Patients will often ask me what I think is the most telling feature on a person that ages them. Although each individual is different and many areas may contribute, I will answer without hesitation that the neck is the biggest give-a-way. Similarly, to if a female chooses to apply only foundation makeup to her face but does not blend it in below her jawline, she will look as if she has an orange circle on her face. In fact, I will tell patients that I will perform an isolated neck lift or surgery, but I will never perform a facelift without addressing the neck.
When evaluating the neck, one must realized that there are several layers of tissue. We all have skin with variable levels of elasticity. Just below the skin, we have a small fat pad in the sub-mental region, followed next by the platysma muscle. And then under this muscle we have another fat pad that lives in a deeper level. It is understanding these tissues at different levels that lead us down a decision tree as to how best correct the underlying problems for each individual patient.
For the least invasive option, we can tighten just the skin with topical products and non-invasive procedures. The “Good-Bye Gobbler” neck cream from Dr. Courtney’s Skincare line visibly helps tighten and tone the neck with topical application twice daily. This is a slow and subtle treatment and not to be confused with a surgery. One step further, is performing Vivace treatments which is often done in combination with using the neck cream. The Vivace is a procedure that combines micro-needling with radio-frequency heat. After topical anesthetic is applied, the small treatment head is moved area to area and the micro needles are inserted and deliver the energy that then stimulates your body to produce more of your own collagen. This treatment can be finished by applying your own platelet rich plasma (PRP) which calls in your own cells to expedite the process.
For a more definitive and dramatic result, several surgeries are available. Liposuction can be performed in the sub-mental region alone or with conjunction with a platymsaplasty. The platysma is a very thin and superficial neck muscle, and as we age can create banding in the neck as the muscle loosens. After making a small incision well-hidden under the chin, fat can be removed both above and below this muscle and then the muscle itself is sewn together tight like a corset re-defining the neck. This surgery alone can make dramatic improvements in neck definition; however if loose skin exists as well, then a neck lift is often recommended. This surgery begins the exact same way but after the muscle is tightened, a very small incision is made around the earlobe and sometimes back into the hairline behind the ear. The skin can then be pulled up and back and redrafted over the newly defined neck.
Neck surgeries are one of my favorites because they are a relatively fast surgery (30-60 min) with a dramatic result and minimal down time. The surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure in our own surgery center at Cosmetic Surgery Affiliates. Most of patients have minimal pain, only need pain medication for 1-3 days. Most report that the only complaint they have is that it feels tight - which they are actually excited about! Although some patient may bruise, almost are feel comfortable being seen in public at one week after surgery. I remind my patients that also though the majority of the swelling is down by one month, the results will only continue to implore over the next 3-6 months.
Although many associate their “gobbler” with Thanksgiving, the summer is when it is most exposed. If you or a loved one have any interest or questions, please call our office for a complimentary consultation where Dr. Caplin or Dr. Nuveen will help you find the right treatment for your needs and goals.