Plastic surgeons used to notice women complaining about their jowls or their jawlines, but today, the focus has shifted a few inches south – to the neck. For years and years, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christine Hamori said new clients coming in for surgeries focused on the face or the breast, “but not all that much in between.” Times have changed.
“I’ve definitely found that the neck is a very big concern for women these days,” shares Hamori. “It used to be a little in the jowl, a little bit of skin texture but now everybody is noticing this crepiness in the neck, laxity in the bands. They just feel that this is determining their age.”
What Exactly is a Neck Lift?
A neck lift, or lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the jawline and neck eliminating:
- Excess fat and skin relaxation in the lower face that creates jowls
- Excess fatty deposits under the chin
- Loose neck skin
- Muscle banding in the neck, which creates abnormal contours
The loss of youthful contours in the face and neck can be attributed to a variety of factors, including heredity, gravity, environmental conditions and stress. Some people feel they are not ready for a full facelift because the upper face is still pleasing. However, many patients will note excess wrinkling of the neck skin, a double chin or “turkey wattle” and jowl lines. When the neck area doesn’t match the upper facial appearance, a neck lift may be a good solution.
Is the Neck a Good Tell-all of Someone’s Aging?
“Just when you look at someone, and women are very critical, they would say she’s got to be in her mid-50s because of the crepiness in her neck,” Dr. Hamori observes. “So what can you do to fix that? Well, it’s kind of tricky because it’s a combination of sun damage, muscle laxity – the entire skin is looking melty and not looking good anymore in the muscles.
“So you have to do everything including skin care, maybe some laser treatments, to tighten the skin to finally doing muscle modulation to control the strength of that platismus muscle because …. if you’re doing a lot of situps and other strengthening exercises, it can tighten that platismus muscle and it causes bands to form. And there’s a couple of studies that now show if you’re getting those bands to develop, because the muscles are getting strong, you tend to keep them as you get older.”
What Can be Done (Before/After) the Neck is Lifted?
There are some tried and true preventative measures to undertake before the neck requires a lift, as well as to protect a neck lift after completion. The biggest is protection against the sun. “As you begin to age, women have to pay attention to their neck,” explains Hamori. “So it’s important, first of all, to protect it from the sun. When you’re applying products, not only on your face, but down on the neck and the backs of your hands because there’s a lot of reflection and people who have been exposed to the sun in their early teens they can have a lot of crepiness in the skin. You can use a laser to tighten the texture.”
Everyone faces the onslaught of time, gravity, and exposure to the elements. Depending on the severity of these variables, many patients might benefit from a neck lift while not being necessarily ready for a facelift. In these cases, rejuvenation via a neck lift could easily shed 10 years or more of aging from the area, brightening up the whole face in a youthful glow.