While a wrinkled and sagging face bears most of the blame for giving away a person’s age—or even making someone look older than their years—the reality is that the neck also significantly contributes to the problem. Considering the 2015 introduction of Kybella®, Boston-area board-certified plastic surgeon Christopher Davidson, MD, has appreciated the increasing availability and popularity of neck-focused procedures and treatments. Here are four to consider:
A primary aesthetic complaint from both men and women is a double chin, caused by a pocket of fat that can stubbornly refuse to change no matter how consistently someone diets or exercises. This fat is a problem for anyone who wants facial definition, as it softens what would otherwise be angular lines and creates the impression of multiple chins—especially when looking down. Since fat-reducing lifestyle alterations are not always successful, the most effective treatment often involves the physical destruction of the unwanted fat cells. Kybella® accomplishes this by rupturing them with deoxycholic acid, a chemical the body uses to break down fat during digestion. The form used in Kybella® destroys fat cells it encounters in the submental area, and these cells are then eliminated from the body.
Kybella® is an injectable, and a single treatment session can involve up to 40 or 50 injections, all carefully placed in the targeted area. The FDA has cleared Kybella® for use in reducing double chins, and since its powerful active ingredient can damage any cells it encounters, application is limited to specially trained medical professionals who can minimize risk and maximize results, which appear over the course of weeks and months as fat is gradually removed.
Another option for eliminating unwanted neck fat is liposuction, which involves removing fat cells by suctioning out the unwanted material with a thin tube known as a cannula. This takes the fat cells in question out of the equation and can give the chin-to-neck transition area more definition. With the fat gone, results are immediately noticeable—and will become increasingly apparent as post-procedure swelling subsides. Patients who choose this method are often those searching for a double chin treatment with fast-acting results.
• Neck lift/facelift
Not all aesthetic neck issues are due to excess fat. In fact, the loss of fat can, in some cases, leave loose skin behind. Young, healthy skin readily conforms to body contours, but after years of being stretched out by underlying fat, some skin—especially skin that has lost collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin due to aging and environmental factors—simply won’t shrink back down.
Sagging skin on the neck creates a turkey wattle effect, and drooping skin on the face, due to volume loss higher on the cheeks, can form jowls that appear at the jawline. A facelift is a surgical procedure that lifts away those jowls, while a neck lift focuses on tightening the skin below the chin. Together, these two options can significantly revitalize a patient’s profile, so they are frequently performed in combination.
These procedures may also involve some amount of fat removal via liposuction.
• Juvéderm Voluma®
As noted above, volume loss in the cheeks leads to problems farther down, as the natural structures holding tissues in a firm, youthful position give way to laxity. By reintroducing volume with the hyaluronic-acid-based injectable Juvéderm Voluma®, support can be temporarily rebuilt, rounding out what is known as the “apple” of the cheek and effectively pulling up the sagging tissue that forms jowls.
Any of these options can be performed as a standalone procedure, but they may also be combined to produce a desired youthful effect over time.
Learn more about any of the neck treatments and procedures mentioned here, including Kybella®, from Boston-area plastic surgeon Christopher Davidson, MD, who has more than a decade of experience in the field. Call his office at (781) 237-7700 or visit his contact page.