When you were younger, you loved putting necklaces on or wearing lower cut tops to show off a long, lean and graceful neck. Despite your best efforts, such as using moisturizer and sunscreen on the skin of your neck, as well as on your face, the years might not have been kind to the neck area. Now, instead of sparkling necklaces or scoop-neck tops, you find yourself reaching for turtleneck sweaters.
While you can't turn back the clock, you can get a neck that's graceful and lean once again. A number of procedures, from Botox to a neck lift, can reduce the signs of aging in the neck area, making you put away those turtlenecks and reach for the baubles once again.
Temporary Fix: Botox
Botox, the injection commonly used to reduce the look of crow's feet or frown lines, can be used in some instances to help reduce the look of bands across the neck. As you get older, the main muscle in the neck, the platysma muscle, can look as though it's separated, creating two vertical bands up and down your neck. A Botox injection into the muscle helps it relax, reducing the appearance of the bands.
Choosing to have Botox on your neck does have some drawbacks. Although the treatment is FDA approved for use on the crow's feet and frown lines, it's not FDA approved for use on the neck, so not every surgeon who offers Botox offers it in the neck area. Another potentially big drawback of the treatment is that it's temporary. You can enjoy a more youthful neck for a few months, but after the injection wears off, you'll have to have a repeat treatment or choose a more longer lasting option, such as surgery.
Liposuction to Banish a Double Chin
If you've started to notice a bit of a double chin, even though you haven't gained weight, or feel more self-conscious about your jowls of late, it could be because of extra fat in the neck area. Liposuction of the neck area can make your double chin a thing of the past. The procedure permanently removes the fat from the neck area. If you prefer, you can combine neck liposuction with liposuction of the lower face or with a neck lift.
Liposuction is a surgical procedure, so you can expect to take about a week or two off from work while you recover. You'll usually be able to see results by that point, too. Incisions are usually made under the chin, so any scars will be well-hidden and barely noticeable.
Neck Lift to Tighten and Smooth
While liposuction of the neck area can be performed on its own, in some patients, it's combined with a neck lift. You might need a neck lift if the platysma muscle has become loose, giving you what's often called a "turkey's wattle," or if the skin in the neck area has lost a fair amount of its elasticity. A neck lift that involves trimming and tightening the platysma is known as platysmaplasty while cervicoplasty is more concerned with tightening the skin. Your surgeon may perform both at the same time, if needed.
The most invasive of options for your neck, a neck lift can take a few hours to perform and is often done under general anesthesia. You'll most likely want to take a full two weeks to recover from the surgery. It's common for patients to feel a degree of tightness in their necks, thanks to the trimmed skin and muscle. That feeling should fade away within a few weeks or months.
While a neck lift and liposuction can give you a smooth, elegant neck once again, there is one drawback. Your rejuvenated neck area can make the upper part of your face look older. For that reason, some patients find that combining a neck lift with a facelift or another rejuvenating procedure, is the way to go.
Double board certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Nathan Nachlas works in Boca Raton, Florida. For more information or to request a consult with Dr. Nachlas contact Sandy Friedman, Director of Patient Relations at 561-939-0909.