Background: Aging of the neck is associated with numerous well known changes. The neck droops down as excess skin and fat develop in the center and sides of the neck. The underlying platysma muscle separates and allow the deeper neck tissues to come spilling out. All together a neck wattle or turkey neck is the result.
One of the major components of most neck wattles is fat. While removal of fat can be done by liposuction will that create an adequate ‘necklift’ or neck contouring effort. This is highly age-dependent. At younger ages the lack of skin redundancy and its good elasticity allows for the neck skin to tighten and lift up. But at older ages neck skin excess and diminished skin elasticity make it more uncertain as to what the neck skin will do.
Case Study: This 57 year-old female was bothered by the shape of her neck. She had a reasonably thick fat layer but her skin was thin with numerous wrinkles in it. If possible she wanted to avoid any major surgery and was willing to see how much improvement liposuction alone could achieve.
Under general anesthesia (she was having other procedures as well) her entire neek was treated with small cannula power-assisted liposuction removing 26cc of fat.
Liposuction can be a very effective for neck contouring method in the properly selected patient. Usually older patients are less than ideal for just liposuction because of their skin excess and diminished skin quality. But for the patient who wants to limit the extent of the surgery and are willing to accept that the outcome may be suboptimal, neck liposuction can serve as a test to determine if a lower facelift is really needed.
1) A sagging and full neck is a common development as one ages.
2) In the older neck liposuction alone will provide improvement but depends on what the overlying skin will do.
3) Neck liposuction is not a substitute for a lower facelift (necklift) but can be used as a ‘test’ to ultimately determine if one is needed.
Dr. Barry Eppley