The Surgeon Minute

Selfie Help: Improving the Profile of the Aging Neck

Selfie Help: Improving the Profile of the Aging Neck

We are all guilty of constant attachment to our smart phones, iPads and computers. The downward gaze at your device can contribute to signs of aging – namely, in your neck. Do you want to prevent that dreaded double chin from appearing in your selfies?

Charlotte, North Carolina plastic surgeon Dr. Kevin Smith has seen a steady rise in requests for procedures to address the aging neck. He shares with us a range of options he offers his patients to restore a youthful neck and a crisp jawline.

by Anne Meyer
and Kevin L. Smith, MD

Your Neck: Skin, Fat & Muscle

“When we assess a neck, we look at the skin quality and amount, we look at the fat amount and distribution, and then we look at the muscles underneath the neck,” explains Dr. Smith. Regaining your crisp jawline may be as simple as addressing one of those three things, or it may require a combined approach. “If a patient doesn’t need a facelift, but needs correction of maybe a double chin, or some skin laxity in the neck, there are surgeries that are available to just address that, without having a facelift,” says Dr. Smith.

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An Injectable to Dissolve Neck Fat

“Early on, a young woman or man who may have a lump of fat underneath their chin that gives them a double chin in photographs. This is an example where we would use the new injectable, Kybella®. With an injectable, we can inject the area right in the center of the neck, and make that fat dissolve,” shares Dr. Smith. The procedure requires no downtime and can be done during your lunch break. His patients usually require a couple of treatments several weeks apart.

Neck Lipo – Quick Recovery

If the fat in your neck is more spread out and is not located in a specific pocket that can be targeted with an injectable, a better option may be liposuction. “For patients who have more diffuse fatty tissue, but still have good skin, they are great candidates for suction-assisted lipectomy. Granted it’s a surgical procedure, but it’s an easy one. Some can do it under local anesthetic,” says Smith. He adds that the recovery is short – a long weekend may be all you need to see the majority of swelling and bruising subside and an improved neck emerge.

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Advanced Aging Requires a More Invasive Approach

Sometimes your surgeon can address neck concerns with minor procedures, but other times a more comprehensive approach is required. If your problem is loose skin, you may require a more traditional facelift surgery. “The goal of necklift surgery, or injections, or suction, is to restore that nice angular neck, sharp jawline, and to create a foundation for the face. When we’re starting to deal with skin laxity, then you really need to go to the more facelift type operations, where we make incisions around the ears, because that extra skin we take out behind the ears. Some of these patients will also get a “mini facelift” to take care of that jowling,” explains Dr. Smith.  

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