Just saw a new patient from San Diego who was interested in having more definition along her jawline and neck. She was 38 years old and was inquiring about whether she needed liposuction of the neck versus an actual neck lift procedure. What I explained to her is that there are, in general, three different types of patients when it comes to enhancing the neck contour.
There are those who have fairly reasonable skin elasticity (where the skin quickly snaps back into place when pulled or pinched) with only excess fat. These patients are considered great candidates for neck liposuction. Others refer to this same procedure as cervical liposuction, lipocontouring, and liposculpture. Whatever name you use to refer to this procedure, it involves removal of excess fatty deposits under the chin and along the neckline. The skin then shrink wraps down to the new shape of the neck to give a more youthful appearance. An example of straight neck liposuction is below. This is a younger female San Diego liposuction patient of mine who disliked the fullness just under her chin. She was actually quite thin overall and had a pocket of fat under her chin that just wouldn’t go away even with vigorous exercise. We performed neck liposuction on her and provided her with a marked improvement in terms of her neck definition.
Neck Liposuction & Platysmaplasty
Then there are those patients with excess fatty deposits under the chin who also have a poorly defined, neck muscle, called the platysma. The platysma is a muscle that extends from just under the jawline all the way down the neck to the collarbone. If this muscle is congenitally loose or becomes loose with age, it can causing a blunted appearance to the neck line thus detracting from any possible neck definition. In these patients, it is necessary to perform neck liposuction along with tightening of this neck muscle (called a platysmaplasty pronounced pla-tizma-plasty). We perform the usual neck liposuction from a small incision under the chin then use that incision to literally tighten the muscle in the middle. In doing so, the extra fat is removed to give definition and then platysma muscle tightening further adds to the definition of the neck. Below is an example of one of my San Diego liposuction & platysmaplasty patients. She had not only excess fat under her chin but also a congenitally poorly defined platysma muscle. I performed a combined liposculpture and tightening of her platysma muscle to give her more definition. As you can see from these oblique before and after photos she now has an improved jawline with a more defined neckline – and these photos are just 7 days out from surgery!
Neck Liposuction, Platysmaplasty & Lower Face Lift Upper Neck Lift
Finally, there are those who have excess fat, a poorly defined platysma muscle, as well as loose hanging skin. These patients typically have very poor skin elasticity and are usually older (in the range of late 40s to 70s). In these patients if I were to just liposuction the neck and tighten the muscle, their skin would likely not shrink wrap down. Instead, it would likely hang down from the chin and jawline. So in these cases, we need to lift the skin up using a lower face lift upper neck lift technique to redrape the excess skin. Hopefully, this quick summary helps those of you out there considering possible neck liposuction, neck lift or other neck contouring procedure.