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Are you bothered by thin and saggy skin on your neck? Worried you’ve developed a double chin? And unsure of the best way to rewind the clock? You’re not alone.

Whilst we may be investing in creams, sun protection, and injectables to hold back the years on our face, a dry, loose, and wrinkly neck can betray our actual age or even make us look older. And a little research reveals why.

According to Scientific American, after the age of 20, we produce about 1% less collagen in the skin each year. Add to this lower functioning oil glands, less elastin, and the effects of sun and pollution, and this means our skin, everywhere, and particularly on our poor, exposed necks, is getting thinner.

As we age, we also become prone to platysmal banding, which healthline describes as the thickening of two strips of muscle that run vertically down the sides of the neck.

Whilst these factors are a natural part of growing older, they can combine to create laxity below the chin and make us look worse for wear. And who wants their jawlines to become blurred by jowls and to suffer the development of the dreaded “turkey” neck? At a guess – very few.

The good news is, there are options that will help – and they’re in demand. In 2020, more than 160,000 neck lift procedures were performed in the United States by board-certified surgeons, ranking it the 6th most popular cosmetic surgical procedure for patients, after breast augmentation. And based on patient ratings, 93% said the intervention was worth it. 

What Can A Neck Lift Achieve?

In general, suitable candidates for a neck lift include those with excess fat and loose skin below the chin and above the décolletage and there are many routes a patient can take to remedy those. At the Kaplan Center, Dr. Kaplan will assess your concerns and aesthetic goals and advise you about your choices.

According to realself.com, neck surgery creates a more defined jawline and a slimmer, smoother, and younger-looking neck

What Type of Procedures Are Available?

Surgical procedures usually focus on 3 areas:

  • Excess fat
  • Improving the appearance of the platysma muscles
  • And loose skin

Excess Fat

survey carried out by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery indicated that 67% of respondents were bothered by excess fat under the chin/neck. Johns Hopkins Medicine outlines this may be down to hereditary factors, weight, anatomy, and airway positioning. Removing excess fat may involve liposuction which sculpts the chin and neck but cannot make a huge improvement to loose skin. Usually, liposuction is performed under a local anesthetic.

Platysma Muscles

A platysmaplasty is a rejuvenation procedure for those looking to improve definition from the angle of the jaw down to the chin. It tightens the loose neck muscles and is usually suitable for patients between 40 and 60 years old. It’s less appropriate for those over 60 who have excess skin and fat in the neck, and for these patients, other interventions like a face lift and liposuction could be added into the mix. Verywellhealth says that surgery can be performed under sedation or general anaesthesia and a for a minimal lift, a surgeon may decide that regional anaesthesia or an oral sedative with the local anesthetic link may be enough.

Loose Skin

A cervicoplasty removes excess skin to restore a smoother and more defined line to the neck. A small incision is made behind each ear and potentially also under the chin and it’s through these incisions that the surgeon can trim and remove loose skin. This type of surgery may be suitable for a patient who has lost a lot of weight. It typically takes a few hours and the type of anaesthesia administered will depend on the complexity of the procedure and the patient’s preferences.

What’s Involved In Recovery From Neck Surgery?

As with all procedures, recovery time and aftercare depend on the type of intervention and the level of anaesthesia administered.

As liposuction is carried out under local anaesthesia, patients can return to work within a week having worn a supportive chin strap for a few days. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery advises that it is typical to experience some swelling and bruising which should disappear within a couple of weeks of the surgery.

A platysmaplasty and cervicoplasty may require downtime of 5-10 days and patients should avoid bending over and lifting heavy items during that time. They can expect their neck to feel tight for a while and are advised to sleep with their head lifted for one to two weeks.

Are There Alternatives To Neck Surgery?

If surgery isn’t right for you, there are other options to try which may improve the effects of aging on your neck.

Botox

Many people think of Botox’s common application to the forehead and around the eyes, but it can also make a big difference in wrinkling in the neck. This is known as the “Nefertiti lift” and can be done in the doctor’s office. Botox can reduce saggy skin and lines in the lower face and neck and create more definition in the jawline.

It should be noted, however, that not everywhere Botox can be injected has received FDA approval, so it’s worth checking with your doctor before you go ahead with this procedure.

Fillers

Dermal fillers can be used to reduce lines, improve the appearance of skin laxity, and boost skin tone. They’re also known as “liquid facelifts” and according to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery can last for 6-12 months. They are also said to stimulate the production of collagen so patients can look forward to improved neck skin in the future.

Microneedling

Microneedling is used to reduce scarring but is also a method of treating fine lines and wrinkles. It works by applying small, thin, sterilized needles to different layers of the skin – be they fitted to a cylinder, stamp, or pen-shaped instrument. The aim is to stimulate the skin to make more collagen and elastin.

Ultrasound Tightening

The heat energy from non-surgical ultrasound therapies is said to prompt the production of collagen and reduce the appearance of loose skin. It can be carried out within 30 to 90 minutes and is associated with minimal downtime.

How Much Does Neck Surgery Cost?

As with many surgical procedures, the cost of improving the appearance of your neck depends on the extent of the surgery involved.

It also depends on the fees of the board-certified surgeon that you choose (and their level of experience), their location, the anesthesia used, and aftercare. As a guide, in 2020, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons gave the average cost of a neck lift as $5,774. While it isn’t usually covered by health insurance, many surgeons offer financing plans. 

What Are The Risks And Benefits Of Neck Surgery?

Risks from surgery can include excessive bleeding, skin loss, blood clotting, and swelling. As with any procedure, there are also risks attached to undergoing anesthesia. The results may also not be exactly what was hoped for, and further surgery may be needed to make adjustments.

The benefits are that the surgery is usually long-lasting. It is also arguably more cost-effective than the less invasive procedures outlined above because it doesn’t need to be repeated as often (if at all), thus requiring fewer visits to your doctor.

Is It Worth Combining Neck Surgery With Other Procedures?

Neck lift surgery can deliver positive results when performed in isolation, but more dramatic facial rejuvenation can be achieved when it’s carried out with other surgeries.

A facelift and neck lift performed at the same time means that a surgeon can remedy loose skin on the cheeks, jowling around the chin, and laxity in the neck area creating a more youthful overall appearance.

A rhinoplasty, or nose job, carried out with a neck lift as a single procedure means that the surgeon can address any imbalance to the face, creating a more defined jawline and aesthetically pleasing facial symmetry.

A chin implant and neck lift combined can also produce pleasing results. A chin implant can increase the chin’s size, improve a weak chin and create a more defined jawline.

I Would Like To Find Out More About A Neck Lift, What Should I Do Now?

Once you’ve made a note of your goals, it’s worth making an appointment to discuss these in more depth with Dr. Kaplan. He’ll be able to discuss your options, the intervention he recommends and the risks and recovery time involved. For more information, please contact us, email info@thekaplancenter.com, or call our office at 201-710-7771 New Jersey or 212-731-4543 New York.