One of the most important things that I have learned while performing cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery is that no two procedures are ever exactly alike. Even in cases that seem relatively straightforward, like addressing the extremely common signs of aging that can manifest in the lower face and neck, one single procedure is typically not sufficient to address every situation. A patient’s body type and personal medical history both play a significant role in determining which facial rejuvenation or cosmetic surgery techniques will achieve optimal results.When patients gain or lose a significant amount of weight, fat deposits in the neck can result in a loss of definition between jaw line and the neck line or give the appearance of a “double chin.” Unfortunately, fat in this area is often extremely difficult to eliminate with exercise and tends to resist the effects of a healthy diet. In many of these cases, the issue can be addressed with simple liposuction. Carefully extracting these localized fat deposits helps restore jaw/neck definition and can give the entire area a more firm and youthful appearance.
However, simple aging or the damage caused by various environmental factors can often reduce the skin’s ability to “bounce back” into shape after it has been stretched, particularly in patients with a history of cigarette smoking or excessive sun exposure. In these patients with reduced skin elasticity, the removal of facial fat deposits can sometimes leave stretched and sagging skin behind. In these cases, a neck lift or lower face lift can help remove this excess skin, making the area appear taut and firm once more. Some patients suffering from excessive skin sagging in the face and neck may also benefit from Ultherapy® skin tightening, an FDA approved system that uses ultrasound technology to gently warm the underlying layers of skin and promote collagen production. By strengthening the skin from within, Ulthera® can often help restore the skin’s natural elasticity and give the face and neck a rejuvenated appearance without the downtime associated with more invasive procedures.
Finally, many of my more slender and athletic patients are concerned with the appearance of platysmal bands, the vertical cords that often appear when the neck is strained. As we age, the platysma muscle, which creates the neck contour, splits into two parts, one on either side of the midline. As the skin loses volume and elasticity the free edge of the muscle can take on a much more pronounced appearance, creating what is known as a “turkey neck.” A full neck lift, in addition to removing excess, sagging skin, may also be able to re-suspend the underlying muscles, soften the appearance of the platysmal bands and give the entire area a smoother look.
Since every patient is unique and requires individualized assessment, I would welcome you to contact my office in order to schedule a consultation so that we can determine if a neck lift is right for you. Don’t forget to connect with me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.