Ask Dr. Burstein: Can You Help with Vertical Bands on my Neck?

Double board-certified plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist (head/neck surgeon) Dr. Fernando Burstein has spent nearly thirty years performing cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery procedures ranging from cleft lip and palate repair to cosmetic rhinoplasty (nose surgery) and ear surgery on men and women of all ages.  In our ongoing blog feature, Ask Dr. Burstein, we will have the opportunity to hear him answer some of the most frequently asked questions he receives about facial plastic surgery and anti-aging facial rejuvenation procedures.

Ask Dr. Burstein Can You Help with Vertical Bands on my NeckQUESTION: As a working mother of two, I don’t have a lot of free time.  Still, I make a concerted effort to exercise regularly and keep myself in good physical shape.  However, when I turned fifty I began to notice that the skin around my jaw and neck had begun to sag and droop.  In addition, thin vertical bands starting showing up along the sides of my neck, under my jaw line.  I am not entirely sure, but I assume that this is the beginning stages of what people call a “turkey neck.”  What are these bands, and can anything be done to make them go away?  Are there any facial plastic surgery procedures that you would recommend to make my neck look young again?

ANSWER: What you are experiencing is actually very common, particularly in female patients who are in their fifties or sixties.  The neck is primarily formed by the platysma muscle, which extends on each side from the upper part of the shoulder to the corner of the mouth.  As we get older and our muscles start to lose tone and definition, the sides of the platysma muscle can gradually become separated, creating pronounced vertical “platysmal bands” that give the neck a “turkey wattle” appearance.  This can be further exacerbated by a natural loss of loss of tissue elasticity that allows the skin to sag downward, forming low-hanging jowls under the jaw line or a “double chin.”  Neck lift surgery can help give the neck a smoother and more youthful appearance by tightening and repositioning the underlying muscle, and it can also trim away excess, sagging tissue and skin. In some cases, depending on the individual needs of the patient, I might also recommend liposuction to remove accumulated fat deposits from beneath the chin.  This could improve the overall definition of the neck and potentially give the entire a face a more sleek and contoured look.  Finally, if you are troubled by facial skin that sags around your jaw line, a facelift procedure combined with fat transfer can help restore lost facial volume and give the facial features a lift.  This can have the effect of making the neck appear slimmer as well.

It is difficult to give you more specific recommendations without having the opportunity to examine your face in person.  Although the various signs of facial aging are fairly universal, they affect every face differently and during a consultation I will be able to go over all of your individual areas of concern and formulate a treatment plan that is customized to your individual needs.  If you would like to learn more about the facial plastic surgery procedures that I perform, please contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein so that we can schedule an appointment for a full facial rejuvenation consultation where you can look at simulated images of your potential results.  Don’t forget to connect with me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.