Recovering after neck lift

There are a number of factors to consider during the recovery from a neck lift procedure, including the need for drains and antibiotics, removal of sutures, pain medication where needed, and also the speed with which normal work and exercise routines can be reinstated.

All of these depend both on the procedure itself and the patients’ health and progress after surgery.


Sometimes after surgery, particularly in an area where there are many lymph nodes present, there can be a build-up of fluid under the skin.

This can become, uncomfortable or painful and in some cases lead to infection or damage to the skin in the area.

By placing surgical drains under the skin it is possible to aid the removal of fluid and prevent it collecting and causing problems, which streamlines recovery.

These drains are usually in place for a few days and patients are given guidance and assistance in caring for them while they remain necessary.

Hair wash is possible and indeed recommended while the drains are in place.


Our bodies are under constant attack from many types of bacteria, which can lead to infections even "out of the blue".

The surgical intervention increases the chance of infection and this is addressed by meticulous aseptic technique and antibiotic treatment during surgery, and extended by a course of antibiotic treatment in the week following the operation.

A probiotic supplement in tandem with these, can be of help to prevent any gastrointestinal upset from the antibiotics.

It is important to follow guidelines given regarding bandages and dressings in order to reduce the risks of infection after neck lift surgery.

Suture Removal

Neck lift surgery will typically involve sutures or stitches to close the surgical incisions and help the body heal with minimal scarring.

Some sutures dissolve of their own accord and others will need removal in the clinic after 7-10 days or so.

Advice will be given on taking care of sutures, such as applying recommended antibiotic ointments or solutions to reduce crusting and ease their eventual removal while keeping the wounds clean.

Get in touch. Talk to our helpful team or book a consultation with Mr Lucian Ion. Call 0207 486 7757

Pain Medication

Discomfort is more common after neck lift surgery than pain but many patients use pain medications to help manage their recovery.

These are usually prescribed at the time of discharge and patients are often given the option of a milder or stronger painkiller to suit their needs.

It is important to follow the guidance given regarding the use of such medications so as to reduce potential side-effects and risks.

Oftentimes it is helpful to take pain medications with food to aid the digestion of the tablets, and it is usually recommended to avoid alcohol, caffeinated products, and some herbal and nutritional supplements which have the potential to interact with the pain medication.

Other medications taken following neck lift surgery may include those helpful in reducing swelling and bruising.

Some patients feel that pain following neck lift surgery is negligible enough to require no use of painkillers or other medications.

Return to Work

Following neck lift surgery, patients will usually find that a week away from work is sufficient to aid recovery and for bruising and swelling to subside.

It is, however, often recommended that a longer recovery period, of two weeks or so, is available, thus helping the patient to take their recovery more slowly whilst still having the choice to return to work more quickly after neck lift surgery if they so wish.

The kind of job in which a person works often plays a significant role in determining how quickly they feel able to resume their normal routine.

Return to Exercise

The speed at which a patient returns to their usual level of exercise following neck lift surgery depends on a number of factors.

The degree of tissue removal influences the rate of recovery as does the removal of any excess skin and the use of sutures, stitches, and implants in genioplasty.

Exercise can also induce facial flushing which may promote undesirable swelling and bruising so a gradual increase from mild exercise such as walking is usually advised after neck lift surgery, building up to normal exercise levels after two to three weeks.

Swelling and sleeping

Surgical interventions commonly lead to some swelling, because of the way the body reacts. For neck lift surgery, the swelling will typically be in the lower part of the face , jawline and under the chin, and fortunately tends to be very limited.

Sleeping with a couple of pillows for the first two weeks after surgery helps draw the water away from the face and surgery site, and allows the swelling to disperse faster.

A low salt diet after surgery can also help by reducing water retention in the body.

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Mobilising and Deep vein Thrombosis

One of the risks of surgery, in particular after general anaesthetic is related to clots in the leg veins, or deep vein thrombosis.

One of the most effective means to restore normal circulation in the legs is by starting to walk within hours after the operation.

In add-on to that, good hydration after surgery and wearing the compression stockings provided at the hospital for a few more days after discharge contribute to increased safety.

Diet after surgery

Where a neck rejuvenation procedure is carried out it may be that, in older patients, the submandibular glands appear more pronounced after surgery.

For many, this means that it is desirable to not only reduce fatty tissue and tighten the muscles in the neck but also to trim these glands for a better defined neck contour.

If submandibular glands reduction is part of the treatment, soft diet is recommended for the fist week after surgery. This aims to minimise saliva production while the main part of the glands is healing.

Diet rich in salt may increase water retention in the body and leads to more prolonged swelling. It may also sustain a higher blood pressure which can lead to increased bruising.

Although it is not necessary to banish salt altogether from the diet after surgery, the first few weeks of recovery may be better served by a low salt intake.