Non-Invasive Neck Rejuvenation

According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), the number of face and neck lifts performed in the United States has gone up 44% since 2010. In addition, the use of non-surgical skin tightening treatments has also gone up about 40% during the last 5 years. With the convenience of outpatient treatments that are performed in the doctor’s office and require little to no recovery time, it is not surprising that these non-surgical tightening and rejuvenation treatments have become so popular.

When patients come to the office considering neck rejuvenation, the most common improvements that they look for are located in the jawline, in the area under the chin and neck area.

The most effective way to reshape and contour the neck is surgically by performing a neck lift (with or without a facelift). Typically the surgery involves removing the excess skin and shaping the neck and jawline with sutures and/or liposuction. The procedure does require anesthesia and the typical recovery is about a week.

Fortunately, there are other non-invasive options to reshape the neck and jawline, depending on the specific condition or degree of looseness or deformity. Most of these treatments do not require anesthesia.

If patients have a double chin or fullness in the upper neck, the most common cause is submental fat. This localized fat can be injected with Kybella, a synthetic liquid (deoxycholic acid) that the body naturally produces to breakdown fat. After the area is injected, some of the fat gradually melts away over a few weeks. The treatment can be repeated after about four weeks, if necessary.

The second option that exists is to freeze the area using CoolSculpting (cryolipolysis). A special applicator is applied to the area and the cold causes fat cells to undergo a natural cell death. The fat is then slowly eliminated during the following 6-12 weeks. CoolSculpting can also be repeated after about three weeks.

Ultrasound is another an FDA-approved treatment for tightening of the skin. This treatment is known as Ultherapy. Ultherapy works well for shaping the neck area through focused ultrasound. The energy stimulates the body to create new collagen, resulting in tissue lifting and tightening during the following 3-6 months. There are also other devices that help tighten tissue using radio frequency; however, these devices are typically limited by the depth that they can penetrate below the skin

Neuromodulators, such as Botox, Dysport and Xeomin, can be used to soften the vertical bands on the front of the neck. They work by relaxing the muscle tone, thereby lessening the pull on the lower face. This is sometimes referred to as a “Nefertiti lift.”

Fillers also can be very helpful in rejuvenating the lower face and neck by filling and blending the areas of volume loss, in minimizing frown lines and softening the jawline.

In summary, non-surgical rejuvenation of the neck is possible using non-invasive modalities; however, they have definite limitations, especially in patients with very heavy necks or very loose skin in the neck area. Choosing the right combination of treatments is important for providing an aesthetically pleasing result. Optimal neck rejuvenation frequently requires a surgical neck or facelift. Board Certified plastic surgeons, who perform non-surgical rejuvenation as well as surgical procedures are well qualified to decide which approach may be the best for any individual.

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