Dr. Brian Machida is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon in metro Los Angeles. He has an exceptional level of experience, having performed more than 5,000 facial rejuvenation procedures in his career. Dr. Machida served for years as a clinical professor at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. He is now in private practice at STC Plastic Surgery in Ontario, CA, part of California’s Inland Empire.
An aging neck can be downright embarrassing. “You try to hide it with a turtleneck,” one patient reported, “but that doesn’t really work.” If you’ve found yourself going out of your way to try to cover up your neck, perhaps it’s time to try a difference approach. The right procedure – surgical or non-surgical, performed by a skilled plastic surgeon, can make all the difference. It really is possible to “save your neck.”
If only your neck needs “saving”
People in their 30s and 40s sometimes need work on only their necks, since their faces are still quite youthful. They may have excessive fullness or a double chin. There are both non-surgical and surgical ways to effectively address these issues. For instance, SmartLipo® Neck Liposuction and similar technologies use precisely delivered laser light to literally melt fat so that it can be safely removed by gentle suction.
After liquefying fat and removing fat cells, your surgeon will direct the laser to heat the undersurface of the skin. This results in a minor “thermal injury” that causes existing collagen to contract and stimulates further collagen production. This process is a big improvement over standard liposuction, which often leaves loose skin. SmartLipo® and similar technologies will progressively firm your skin in the treated area so that it gains a more youthful look over a six month period.
Another new treatment uses injections to melt away fat. Results vary and it requires multiple treatments before improvements can be seen. If lax neck muscles are part of the problem, this therapy can do nothing to improve them. In many cases, non-surgical procedures to firm the neck just don’t achieve the same results that a surgical necklift can.
If you’re 50 or older
Starting in their 50s, most people need to firm both face and neck. An experienced facial plastic surgeon can evaluate your face and neck aging and recommend an effective solution. A necklift may be part – or the focal point – of your younger new look.
It’s important to choose the right physician. Accurately diagnosing and correcting neck issues requires real expertise and a lot of experience that not every plastic surgeon possesses. Specifically ask any doctor you’re considering how many necklifts they have performed – and ask to see plenty of Before and After pictures.
If you also need a facelift, adding a necklift at the same time is usually cost-effective, at least at my practice. If someone is having a full facelift, we often include a necklift at no additional charge. A Mini-Lift, in contrast, will improve the face only, not the neck. If both the face and the neck need tightening, a full facelift is by far the most economical solution at practices that strive to be as reasonably-priced as we do.
Necklifts can address heavy banding across the neck, as well as neck cords (vertical bands in the center of the neck). It’s often important to address the muscle in the middle of the neck, then tighten the sides. A small incision under the chin and another behind each ear are easy for a skilled plastic surgeon to hide.
Many of my patients find that getting rid of a double chin, visible neck cords or the dreaded “turkey neck” makes a real difference in reducing self-consciousness and building their confidence. So, if you find yourself shopping for turtlenecks and scarves to wear in the summertime, take heart. In the hands of a skilled, experienced plastic surgeon, the right procedure really can “save your neck.”