Many of the men and women who come into my office seeking facial rejuvenation are particularly self-conscious about their necks, and I am frequently asked questions regarding “sagging jowls” and “turkey necks.” As we grow older, and the skin’s firmness and elasticity begins to diminish, tissues of the face can slide downward, creating sagging folds in the lower third of the face and neck. However, since every individual face is unique and an unattractive neckline can potentially be the result of a variety of causes, it is vital to carefully analyze the soft tissue and underlying bone structure of the face, jaw, and neck before deciding which approach will benefit the patient most.
Small Lower Jaw
Sometimes a deep under-bite and a naturally small chin leaves less overall bone support for the soft tissues of the jawline, leading to sagging skin around the neck. In these cases, chin augmentation surgery, or a genioplasty procedure, can help by subtly augmenting the size and projection of the chin itself, effectively giving the neck a smoother and more youthful appearance.
Accumulation of Excess Fat
As we gain weight, fat can accumulate in all parts of the body, including around the neck. Patients who have excess fat in this area but who still have a good degree of skin elasticity can often benefit from highly-targeted liposuction procedures that remove these hard-to-reach fat deposits and reveal the more shapely neck underneath.
Loss of Facial Volume
Aging can lead to a loss of fat volume in the mid-face, causing the skin to gradually “deflate.” This can increase nasolabial folds and cause the tissue of the lower face to drape over the jawline, forming jowls. Replacing this lost volume with artificial facial fillers, like Juvéderm®, Juvéderm Voluma®, or Restylane®, or with natural fat transfer procedures, can often restore a more sharply defined jaw line.
The Irresistible Force of Gravity
Unfortunately we all ultimately fall victim to the effects of time and gravity, which often causes muscles in the neck known as the platysmal bands to protrude and take on a more pronounced appearance, contributing to 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, softening the appearance of the platysmal bands and giving the entire area a smoother look.
Understanding the causes that bring about the various signs of facial aging is the best way to formulate treatment plans that are individually customized to each patient’s unique aesthetic needs. If you have questions about which of the facial plastic surgery procedure that I perform might be most beneficial for you, please contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, at my office to schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.