Have you developed a Tech Neck from hours of looking down at your screen? Or are you one of the many young people who have a naturally thick neck? Regardless of whether your neck issues are caused by work or your DNA, a thick neck or tech neck can give you a look you’d rather not have. For some, neck liposuction is the answer. But that’s far from true in many cases. What about you? Will neck liposuction eliminate your thick neck or tech neck? Or would another treatment work far better?
Would neck liposuction work best for your thick neck?
Many who choose neck liposuction may not realize its limitations. If you have a double chin or excess fat under your neck skin, this procedure could really give you the kind of neck you want – if your neck skin is still young, healthy, and elastic. That’s often true of people in their 20s and 30s.
Here’s how liposuction in general works, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons:
First, diluted local anesthesia is infused to reduce bleeding and trauma. Then a thin hollow tube, or cannula, is inserted through the incisions to loosen excess fat using a controlled back and forth motion. The dislodged fat is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula.
Neck liposuction is limited to removing fat directly under your skin and above your thin platysma muscle layer. So, if you have extra fat in that location, neck liposuction can really help. Your facial plastic surgeon will place one small incision under your chin and two behind your earlobes. They will insert a cannula through those holes and liquefy the fat, suctioning it out. Your double chin or excess neck fat will disappear. Your healthy, elastic skin will conform to your new sleeker neck. You’ll just have to make sure you don’t gain weight, or your double chin may return.
However, if your thick neck is caused by something other than too much fat under your skin, neck liposuction won’t treat it effectively. This procedure doesn’t remove excess skin, which is often seen in tech neck. Nor does it remove fat below the platysma. It does not tighten muscles or shave down bulging neck tissues. So, if any of these have caused your thick neck, you’ll need a different approach to streamline it.
Why you need a different approach to eliminate tech neck
Neck liposuction helps if you have too much fat under your neck skin. But if there’s a different cause for your neck issues, neck liposuction won’t help much, if at all. As cosmetic dermatologist Sarah Sawyer put it:
[Nowadays], we spend so much time in the neck flexure position that it causes changes in the cervical spine, and then there’s less space for the skin to sort of stretch over the jawline. The effect on the skin and the other three layers of tissue in the neck are that it becomes lax.
The platysma is troublesome, cosmetically speaking. It is a very thin muscle…What often happens is that as the muscle starts to herniate, [it causes] the loss of that 90-degree angle. It can also create a downward force on the facial muscles, which is going to blunt the jawline.
As she points out, tech neck is caused by loose muscles and skin. Neck liposuction doesn’t improve either of them. A traditional neck lift tightens sagging muscles and removes excess skin. That might be just the thing to improve your tech neck.
If neck liposuction won’t help you, what about a Streamlining Neck Lift?
There are several factors that can cause a thick neck. Bulging neck muscles or an oversized salivary gland or both can cause young people’s necks to be too thick. There’s a different procedure that works in these cases. I call it the Streamlining Neck Lift.
The Streamlining Neck Lift shaves protruding neck muscles and glands to their normal size. We’ll work through one incision under the fold of your chin and two very small incisions behind your earlobes.
They permit your surgeon to find which underlying structures are causing your thick neck. Often, it’s a protruding digastric muscle. It’s part of a series of muscles that form the floor of your mouth. This muscle group controls your tongue and allows you to open your mouth. It also puts your hyoid bone in the right position so that you can chew and swallow your food.
If an unusually large digastric muscle is causing your thick neck, your surgeon can shave it down to normal size. Streamlining it will still permit it to do its important work.
Your digastric muscle may not be the only thing you’ll need to address. Fat can also accumulate under the platysma muscles. Neck liposuction can’t remove it, but the Streamlining Neck Lift can. In fact, it’s good to leave a small fat layer above the platysma. It actually makes your neck look smoother. But we can remove deeper fat deposits that make your neck look too thick.
Employing a well-established procedure to streamline your thick neck
Deep neck fat and bulging muscles are not the only causes of a thick neck. Sometimes the problem is that one of your six salivary glands is extra-large. It’s the one under your chin, the submandibular gland. Tightening your neck muscles and removing excess fat without addressing this issue will make an oversized submandibular gland even more visible.
The submandibular gland is quite familiar to my colleagues and me. After starting out as Ear, Nose, and Throat specialists, facial plastic surgeons like me had to take further training to become Head and Neck Surgeons. Only after gaining experience in this area can we receive further training to become Facial Plastic Surgeons. Head and neck surgeons perform many procedures on the submandibular gland. Those that are blocked or cancerous must be removed. Dr. David Eisle at Johns Hopkins Medicine wrote:
When one salivary gland is removed, the others can provide adequate saliva to help you talk, eat, and swallow. Dry mouth after submandibular gland excision is very rare.
If removing this gland entirely rarely causes dry mouth, it’s very unusual to see that problem when we’re just shaving it down to size. In fact, one study found that the patients it examined had no cases of dry mouth.
Carefully applying heat, your facial plastic surgeon can shave a large submandibular gland down by 50%. He or she will carefully avoid the facial nerve above it and the salivary duct below. It will no longer stick out. Combined with the other steps mentioned above, this procedure will streamline your neck. Since your skin is young and elastic, it will follow the contour of your new, more attractive neck.
One caveat: shaving down your submandibular gland may make it leak saliva under your neck skin for up to a week. Unless we take precautions, this could last for 30 days. This would require treatments every few days for weeks to alleviate it. To help you avoid that, your surgeon will place a drain there for 5 to 7 days. They can recommend a diet that produces less saliva when you eat. After a week, your surgeon will remove the drain and you can go back to your favorite foods.
A mere one percent of patients will experience some bleeding 7-10 days after their neck lift. Your surgeon can readily treat that issue in the unlikely event that it occurs.
The right surgeon can tailor your treatment to your specific needs
There is no “one size fits all” treatment for a thick neck. That’s why it’s vital to work with a highly experienced, board-certified facial plastic surgeon. Tech neck, for instance, can cause your neck muscles to become loose. The Streamlining Neck Lift could work well for you. But if your skin is sagging, a neck lift that eliminates loose skin may be better for you.
People who are middle-aged or older probably need a traditional neck lift. It will eradicate a double chin or turkey neck. However, many in that group have jowls, marionette lines, or clearly visible nasolabial folds. A Deep Plane Facelift can eliminate all those issues while also smoothing and rejuvenating their neck. A qualified and experienced facial plastic surgeon can spot the real problem and recommend the best solution.
To streamline your thick neck or tech neck, you’ll want to consult a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who has performed many neck lifts. I have performed 6,000 facelifts and thousands of neck lifts in my career. If you want to find out the best way to treat your thick neck or tech neck, come in for a free consultation at STC Plastic Surgery. You’ll be surprised how easy and affordable it can be.