Five-step neck lift: integrating anatomy with clinical practice to optimize results

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2013 Aug;132(2):339-350. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182958b6f.


Background: A harmonious and youthful appearing neckline is arguably the most vital aspect of a successful facial rejuveation. Without sound principles, the neck appears skeletonized, tethered, and hollow. The anatomical studies that the authors have performed regarding the neck, jowl, and subplatysmal elements have influenced the techniques that they now use. The authors' approach modifies the classic techniques of the past, and seeks a nuanced approach to each patient by resuspension and reshaping of deeper neck elements.

Methods: In this article, the authors apply their anatomical research and cadaveric studies to demonstrate and support their neck-lift techniques. The authors integrate their knowledge to describe how the technique of one of the senior authors (R.J.R.) has evolved over time.

Results: The main tenets of the authors' approach have evolved into a sequence that involves skin undermining over the neck and cheek, submental access to the neck, with possible excision of fat and midline plication of the platysma with release of the muscle inferiorly, platysmal window suspension laterally, precise release of the mandibular septum and ligament if needed, and finally redraping of the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) by plication or SMASecomy. These five steps ensure correction of jowling, a smooth jawline, and a well-shaped neck.

Conclusions: The five-step neck lift helps to optimize results in creating the ideal neck contour. The authors provide four points that should be considered in any neck-lift procedure. The end result is a well-defined, well-contoured neck, with an approach grounded in sound anatomical principles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cadaver
  • Dissection
  • Esthetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck / anatomy & histology*
  • Neck / surgery*
  • Rejuvenation / physiology
  • Rhytidoplasty / methods*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Skin Aging / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome