There are several procedures, both surgical and nonsurgical, that can improve a sagging neck. The most common cause of the sagging appearance is loose skin, which is often hereditary and can be more pronounced after a rapid weight loss. Gravity also takes its toll on the formerly taut neck of youth. A history of sun exposure contributes to laxity due to its negative effect on skin elasticity. Excess fat deposits will alter the contour of the neck by producing a bulge. The edges of the platysma, a thin muscle that lines the neck, develop the appearance of thickened cords below the chin and become more prominent with age. We will discuss three options used by Dr. Forley to treat the sagging neck.
Ultherapy® is a new type of non-surgical treatment that uses ultrasound energy to selectively heat the deep layers of the neck that have lost their elasticity and firmness over time. Because the sound waves pass directly below the surface of the skin, the deep support layer responsible for sagging is tightened without affecting the outer skin layer.
Following an Ultherapy® treatment, the building of new collagen occurs gradually over the following two to three months. Significant lifting results can be seen due to the combination of contraction of the tissues and new collagen formation. Ultherapy® is often recommended in the early stages of neck aging when surgery is not yet indicated.
Liposuction can be used to remove excess localized fat deposits in the neck and to define the jawline.
The desired amount of unwanted fat is removed through a small incision under the chin using a cannula, a specialized tube for liposuction. Skin contraction is stimulated by the procedure so that mild laxity will usually not require any additional tightening procedures. Potential bruising and swelling can be limited by use of a compression band for 2-3 days. Many patients return to work within a few days.
A neck lift restores the contour and appearance of a youthful neck by removing excess fat and tightening the loose skin and muscle that causes a loss of definition.
To reposition your neck tissues, skin and deeper layers of the face are first very carefully mobilized using incisions located behind the ear. Excess fat may be sculpted using liposuction to further improve the result. The neck bands are treated by use of a specialized row of stitches under the skin to provide better muscle support and optimal contour of the neck. Excess skin is removed and the incisions are carefully closed to produce fine, minimally apparent scars.
In some cases, more than one factor is responsible for a sagging neck, and a combination of procedures may be necessary. Dr. Forley will discuss the best options for your individual needs during your consultation.
Written by Dr. Forley on October 26, 2011