• Combatting the Signs of Aging: Neck Lift vs. Non-Invasive Alternatives


    By Dr. Jesse E. Smith, MD, FACS
    Facial Plastic Surgeon

    Age gracefully: a phrase we often hear but can find challenging to embody, especially when our neck begins to show undeniable signs of aging. The neck, frequently exposed to environmental factors and bearing the weight of time, may develop sagging skin, muscle banding, and accumulate fat. While a neck lift has been a traditional and effective remedy, there are also non-invasive alternatives available today. This article aims to provide clarity on both approaches.

    Neck Lift: The Time-Tested Solution

    A neck lift, or lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure designed to rejuvenate the neck’s appearance. Here are its primary benefits:

    1. Lasting Results: A neck lift offers long-term solutions to the effects of aging, potentially lasting for many years.

    2. Comprehensive Transformation: This procedure addresses multiple concerns simultaneously – sagging skin of the neck and jaw line, muscle banding, and excess fat.

    3. Tailored Approach: Each neck lift is customized to the patient’s anatomy and aesthetic goals, ensuring a natural and harmonious outcome.

    The surgical process involves making incisions, typically starting at the hairline, extending around the ear, and possibly under the chin. Excess fat may be removed or repositioned, muscles tightened, and skin re-draped, achieving a youthful contour.

    Non-Invasive Alternatives: The Modern Approach

    The rise of technology in cosmetic medicine has provided patients with multiple non-surgical treatments for neck rejuvenation. Some of the most popular include:

    1. Botox for Platysmal Bands: Botox injections can relax the platysma muscle, softening or eliminating the appearance of vertical neck bands.

    2. Ultherapy or Thermage: These treatments use ultrasound or radiofrequency energy, respectively, to tighten the skin. They stimulate collagen production, leading to gradual skin tightening over several months.

    3. Kybella: An injectable treatment designed to dissolve fat, Kybella is primarily used for the submental area (under the chin), reducing the appearance of a “double chin.”

    4. Cosmetic Injections: Another injectable treatment to fill small lines within the neck to smooth the skin, and improve the skin appearance.

    5. Non-Permanent Thread Lifting: These are temporary, resorbable threads used below the skin surface to tighten neck skin.

    These treatments, while less invasive than surgery, might require maintenance sessions to sustain the results.

    Combination Therapies: The Best of Both Worlds

    There are scenarios where combining a surgical procedure with non-invasive treatments can produce optimal outcomes. For instance, a patient who undergoes a neck lift might also benefit from Botox or Cosmetic Injections to enhance the smoothness of the neck further. Such combinations allow for nuanced enhancements, addressing both major and minor concerns.

    Making an Informed Decision

    When deciding between a neck lift and non-invasive alternatives, several factors come into play:

    1. Desired Outcome: If you are looking for a significant transformation and lasting results, a neck lift might be the ideal choice. On the other hand, if you are aiming for subtle improvements or are not ready for surgery, non-invasive methods could be preferable.

    2. Recovery Time: A neck lift involves downtime, while non-invasive treatments often have minimal to no recovery periods.

    3. Budget: While a neck lift may have a higher upfront cost, it offers long-lasting results. Non-invasive treatments, although individually less expensive, might require repeat sessions.


    The neck is a prominent feature, reflecting our age and lifestyle. Whether you opt for a traditional neck lift or explore non-invasive treatments, the key lies in choosing the right procedure for your unique needs. With the expertise of board-certified facial plastic surgeons like Jesse E. Smith, MD, FACS, you can navigate the myriad of options, ensuring you achieve a rejuvenated appearance that aligns with your vision.

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