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The good thing about birthdays is that every passing one brings us more wisdom, and grace.
The unfortunate thing about them is that things start moving south in an alarming way. Sad to say, one item that often moves with gravity and is tricky to treat over time is a sagging, fatty neck.
But not to worry...
Advances in anti-aging therapies have come a long way in restoring the youthful appearance of the face and neck for many patients across the world.
Today we are discussing these new neck and lower-face treatments, including:
Each procedure addresses a slightly different concern. Also, each technique has different strengths and weaknesses.
So let's get into it.
Neck liposuction can correct those resistant fatty deposits that seem to accumulate at an accelerated pace after your 40th birthday.
These procedures are particularly great for individuals who AREN'T obese, and whose skin elasticity is still pretty good.
Submental and neck liposuction can cost you anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000. So it isn't cheap.
Since only small amounts of fat are removed from these areas through very tiny incisions, your downtime can be pretty short. Recovery times range from a couple of days to about a week or so depending on how well you heal.
Another great thing about liposuction (particularly ultrasonic, or laser liposuction) is the potential for skin retraction. The ultrasonic, and laser energy used during surgery helps the dermal collagen fibers to tighten thereby lifting hanging skin.
Of course this tightening effect does have a limit.
Neck Liposuction is an invasive surgery. As such, there are risks involved...
Some of the more common risks of neck liposuction surgery include: infection, bruising, un-retracted skin, and platysmal banding (the horizontal fibrous bands that occur across the neck muscle).
One of the major weaknesses of neck liposuction is that it cannot correct excessive non-retractable skin once the fat volume underneath is removed.
Those with draping skin probably need to consider a neck lift procedure.
Skin excision and tightening are the only way to help folks who have that wobbling bit of hanging flesh just under the chin and down the length of the neck... otherwise known as "turkey neck".
The procedure generally lasts 2 to 3 hours and begins with liposuction of the neck, jowls and jawline. Next incisions are made behind the ears or under the chin which gives your surgeon access to the underlying neck muscle (platysma). Once these muscles are tightened the skin is re-draped with the excess being trimmed off.
Scars for this surgery are generally hidden behind the ear in the hairline or under the chin.
A neck lift surgery can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000. This price can fluctuate depending on what type of neck lift procedure the patient chooses.
Although there are different variations of the neck lift procedure they all attempt to achieve the same thing; a lifted tighter neck.
Sagging, stretched-out skin can be tightened. In fact with a lift surgery you are pretty much guaranteed to achieve a fairly significant change in the appearance of the neck. Whereas liposuction depends on the elasticity of the skin... a neck lift procedure does not.
This is the fix for folks with "gobblers" on their necks.
Aside from cost, the two biggest weaknesses that neck lifts have are pain and disability.
Because a neck lift procedure is more invasive than liposuction (larger incisions, and the removal of more tissue) recovery time is longer. Convalescence can take up to 2 weeks before you can return to light activity. But you will have to wait 3 weeks or longer before you can return to sports or other physically exerting tasks.
Pain management may also be an issue for some individuals. It may take a stronger, prescription-grade pain medication to make patients comfortable after a neck lift.
Facelifts of yesteryear often left patients with over-tight baby doll faces.
This wasn't a subtle look... Thankfully the facelift of today has evolved to a more complete operation where underlying fat- and muscle-layers are realigned in addition to the skin being tightened.
The results are more natural than they were about ten years ago, and the corrections last a bit longer.
Face lifts can cost between $6,000 and $12,000+ depending on what kinds of aging issues in the face and neck are addressed. Also a face lift can be bundled with other types of non-invasive procedures (like laser resurfacing) which will increase the cost.
The strength of the face lift is that it will definitely change your appearance. It removes the excess skin associated with aging and will re-align the underlying structure of the face into a more youthful one.
This procedure is great for those patients whose faces won't be improved with either neck liposuction, or a necklift alone.
Again the cost of a facelift is more than the other two surgeries.
A face-lift is a 2-3 hour operation under general anesthesia; requires a night's stay at the hospital or operating center; and needs about 2-4 weeks of at-home recovery until the bruising and swelling subside.
Because facelift surgery is more extensive, possible complications can occur including (but not limited to): negative reaction to general anesthesia, infection, post-surgical hematomas (internal bleeding), permanent nerve damage, skin necrosis (loss of blood supply to skin), and a possible permanent unnatural expression to the face.
Think of neck liposuction, neck lift and face lift surgeries as a tier structure.
Small problems are treated with neck liposuction, and more challenging problems are treated on the top tier with a neck- or face-lift.
Take the time to do your homework.
It is very important to be aware of the risks associated with each procedure, and with your particular health profile. My top advice is to consult with an experienced, qualified surgeon in your area (preferably one who had board-certification in plastic or facial surgery).
It can save you a lot of grief and suffering in the end.
Finn, Robert. "Variety of options available for neck rejuvenation. (Few Complications)." Skin & Allergy News. vol 33.1 (2002): 13. General OneFile (15 May 2011).
Wachter, Kerri. "Surgical options for the aging face explored." Skin & Allergy News. vol. 40.8 (2009): 22. General OneFile (15 May 2011).
Rouss, Shannon. "Feel great about your neck." Prevention (Mar 2008): 99. General OneFile (15 May 2011).
"Neck Lift Treatments and Procedures." The Cleveland Clinic (24 Apr 2008). Web search (17 May 2011).
Chriss, Lucinda. "Does your neck show your age?" Good Housekeeping (May 1998): 57+. General OneFile (15 May 2011).
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