Incorporating Neck Rejuvenation into Beauty Maintenance Plans

April 24, 2014
Robert T. Grant, MD, MSc, FACS

Some of the most common facial rejuvenation treatments can do wonders to turn back the hands of time on a patient's face, but they can inadvertently enhance the appearance of age in the neck when the area is neglected.

One of the telltale signs of aging is loose, sagging skin around the neck and décolleté. Some of the most common facial rejuvenation treatments, such as Botox or Juvederm, can do wonders to turn back the hands of time on a patient’s face, but they can inadvertently enhance the appearance of age in the neck when the area is neglected.

Before your patients commit to stocking their wardrobes with turtlenecks and scarves, there are many options for neck rejuvenation that they should consider adding to their beauty maintenance plans.

Platysmaplasty is one of the most common approaches to the issue of an aging neck. During a necklift procedure, excess skin is removed to restore a more youthful jawline, while muscles in the neck are tightened to ensure firmer results. I inform those with concerns about the signs of aging that a necklift can treat a variety of neck-related issues, such as vertical banding, horizontal creases, and fatty jowls, which are often referred to as a “turkey neck” or “waddle.”

Although a necklift is often executed at the same time as a facelift, it can also be performed as a stand-alone procedure. The results are considered permanent and do not require additional treatments to maintain the effect; only age itself can diminish the results of a necklift.

While a necklift is the most popular technique to improve the appearance of an aging neck, other approaches are available, as well. For those who still have a youthful elasticity to their skin, liposuction may be an option for neck rejuvenation. Removing the excess fat deposits that have settled in the neck can allow the surrounding skin to snap back to a more youthful state. However, I feel this approach to neck contouring is dependent on the patient’s skin state, so it may not be the best option for everyone. That is why I conduct a series of tests during consultation appointments to determine whether this approach is appropriate for a particular patient.

Many of the injectables used in facial rejuvenation can also benefit a patient’s neck. Neurotoxin injections like Botox relax muscles in the neck that cause wrinkling, which allows for smoother skin. Dermal fillers can also help by filling in lost volume. If your patient is not ready to go under the knife, injectable treatments may offer a temporary solution for neck rejuvenation.

Another neck rejuvenation procedure that has come about in last few years is called Ulthera. Ulthera uses ultrasound technology to promote the growth of new collagen in the neck, adding volume and restoring a more youthful contour. This non-invasive procedure has shown some results, but it may not be offered everywhere yet, and similar to other neck rejuvenation techniques, Ulthera is not for everyone.

While some procedures are not as widely known as others, there are many options available to help restore a patient’s neck to a more youthful state. It is our job as healthcare professionals to educate patients about their options and help them look and feel their best at any age.

Robert T. Grant, MD, MSc, FACS, is Chief of the combined Divisions of Plastic Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. He is also Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and Adjunct Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. For more information about Dr. Grant or to contact him, visit his website at www.robertgrantmd.com.