Recovery after Neck Lift Surgery

Tips for Recovery after Neck Lift Surgery by Dr Turner Plastic Surgeon

A neck lift procedure is a surgical procedure performed with the purpose of reducing the visible signs of ageing from the neck, by removing excess saggy skin from the neck. It also removes the excess fatty tissue from your neck which is responsible for the saggy appearance. This can make your neck look tightened and contoured, adding to the many aesthetic benefits of the procedure. It also enhances the natural defined contours of the neck. The neck lift procedure can sculpt your neck and makes you look significantly younger.  Dr Scott Turner is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon and neck lift expert in Newcastle and Sydney NSW. To ensure that you avoid any complications due to a lack of proper care during the recovery period, here are a few tips and techniques can help you heal better. 

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How to prepare for a better recovery from a Neck Lift procedure

Before you even go into the surgery room, you should make preparations that help increase your chances of a smoother recovery period. These include:

Ask someone close to help you

For the first two days after the procedure, you will not be able to do anything, and the remaining time, you should be mostly resting anyway. This is why it helps to have someone helping you and looking after you.

Have a self-care bag ready

You should have a resting corner in your house prepared before you go into surgery to ensure that you have a comfortable place to lie in when you get home. Moreover, you should prepare a bag with all the necessities and some snacks. This is so that you don’t have to move around much during the recovery period. Get your cables and entertainment ready too.

Best Tips for Better Recovery after Neck Lift Surgery - Dr Turner - Sydney

Best Tips for Better Recovery after Neck Lift Surgery

A better stress-free recovery directly relates to better results and some of the ways to experience a better recovery period include:

1. Stay Hydrated

Not drinking enough water dehydrates your skin, resulting in the contraction of the skin, especially at the incisional site. This can result in impaired wound healing and scar formation. You should drink a minimum of 8 glasses to prevent any complications.

2. Take your prescribed medications on time as directed

Dr Turner will prescribe certain medications to help with the pain and to prevent infections. You should take these as per your doctor’s orders and avoid self-medication, even if it is just over-the-counter medications. Medications can interact with each other and result in complications. Always consult your doctor before taking any medication not prescribed to you. 

3. Use Ice to help with the swelling 

Ice packs can really help you manage your swelling and pain. However, you should take care to wrap the ice packs in a towel and not place them directly on your skin. This is because there may be a reduction in sensation, especially during the first day, and leaving an unwrapped ice pack for a long time may cause an ice burn.  

4. Do not shower or bath too early, especially with hot water

You shouldn’t shower for the first two days, minimum. You should especially avoid hot water baths and showers for a month or two. 

5. Avoid excessive sun exposure

Sun exposure can result in the tanning of the skin which in itself is not a problem. However, it can result in severe hyperpigmentation of the healing skin which can ruin the result of your procedure.

6. Keep in touch with your surgeon and nurses

It is important for you to go for regular check-ups and follow-up appointments as it helps Dr Turner keep track of your recovery. It also helps with the early diagnosis of any complication or side effect of the procedure, which helps with early treatment and reduces the risk of permanent damage. 

What to eat during the Recovery after Neck Lift Surgery

Eating healthy, nutritious food is one simple way of ensuring that you heal properly and avoid any complications. Vitamins and minerals are extremely important for the normal functioning of the body, and you should make sure to eat foods rich in those to experience their benefits firsthand. 

Some of the best foods to eat during the recovery period are: High fiber whole grains, Fresh vegetables, Fresh fruit, Lean protein, Smoothies, 

Apart from being really healthy, these foods are easy to prepare and can make meal prep during the recovery period extremely easy for you. Consumption of fibers is especially important because it is what keeps your gut healthy and bowel movements regular.  Constipation can be a side effect of surgery. Drink more fluids.

While there are foods you should eat, there are foods you should reduce. This is mostly because they provide low nutritional value to your healing process and can even cause inflammation. These foods include processed foods and dairy products

Typical Timeline for Recovery after Neck Lift Surgery 

Day 1 post-op

You should be resting, not performing any form of physical activity. Carefully apply ice packs to your neck to help with pain and swelling. 

Day 2 post-op

You should not shower or bathe yet. You should continue resting, taking the prescribed medications as recommended. 

Day 3 post-op

You should still be resting, eating healthy food, and avoiding any physical or mental stress. You should still be wearing your compression garments, and changing bandages regularly. 

Week 1 post-op

You may go back to work if your bruising has subsided, but it’s recommended you wait till week two. You will have a follow-up visit in this period during which your surgeon can assess your wounds and see if you are ready for exercise and work. 

Week 2 post-op

You can go back to work in the second week. You are also now allowed to perform light exercises. You can also take off the compression garment in the beginning of the week. 

Week 3-6 post-op

Most of your swelling will have disappeared by now. You will also be receiving an all-clear by week 4 or week 6, depending on your healing status, to resume your daily life activities. You can then begin exercising and performing all your daily tasks. 

When to seek help after neck surgery

Side effects and complications can arise from a surgical procedure and one of the best ways to ensure that they don’t happen to you after the neck lift procedure, you should watch out for the following symptoms. These signs are usually indicative of a bigger underlying problem, that could potentially ruin the results of your procedure. In some cases, these problems can be fatal.  

  • Infection – redness. pus or pain
  • Fever, nausea, and a general feeling of being unwell
  • Severe, persistent bruising
  • Redness and tenderness around the incision site
  • Oozing of pus or blood at the incision site
  • Sudden pain in one leg, which could be the sign of blood clot formation, more commonly known as Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT – seek help immediately
  • Breathing difficulties due to blood clot in the lung

To avoid DVT, which results in a blood clot in the lungs or pulmonary embolism, you should move your feet in a pedaling manner. This light exercise prevents you from being immobile for too long during the recovery period, hence ensuring that blood is not pooling in your lungs and formin clots. 

Recovery after Neck Lift FAQs

How long does it take to recover from a neck lift?

  • Recovery from a neck lift takes approximately six weeks, which are characterized by some pain, swelling, bruising, and mild discomfort. The presence of swelling can make it difficult for you to see the results of your procedure immediately. In fact, you may not see the results of the procedure until months after the procedure. This means that your body will be actively healing up until that point, and you should allow your body to heal properly by using the tips mentioned above. 

How long will I be swollen after a neck lift?

  • There will be visible swelling for the entirety of the first week, after your neck lift procedure. If you rest and follow your surgeon’s recommendations, this will subside by the end of the first week, however, mild swelling may last for months after the procedure. 

How long does tightness last after a neck lift procedure?

  • Tightness and numbness are some of the common side effects seen after the neck lift procedure, especially if you are also experiencing facial or neck swelling. This is because swelling causes the tightness you are feeling. As swelling can take months to disappear. It is believed that the tightness will also subside by that time. Most patients are relieved of the feeling of numbness and tightness by 2 months after the procedure.

What happens if you don’t wear a compression garment after a neck lift?

  • The main aim of a compression garment is to hold your newly sculpted and contoured neck in place and prevent the accumulation of fluids, which can result in swelling. From the first day post-op, till either the end of the first week or the third week, depending on your specific case, you should wear a compression garment. The more you wear it, the better and smoother your recovery period will be. Not wearing it can result in mild sagging and swelling of the neck.

When can I shower after a neck lift?

  • A neck lift is a surgical procedure and involves incisions, which should be kept dry, at least for the first day after the procedure. It is recommended that you avoid showering for a day or so and then you can go ahead with your showers and hair washes. It is important to only wash your hair with baby shampoo for the first week and to remove the wound dressings prior to the shower. 

How bad does a neck lift hurt?

  • A neck lift is performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with intravenous sedation, meaning that you will not feel any pain during the procedure, or the first two days after the procedure. The recovery period is going to be marked by slight pain and discomfort with the worst pain being on the third day post-op. This is because the anesthesia and pain medications start to wear off at this point. However, you need not worry as it can all be managed easily with the pain management medications. 

When can I sleep flat after the neck lift?

  • After a neck lift procedure, you should sleep on your back, with your head elevated at a 30-degree angle, and your shoulders should not touch your pillow. This is to ensure proper healing of your incisions and to avoid putting any pressure on them. You will need to do this for most of the recovery period, at least the first four weeks. Depending on your specific case, you may be allowed you to go back to your normal sleeping position after only 2 weeks. 

How long after neck lift can I exercise?

    • You should refrain from any sort of physical exercise during the first two days after the procedure. After that, till the end of the second-week post-op, you can perform light exercises only. However, this is only if your incisions are healed by the second to the third day. Otherwise, you will need to refrain from exercising for the whole of the first week, and perform only light exercises till the second to third week.  You can begin your normal exercise regimen, by the end of the fourth week or during, depending on how well your incisions have healed. 

Does a neck lift affect swallowing?

  • If you feel a tightness around your neck and there is significant swelling, you may also experience a slight sensation of tightness when you try to swallow, however, that is very rare. In most cases, the procedure does not affect your swallowing at all. 

Should I massage my neck after a neck lift? 

  • Yes, a light, fingertip massage can be really helpful in reducing the swelling and bruising from the area. However, you should take care not to be aggressive or rough during the massage as that can worsen your condition and result in severe swelling. 

Further Reading about a Neck Lift

Recovery after Neck Lift – Medical References


About Dr Scott Turner FRACS (Plas) – Specialist Plastic Surgeon

Dr Scott Turner - Top Plastic Surgeon Sydney and Best plastic surgeon Newcastle

Dr Scott J Turner has spent a lifetime acquiring the qualifications, education, training, and hands-on surgical experience to perform superior cosmetic plastic surgery to give you natural, beautiful results and the improved sense of well-being you want. He is one of the top Specialist Plastic Surgeons with a Breast and Body Surgery focus in New South Wales.

Achieving this personal goal requires not only in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and refined surgical techniques but an ongoing commitment to learning the latest procedures around the world. This is why Dr Turner regularly attends both local and international surgeon meetings – discussing these advances with the leaders around the world in order to offer you the most natural, effective and safest surgical procedures. He is a committed board member of ASAPS – Australia Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

Dr Turner and his highly trained staff will do everything to ensure that you are fully informed, while providing exceptional, world-class cosmetic plastic surgery, in a personal and caring environment.

Next Steps

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  • Please obtain a referral from your GP or Specialist if you want a consultation for an MBS item number surgery.
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  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Dr Scott
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  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes
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