Second Quarter 2008, Volume 22, Number 4

Get ready to expose your neck; first, reduce neckbands and jowls

IN THIS ISSUE

Confused about form or function? Why not do it for both?

Improving your looks comes in varying degrees, from non-invasive to surgery

Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

Get ready to expose your neck; first, reduce neckbands and jowls

Put away the turtlenecks and get ready to wear v-necks. It is time to be proud of your neck! You do not have to live with the neckbands and jowls that have started to appear. A necklift—which may include a various set of procedures—could be the key to a younger, youthful looking you.

Change in the neck
The neck area may be unattractive for various reasons. As we age, the skin loses its elasticity and begins to sag. The muscles that support the skin start to weaken and stretch, forming vertical bands. The jaw line becomes less pronounced as fat deposits collect under the skin. Loose skin may appear to hang under the chin, known as a turkey wattle.

Some conditions are not due to age, but may be from a genetic predisposition to having excessive fat in the jaw line or from being overweight-making the neck also appear bulky and wide. Regardless, these can make you look much older than you feel. Your facial plastic surgeon can offer procedures to ameliorate the appearance of your neck including tightening skin, removing excess skin, liposuction, facelift, and chin.

Your options
Cervicoplasty is the reshaping of neck skin. Platysmaplasty is the tightening of the skin muscles. Liposuction is the removal of excess fat. Additional procedures, such as chin implants and facelifts, can also be used to achieve the desired results. An older patient that is unhappy with jowls and banding may benefit from removal of the skin, tightening of the muscles, and liposuction around the jaw line.

If a candidate has very little excess skin on the neck, but has unsightly fat deposits, neck liposuction may be the solution. This procedure would remove those fat pockets, allowing the skin to drape smoother. If there is very little excess fat in the neck, but plenty of excess skin, then a facelift may be most beneficial. This procedure removes excess fat and skin from the lower two-thirds of the face including the jaw line and neck.

A neck that presents too much skin, but it is not due to aging may be a candidate for a chin implant. Oftentimes patients who have a weak chin appear to have extra flesh or skin in the neck region. By augmenting the chin area, the skin becomes smoother and looks less “fleshy.”

The Procedure
A necklift is performed under local anesthesia and sedation. A small incision is placed in the crease under the chin to complete the liposuction and tightening to the muscles underneath. The skin is repositioned, the excess is removed, and it is secured with sutures. The incisions are closed and a light dressing is applied. The surgery is done as an outpatient procedure. Do not be afraid to look closely at your neck. This feature may be adding unwanted years to your overall appearance. Make an appointment with your facial plastic surgeon to discuss what options may be right for you. And don’t forget to mositurize your neck the same way you do the rest of your face. !