Neck Tightening or Necklifting ?
The Book entitled ‘I Feel Bad About My Neck’, that came out a few years ago, bespoke of an inevitable aging problem. Necks unfortunately don’t lie. The folds of skin hanging down from one’s jawline are like rings on a tree. While Botox, injectable fillers and lasers can do a lot for the face above the jawline, the neck has been the poor sister of non-surgical rejuvenation. The neck can even look comparatively worse as the rest of the face above it gets a few less wrinkles and becomes more plumped with these treatments.
While a necklift is the only sure thing for the most ideal and long-lasting improvement, not everyone has a wattle that is so deserving. Less-invasive options have cropped up over the past few years that are promising and have caught a lot of press. One of the more recent ones uses ultrasound waves to help grow collagen under the skin to create a tightening effect. Targeted towards early neck aging patients, usually under the age of 55 years old, it can improve some of that loose skin under the chin. This has led to it being touted on numerous popular TV shows and magazines.
Enigmatic of many new and inadequately studied cosmetic treatments, Dr. Oz (a heart doctor) proclaimed on his show that this was the equivalent of a non-surgical facelift. He spoke how it could get rid of a sagging neck immediately and that it was pain-free. Its discussion on the show also left a distinct impression that such a device was cleared by the FDA for neck treatments… when it is not.
The reality is that ultrasound, and other collagen-stimulating treatments, do have some skin tightening properties but the effects take months to appear…and numerous treatments. Any immediate effects are temporary due to the heat created in the skin but real collagen takes much longer to form. The manufacturer claims that these results can last up to a year or longer but actual clinical trial data has only followed patients up to 3 months after treatment. Costing up to several thousand dollars, most patients won’t be happy with that investment even if the results did last for one year.
While many people think that surgically tightening the neck also requires that the face be lifted as well are not aware of more recent advances…that catch much less press than trendy devices. There are isolated necklift procedures and many more men get isolated necklifts than women. Most women are concerned about the jowls and the neck while most men are actually more focused on just the neck alone. The influence of time on a man’s face, even including baldness, is pretty well tolerated but a neck wattle is usually not viewed as a graceful sign of aging. I have had many men tell me that the only thing that they think makes them look old is their neck.
While creams, exercises and these newer skin tightening devices all have purported neck benefits, most people by the time they notice their neck problem are beyond the help of these approaches. Something less appealing, but infinitely more effective, is the spectrum of necklift surgery options.
Dr. Barry Eppley