Do I Need One or Both? Breaking Down Facelift vs Neck Lift:


Sometimes people ask whether they want to get a facelift vs. a neck lift. Both procedures tighten the skin for a smoother and younger appearance.

A full facelift focuses on most of the face and neck, while a neck lift focuses on the neck specifically. In addition, other procedures like a mini-facelift, brow lift, forehead lift, or eyelid surgery might be options depending on your needs and goals.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to choose a practice with a board-certified plastic surgeon. While weighing your options, it helps to learn more about the differences between a facelift and a neck lift.

Breaking Down the Options Facelift vs Neck Lift

Full Facelift

A full facelift visually rejuvenates the entire face and neck. Your surgeon removes excess skin and repositions and drapes it. During a facelift, your surgeon eliminates excess skin and fat on the mid and lower face to improve the appearance of the cheeks, jawline, mouth, and neck.

A facelift reduces the signs of aging by tightening your skin. It can also restore the youthful appearance of your face by reducing wrinkles, lines, jowls, and sagging skin. A full facelift may involve tightening skin from the cheekbones to the collar bone.

After a successful facelift, you may look 10 to 15 years younger, and the effects are long-lasting. Facelift scars are discreetly hidden behind the ears and along the hairline. Since the skin continues to age, results from a successful facelift typically last around ten years. 

To get an idea of what you might look like with a facelift, while looking into a mirror, place your fingers at the top of each of your cheekbones, then gently pull your skin upward and back. 

Mini-Facelift

While technically still a facelift, some may prefer a mini-facelift depending on their skin condition. 

Sometimes people refer to a mini-facelift. A mini-facelift tightens the face and jowls, but it does not tighten the neck like a full facelift. Sometimes people refresh a previous facelift with a mini-facelift later. Mini-facelifts are popular among people under the age of 50 who see signs of aging that they want to counteract. 

Neck Lift

In some ways, a neck lift is like the neck’s equivalent to a mini-facelift, except the focus is tightening the loose skin of the neck. Unlike a facelift or mini-facelift, it doesn’t focus on the cheeks or face. People seek neck lifts to correct the appearance of the turkey neck and other issues.

During a neck lift procedure, your cosmetic surgeon removes the excess skin and extra fat from the jowls and under the jaw. Next, they tighten the neck muscles to reduce sagging. A neck lift may be a good option for younger people with loose skin around the neck, but the facial skin is still taut.

People who previously had a facelift, but the skin on the neck is looser and older looking.

A consultation with a plastic surgeon would help you identify the procedure best fits your goals. For example, some people considering a neck lift would prefer the results from a lower facelift combined with a neck lift. For those who want to get rid of a double chin, the combination of a neck lift and liposuction is a popular option. The result is a younger-looking neck and a more defined jawline.

To understand what you might look like with a neck lift, place your fingers below your jawline, outside your jaw, then gently push upward and backward.

Determining Whether Surgery is Right for You

Before booking your facelift or neck lift, your plastic surgeon will likely want to discuss your health, lifestyle, and medical history. When considering whether you are a good candidate for cosmetic surgery, your surgeon may take the following into account:

  • Your overall health, whenever you seek elective surgery, your surgeon will want to confirm you are healthy enough to benefit from and recover from the surgery.
  • Any planned weight gain or weight loss, if you are likely to gain or lose significant weight, then it may be wiser to postpone the procedure until your weight stabilizes.
  • You have realistic expectations about your results. Your cosmetic surgeon will talk with you about typical results but please always remember that results vary by the individual.
  • The shape of your face and neck also influence the kinds of results you may see.

Facelifts and neck lifts are outpatient procedures that don’t require an overnight hospital stay. They are usually performed under general anesthesia. Most patients experience two or three weeks of downtime but may leave their house within a few days. For best results, carefully follow your doctor’s recommendations.

All surgical procedures carry some risk. Talk with your plastic surgeon to learn about the specific risks of each procedure. Since some factors may make a procedure riskier for some individuals than others, scheduling a consultation is essential.

Schedule a Consultation

During your consultation, your plastic surgeon will help you determine which procedures are a good fit for your needs and goals. For example, you may schedule a consultation for a full facelift and then learn that another procedure like eyelid surgery or a brow lift is more aligned with your goals.

In some cases, you may learn that a nonsurgical cosmetic procedure such as Profound® RF is a better fit for your goals. While a non-surgical procedure won’t offer the same results as a full facelift or neck lift, nonsurgical procedures can be great choices for some people.

We at Charlotte Plastic Surgery have proudly served Charlotte, NC residents since 1951. We have a proven track record of helping people look their most confident and youthful. We blend deep expertise gained through experience with today’s hottest surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation appointment. A smoother, more youthful-looking face or neck may be in your near future!