An elegant neck is an important part of our figure and can help define us as youthful and slimmer. There are several choices for the treatment of the neck that depend on your anatomy and your desires. These alternatives can include facelifting, necklifting, liposuction, and other modalities. The goals when treating the neck are often the restoration of a well defined neck to chin angle, treatment of the vertical bands that can form, reduction of neck fullness that is due to fatty tissue, and wrinkle control.
As we age, the relatively thin skin of the neck region loses its elasticity and starts to sag. Unfortunately, as we collect birthdays we also tend to gain a bit of weight and sometimes fat starts to accumulate in the under the chin region. Storing fat in the neck region can also be genetic (thanks, Mom and Dad). The most superficial muscle in the neck region is called the platysma muscle and as this loosens with time vertical bands along the neck may form. Wrinkles may form, especially if we forgot to always use our sunblock.
Treatment of the neck is an integral part of a facelift. A better name for a facelift would be a lower face and neck lift as these are the areas that a facelift targets. The goals of a facelift are to restore the skin and structures of the cheeks, jowls, and neck back to their youthful position. The elements of a facelift that address the neck are the same as those noted below for neck lifting. More on facelifts is described in the section on facelifts. But not everybody wishes or needs a facelift and may be a good candidate for one of the therapies listed below.
A neck lift is a technique for men and women that re-drapes and tightens the skin of the neck to restore that pleasant angle from the neck to the undersurface of the chin. Scars are mostly placed behind the ears and there may be a small scar under the chin. If there is fullness of the neck due to fat accumulations, this is removed at the time with liposuction or direct removal via the small incision under the chin (or a combination of both.
If vertical bands, also known as neck cords or turkey neck, are present, these are treated. These bands arise from the bowstringing of the edges of the right and left platysma muscle. Not all of us have a complete separation of these muscle edges but for those of us who do, repair is accomplished by suturing them together via the small incision under the chin. The muscles can be further tightened with stitches near the back of the jaw below the ears. The repair of this muscle to minimize cords in the neck is called platysmaplasty.
For those with younger necks but with significant fullness or double chins due to fatty tissue and if the neck skin still maintains reasonable elasticity, neck liposuction alone may the answer. This can be performed via small incisions and is a relatively easier procedure to go through. As with most neck procedures, an elastic neck support that we provide is worn for 1-2 weeks and is an important part for achieving the best results.
Other possible treatments in the neck region include Botox treatments in select individuals, chin implants for improving ones jaw structure, and direct excision of extra skin on the neck. This latter procedure is simpler than a neck lift but does leave more visible scars.
As with all of the plastic surgery treatments, a good consultation is in order to determine the best choices for you. We will review the various options and expected results with each. Choices for anesthesia will be discussed. A thoughtful treatment plan can yield a long lasting youthful neck.