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Surgical Vs. Non-Surgical Solutions for Sagging Necks

Manhattan neck liftLoose, wrinkled skin and excess fat deposits on your neck may look mismatched against the smooth, toned skin of your face as you age, especially if you’ve taken care to treat facial wrinkles and skin laxity with plastic surgery or other cosmetic procedures.

Instead of hiding your aging neck under turtlenecks and scarves, Manhattan plastic surgeon Dr. Tracy Pfeifer suggests that patients take advantage of neck rejuvenation procedures to address sagging and wrinkling in the neck area and improve jawline contours.

Surgical Neck Rejuvenation

Neck lift surgery and neck liposuction have long been used by plastic surgeons to reduce neck wrinkling and sagging and help patients get rid of a double chin.

The two procedures are the gold standard when it comes to neck rejuvenation, as liposuction provides permanent fat reduction, and neck lift surgery can offer improvements that last 10 or more years.

The two procedures are also versatile and may be performed simultaneously, separately or in combination with a facelift, depending on the each patient’s cosmetic concerns and unique characteristics.

In a recent New York Times article, plastic surgeon Dr. Joel Feldman said of neck lift results, “The way I put the muscle together lasts years and years, and usually patients have a better-looking neck for the rest of their life.”

Non-Surgical Neck Rejuvenation

Although surgical neck rejuvenation is highly effective and produces the most improvement, some patients opt to seek non-surgical neck treatments, which usually provide temporary results, instead of going under the knife.

In recent years, surgeons have discovered that in addition to relaxing wrinkles in the upper face, Botox injections can also be used to help reduce platysmal bands, or the bands of wrinkles that can become etched horizontally in the neck as you age. For three to four months after injection, Botox effectively smoothes away neck wrinkles, especially in patients who have elastic skin.

Non-surgical neck rejuvenation with treatments like Thermage, Titan and the new Ulthera, which use radiofrequency, infrared and ultrasound energy to increase collagen production, are also commonly sought by patients who want to reduce skin laxity, or the appearance of a “turkey neck.”

However, it is important to note that these types of procedures tend to be over-hyped. Respected plastic surgeon Dr. Rod Rohrich, says the neck tightening achieved by Ulthera is “very minimal,” and there is also some debate as to how long results last. In addition, critics note that non-surgical neck lift procedures cost nearly as much as neck lift surgery.

According to the Times article, Ulthera treatment can cost $1,000 to $4,000 depending on the areas treated, and although some doctors who offer the procedure say results should last at least one year, the peer-reviewed clinical trial of 35 patients submitted to the FDA tracked patients for only 90 days.

Nonetheless, patients who are not yet prepared for surgery to improve their neck still pursue temporary or less effective options, hoping for a tighter jawline. As Dr. Rohrich put it, “Hope springs eternal, and hope springs incredible revenue based on hype.”

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