When it comes to aging, there is often a dead giveaway about how old we are right under our noses! Or in this case, right under our chins. It’s the neck… a body part we don’t pay too much attention to, until the day comes when we look in the mirror and see a turkey staring back at us.
Typically, patients will go in for a face lift in order to appear younger; however, ignoring the neck can leave a patient with unsatisfactory results.
By Kevin Smith, MD, Michael Schwartz, MD, Robert Grant, MD and Beverly Brooks
The Plastic Surgery Channel
“Neck lifts are an important part of facial rejuvenation,” explains Dr. Robert Grant. “If you don’t address the neck and you only work on the lower part of the face, you may end up with a patient who looks unnatural.”
Sometimes it’s the opposite: Women who don’t yet need a facelift will come in for a neck lift. They want their next rejuvenated but don’t want a lot of changes in their overall looks.
Tightening With Smaller Incisions
Given that it’s hard to cover up the neck, procedures on this body part can leave patients anxious about scarring. Dr. Michael Schwartz says advancements in the field of neck lifts, however, have addressed the issue. “Now we can work on the deeper layers to tighten the muscles in the neck and remove some of the lines and wrinkles without necessarily making big incisions that are visible and distort the hairline and make it difficult for women to wear their hair a certain way.”
Plastic surgeons are seeing an increase in interest surrounding neck lift surgery. There are several non-surgical approaches to upper facial rejuvenation with fillers, skin care, lasers, and radio frequency devices. However when it comes to skin laxity of the neck, procedures are more complex.
“I think we’re getting better now at making necks look younger and we’re doing a better job having a more comprehensive facial rejuvenation that fixes the face and the neck,” explains Dr. Kevin Smith of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Men Are Also Concerned About Their Necks
“Men, increasingly, are neck lift candidates because of the turkey gobbler type of effect, as weight accumulates in the neck,” says Dr. Grant. “It can make men feel older than they want to reflect, whether it’s in their personal or professional life.”
Typically, doctors will start with a minimally invasive approach, such as liposuction. The skin generally still has good elasticity, and the blood supply leading to the beard growth can help the skin shrink back often times much better than a woman’s neck lift.
Men, though, still face their own challenges when electing to do a full neck lift procedure. The problems arise due to a man’s thinning hair.
“For men, a neck lift can be a little more problematic in terms of placing and camouflaging the scars or in displacing the beard pattern,” says Grant. “Their sideburns can look a little bit abnormal relative to where their beard starts. So for men, we really have to individualize the kind of neck lift that we choose for them.”
Sunscreen can be one of the best lines of defense. Any potential area that’s going to receive sun exposure should be covered with sunblock. This includes the face, ears, upper chest, neck, and hands and feet. Sunblock can minimize the effects of ultraviolet radiation and photoaging which accelerates the skins aging process.