I hear this comment frequently in my office. Patients are bothered when their neck skin forsakes them and starts heading toward their chest. Most patients want the most effective way to tighten their neck skin, but want minimal down time. These are laudable goals, but being realistic is vitally important to obtaining a result that you will be happy with for a long time. Shortcuts that work are few and far between. This article will discuss which options are reasonable to consider and which ones should be avoided.
Non-invasive options sound great. Who wouldn’t want tighter neck skin after a thirty minute office appointment where a machine is pointed at your neck and you suffer no pain, no bruising, and no down time? While the pre and post-operative treatment photos that are published in association with radiofrequency neck skin treatments can look appealing, on closer inspection, there is frequently little significant change that warrants the financial investment. The minor tightening of the skin that is seen is generally fleeting at best.
Part of the problem with these types of treatments is they don’t correct the real problem. Aging in the neck includes more than skin laxity. In most cases, there is also laxity of the muscle and frequently excess fat. Even if there was a device that could magically snug the skin without removing it, it wouldn’t correct the muscle bands that hang down and need to be surgically sewn together to create a more cosmetically pleasing neckline. Many patients inquire about injectable fat dissolving treatments and or liposuction. Neither is particularly effective in most patients seeking these procedures. Fat doesn’t generally resorb evenly when exposed to solutions that are purported to dissolve it, and thus contour irregularities can occur. If lax skin is pre-existing, removing fat without removing excess skin only makes the skin hang more. Liposuction, regardless of type, does not tighten neck skin.
A board certified plastic surgeon can examine your neck and determine exactly what surgical procedure will accomplish your goals most completely. Each neck I examine is different in one way or another, and the surgical plan has to be adapted to treat these differences. The surgical approach may only require an incision under the chin to tighten lax muscle and remove excess fat. However, if there is hanging lax skin, an incision around the earlobe and behind the ear is necessary to allow removal of the extra skin.
The good news is, patients who have undergone a well thought out neck lift are generally extremely happy with the improvements for a long period of time. Don’t get fooled into thinking shortcuts and gimmicks are a good option. Having quality surgery done right the first time is the best approach.