Nonexcisional, Minimally Invasive Rejuvenation of the Neck
Western civilization is experiencing a “boom in boomers,” an aging population, with population
decline. The aging population in Western Europe, North America, and Asia has disposable income
and the mantra of “youth and vitality” has this generation increasingly presenting for aesthetic treatments, specifically noninvasive or nonexcisional procedures. The neck aesthetic subunit often ages early and more noticeably than other head and neck regions and is one of the most common motivations for patients to present to aesthetic physicians for rejuvenation options. The neck undergoes extrinsic and intrinsic aging changes in all anatomic layers and the aesthetic physician must be well equipped to deal with aging cervical concerns, both surgically and nonsurgically. For the surgeon, being skilled in nonsurgical cervical rejuvenation is critical, as many patients may opt or nonexcisional cervical enhancements, alone, or in combination with other facial cosmetic surgical procedures. For the cervical surgeon, a familiarity and expertise with nonsurgical management of the neck, as “stand-alone” therapy or as postoperative “protect your investment” treatments, may help extend and prolong the achievements achieved surgically.
A youthful neck is most often characterized by an acute cervicomental angle and a firm, well-defined jawline (Fig. 1). The skin in a youthful neck is smooth and devoid of horizontal or vertical neck lines; has no platysmal bands; no visible submandibular glands; small, nonhypertrophic masseter muscles; and skin that is bright and even in color, with minimal melanin or vascular lesions. For the nonexcisional cervical physician, aesthetic rejuvenation of the neck with a multimodal, nonexcisional, minimally invasive approach will be a very common and popular component of the facial aesthetic practice. For all aesthetic physicians, familiarity with the aging tissue changes of the neck, its anatomy and the possible minimally invasive, nonexcisional interventions, including laser, light, radio frequency, high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) energy-based therapy, both transepidermal and subdermal approaches, injectable soft tissue fillers, neuromodulators, and ablative and nonablative technologies for skin rejuvenation, as well as suture-based suspensory techniques, all used alone or in combination, will be a valuable asset to the global aesthetic head and neck cosmetic physician.
This article brings together the “tried-and-true” nonexcisional neck rejuvenation methodologies, which have had long-term, peer-reviewed success in the literature, together with procedures and technologies that have emerged in the past few years that have proven to be successful and complementary. It is my hope that this information assists aesthetic physicians in enhancing their global approach to nonexcisional rejuvenation of the neck.