Doctors have been reporting that many people are coming into their offices with concerns about the way their neck looks. This is most likely due to the prevalence of the cell phone camera and people taking pics with their phones. As more and more pictures are being taken, more and more people are starting to get self-conscious and as such are looking for ways to fix such things as ‘turkey neck’. A neck lift is one such option.
Turkey neck usually results from old age. As we age, our skin loses elasticity and gravity takes over. The neck skin area starts to sag and it resembles the ‘gobbler’ of a turkey neck. This loose neck skin is not attractive and as such people look for ways to fix it.
Doctors usually recommend one of two ways to go about getting a neck lift: surgical and non-surgical. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. We’re going to look at these two methods of neck skin tightening and see which one would work best for you.
Surgical Neck Lifts
According to Doctor Michael Lee, non-invasive treatment options cannot compare or come close to the longevity or duration of a surgical neck lift. If surgery is the only viable option, a lower rhytidectomy (aka “neck lift”) will help reduce the jowls and tighten the neck skin.
A lower rhytidectomy is a surgical procedure that is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia. The surgery can take anywhere from 2-3 hours and usually takes place in the office of the plastic surgeon. Incisions are made around the ears and lower scalp. The surgeon then takes the fat and sculpts it and/or redistributes it from the jowl area. The tissue under the skin of the neck is repositioned as well. Each surgery may be a little different based on the needs and wants of the patient.
The overall recovery time from this surgical procedure is around 2 weeks. Patients usually report feeling better after a few days. As with any surgical procedure, swelling and bruising will most likely occur. The average person will most likely be able to return to work 5-7 days after the procedure.
The results from a lower rhytidectomy are permanent. You will notice a difference and in 10-15 years from now you will still look a lot better had you not undergone the surgical procedure. However, keep in mind that all the surgery in the world is not going to prevent your body from aging any further.
Non-Surgical Neck Lift
According to Sean Doherty, MD, Non-invasive treatments can’t even begin to approach the quality of results that you would get from surgery. However, if the patient is not a suitable candidate for surgery (due to age or other health restrictions), or if they can’t afford the cost of a surgical procedure, then non-surgical procedures might be a better option.
If the underlying neck problem is just fat (and not age-related), then there are some really good non-surgical options, such as Kybella (deoxycholic acid). It was recently approved by the FDA and is used to treat the fat in the neck area.
Kybella is injected into areas with fat problems. For most people it can be 15-20 injections, but for others it could be as high as 50 injections at a single time. It usually takes several treatment sessions before you can see the full benefits. However, since Kybella actually dissolves fat, the results are permanent. Dr. Doherty says that men generally tend to do better with Kybella and other non-surgical treatments.
“CoolSculpting” by Zeltiq along with in-clinic liposuction is another good non-invasive option according to Dr. Michael Lee. Cool Sculpting is when doctors take a wand and “freeze” the fat cells in your neck. This kills them instantly and over time your body will consume the fat naturally, leaving less fat in the general area.
CoolSculpting and Kybella are just two of many different, non-invasive techniques that are available to help treat neck fat and tighten the skin. Lasers, radiofrequencies and forced ultrasound procedures also exist and are being used nowadays with some varying degrees of success. Each doctor has his/her own preferred method of treating patients who opt for non-invasive procedures. While the non-invasive treatments are not meant to last for a long time, they can provide marginally good results, which is good enough for most people considering the level of commitment and financial investment that is required for a surgical procedure.
Which One Is Best For Me?
When it comes time to getting rid of loose neck skin and fat, surgery is the only real option that can fix the problem permanently. However, due to time, health, or money constraints, some people opt for non-surgical treatments such as Kybella or CoolSculpting. According to Dr. Doherty, non-invasive treatments can stimulate the skin to improve a little bit of elasticity; up to 30% in some cases.
Doctors Doherty and Lee both agree that proper treatment of neck issues starts with patient education regarding what their options are, and the pros and cons of each option. Then a good discussion with their doctor on the best way to proceed. Afterwards they will have enough information to make an intelligent decision on the best way to go about tightening the neck skin, neck wrinkles and removing neck fat.
If you’re looking for more information regarding the neck lift options available to you, please contact our offices today to set up a consultation with Dr. Adams.