Tighten Up that Sagging Neck

Published: 22nd May 2008
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As one looks in the mirror (or pictures) and sees loose skin and loss of a once-sharp neck angle, this is a sure sign that we are beginning to age. I have observed that these neck observations are very disturbing for many middle-aged and older patients.

Progessive fullness of the neck, loose sagging skin, the development of vertical banding, the numerous horizontal wrinkles that appear low in the neck and the loss of a good sharp neck angle all capture the eye of the patient and others as well. Like aging around the eyes, loss of a youthful neck is very bothersome.

It is important initially to determine what is wrong in the neck to match up the best plastic surgical solution. Younger patients often just have some beginning neck fullness and a little bit of jowling. Simple liposuction and a little jowl tuck-up may be all that is needed in these younger patients. In some of these cases, I have used LipoDissolve injections alone and have gotten a good result if the patient can tolerate the temporary swelling that comes after eacj injection session and the 3 to 4 months to get the final result. A more complete facelift (neck-jowl lift) is more appropriate in the older patient with more loose saggy skin. Using the aid of a mirror, a thorough discussion and consultation with your plastic surgeon is very important. The selection of which operation is best for you will depend on a good understanding on your part of what do you want to see changed and what are you willing to go through to get it.

There are some different considerations in the male aging neck. Due to the male beard pattern and a greater tendency towards more skin excess, the typical facelift incision used in females may need to be altered. In addition, males have a much greater tendency towards some relapse after facelift surgery due to their thicker and heavier skin. Men also have a much greater aversion to major facelift surgery and may opt for an alternative procedure known as a direct neck lift. A sharp neck angle can be the result of this dramatic neck reshaping procedure...A midline scar that runs from just below the chin down to the adam's apple area is the trade-off from this simpler yet very effective neck procedure. For some older men this may be a good trade-off and this scar usually turns out fairly well due to how better hair-bearing skin heals scars.

In the aging neck, a young patient may be able to get by with some limited procedures such as lipodissolve, liposuction, skin tightening device treatments, or some limited neck manipulation. In the older aging neck (> 50 years old), the amount of loose skin will require more invasive facelift approachs for significant improvement.


Dr Barry Eppley, plastic surgeon of Indianapolis, is in private practice at Clarian Health in Indianapolis. He writes a daily blogs on plastic surgery at http://www.exploreplasticsurgery.com

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