lift: Which Procedure is Right for You?

Senior woman, beauty portrait and face lift on gray studio background. Wellness, skincare model and lady from Canada with spa for skin anti aging, cosmetics or healthy facial care treatment.

When it comes to turning back the clock on aging, cosmetic surgery offers several options. Two popular choices that help achieve a more youthful appearance are neck lifts and facelifts. While both procedures aim to rejuvenate your look, they address different areas and concerns. Understanding the differences between the two can help you make an informed decision.

What is a Neck Lift?

A neck lift, also known as platysmaplasty, tightens sagging skin and removes excess fat around the neck area, resulting in a more defined jawline and neck contour. It’s ideal for those who are content with their facial appearance but have concerns about “turkey neck,” double chin, or jowls. This procedure can:

  • Tighten loose neck muscles
  • Correct the appearance of “bands” on the neck
  • Remove excess skin and fat

Recovery time is usually shorter than that for a facelift, and scars are typically well-hidden.

What is a Facelift?

A facelift, or rhytidectomy, targets the lower two-thirds of the face, including the jowls, nasolabial folds, and other deep wrinkles. It repositions and tightens underlying tissues and removes excess skin to give the face a fresher, more youthful shape. This procedure can address:

  • Sagging in the midface
  • Deep creases below the eyelids and along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth
  • Fallen or displaced fat
  • Loss of muscle tone in the lower face that may create jowls
  • Loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw

A facelift has a more extensive recovery period, and the results can be dramatic, restoring a youthful vitality to the overall facial appearance.

Comparing the Procedures

AspectNeck LiftFacelift
Ideal CandidatesPatients with concerns limited to the neck area.Patients with aging signs on the face and neck.
Procedure ComplexityLess complex, targeting neck and jawline.More complex, addressing the face comprehensively.
Recovery and DowntimeGenerally shorter, with less discomfort.Longer recovery, with more extensive post-operative care.
Scarring and RisksMinimal, usually hidden under the chin or behind the ears.More potential for visible scarring, but can be minimized.
CostLess expensive due to the procedure’s limited scope.More expensive reflecting its complexity and coverage.

Making Your Choice

Choosing between a neck lift and a facelift depends largely on the specific areas of aging that concern you the most. If your primary concern is sagging skin, fat accumulation, or muscle banding in the neck area, a neck lift might be the appropriate procedure. It’s less invasive and comes with a shorter recovery period, which could be a significant factor if you have a busy lifestyle or can’t take extended time off for recovery. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking to address aging in a more holistic way, including sagging jowls, deep wrinkles, and lost volume in the face, a facelift could provide a more comprehensive solution. Because it’s a more involved surgery, a facelift requires a longer downtime, but the transformative results are typically more pronounced. 

Consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon to evaluate your skin’s elasticity, facial structure, and overall health is essential in making an informed decision. They can help you understand the potential outcomes and tailor their advice to your aesthetic goals and lifestyle needs, ensuring you choose the procedure that aligns best with your expectations.


In conclusion, the decision between a neck lift and a facelift is a deeply personal one that should be made after careful consideration of your individual goals and the expert advice of a certified plastic surgeon. Each procedure offers its own set of benefits and addresses different aspects of aging. While a neck lift may be suitable for those looking to refine their neckline with minimal downtime, a facelift could offer a more dramatic rejuvenation for those seeking comprehensive facial enhancement. Ultimately, the right choice aligns with your desired outcome, recovery time availability, and budget. By reflecting on your needs and discussing them openly with a surgeon, you can take a confident step toward rejuvenating your appearance and enhancing your self-confidence.

Lee A. Kleiman a doctor at Anne Arundel ENT

Dr. Lee A. Kleiman is a double board certified ENT & plastic surgeon at Anne Arundel ENT in Annapolis, Maryland known for his superior clinical outcomes in all Surgical and Non-Surgical ENT, specializing in Sinus Care, Voice and Swallowing, Rhinoplasty and Revision Rhinoplasty, and Facelifts and Non-surgical Aesthetic. He also continues to attend conferences internationally and nationally to keep abreast of the latest treatments and technology.