As women reach their early forties, they can start to develop a “drop zone,” i.e., the skin between your neck and jaw. This area, which was once a tight right angle, can sag and have a droopy appearance. The aging jaw and neck are can be a challenge to many women. Several things happen to the neck with age. The neck muscles begin to sag and spread apart, producing those two distinct bands or cords in the neck The skin in this part of the neck is one of the thinnest in the body, which can make it seem crepy.
My Approach To the Aging Neck
My philosophy regarding the neck is to treat it aggressively. After seeing many patients that have had “non-invasive” skin tightening procedures with other practitioners, I believe that the best treatment for the aging neck is a surgical one. I am very skeptical of the trendier devices, such as Thermage, Ulthera and Titan, which deliver radio frequency, ultrasound and infrared lasers to stimulate collagen growth. I don’t believe that they can deliver enough energy to provide substantial effect. In addition, how can this tighten the loose muscle in the neck to take care of the muscle cords?
To that point, I started performing the minimal incision neck lift seven years ago and have been very happy with the results. While it is not the appropriate procedure for everyone, it generally works well for women in their early to late forties. The procedure is performed with three small incisions that placed in areas not visible. The first one is just under the chin, in the crease. Through this one, the neck muscles are tightened to remove the “cords.” Two small incisions are placed behind the ears, in the creases. The skin is elevated and the excess is removed through these. When compared to a facelift, the incisions are much smaller and the recovery is much quicker. For most patients, I can perform this procedure under local anesthesia. My patients are usually back to work in six days.
Occasionally, some patients may have only a small amount of fat in the neck, often referred to as “double chin.” If the skin has good elasticity, simple liposuction can be performed. However, if the skin has lost elasticity, the neck lift procedure should be performed to assure that the neck skin will not sag after the procedure.