The Aging Neck: The neck undergoes degenerative changes due to aging, accumulated sun exposure, weight gain, and genetic predilection. The skin becomes lax forming multiple horizontal wrinkles. Vertical fibrous bands on the neck are due to contraction and prominence of the shallow neck muscles. The contraction of muscles combined with aging and photo damage causes the turkey neck appearance that most patients dislike.

Until recently the only choice for rejuvenation of the neck and face jowls was through surgical procedures. These surgical procedures were not an option for a number of reasons including not being psychologically prepared for surgery and non-surgical candidates because of medical challenges. Some patients are unwilling to go through the recuperation period and younger patients with early degenerative changes of the face and neck do not warrant surgery.

Categories of the Aging Neck

STAGE I

  • Platysmal bands only detectable with neck contraction
  • Subtle horizontal rhytides
  • No laxity of the skin
  • No submental fat pads


STAGE II

  • Thin platysmal bands
  • Minimal jowls
  • Mild skin laxity
  • Mild horizontal neck rhytides


STAGE III

  • Moderate platysmal bands
  • Moderate jowls
  • Moderate skin laxity
  • Moderate horizontal rhytides
  • Submental fat pads


STAGE IV

  • Severe hypertrophy of the platysmal bands
  • Deep horizontal rhytides
  • Prominent jowls and loss of mandibular contour
  • Severe skin laxity
  • Prominent submental fat pads / drooping of the chin


A) BOTOX
Treatment technique: Botox is a wonderful option for treating the aging neck. It is very useful for early degenerative changes and for those that are not willing to go through a neck lift surgery and those that would like to postpone a face lift. The injections are straight forward and are required approximately 3 times a year but repeat injections become less frequent in many patients because the muscles relax easier. There is no down time (time away from your busy life) and the treatment technique is tolerated well with few side effects.

The side effects include:

  • Minimal tenderness
  • Some Bruising (those that bruise easily must be very careful not to take any anti-inflammatories including Aspirin, Vitamin E, Ibuprofens at least 1 week prior to the anticipated treatment)
  • Temporary neck weakness is rare because of the small doses of Botox.


B) PHOTOREJUVENATION - INTENSE PULSED LIGHT (IPL)
Photo damage of the neck and front part of the chest is manifested by a combination of texture changes, irregular blotchy pigmentation with telangiectatic vessels. In those with more advanced sun damage the vessels and pigmentation become more pronounced mixed with the laxity of the skin giving the turkey neck a much more blotchy appearance. Photorejuvenation using IPL is an excellent option for improving texture, tone, and color; however without Botox to relax the turkey neck appearance, photorejuvenation by itself can be disappointing. A combination of Botox and IPL treatments has proven to be very beneficial for Stage I, II and III categories of the aging neck and chest.

Treatment technique:

  • No prior preparation using topical treatment modalities is necessary.
  • Topical Emla-Max or equivalent is applied 15-30 minutes prior to your treatment session.
  • Treatment is well tolerated because of the low energy of the light source and the topical anesthetic cream.
  • Treatment sessions for necks and chests takes approximately 30 minutes.
  • Patients are required to bring their own topical Emla-Max.
  • Treatment sessions for necks and chests are done at 3-4 week intervals for a minimum of 5 treatments.
  • Treatment end point: Most patients will notice some improvement in color and texture after the third treatment but you must be patient.


Side Effects:

  • Scabbing, scaling and peeling are uncommon but if this occurs this is very temporary and can be controlled with topical moisturizer like Moisturel cream, Dormer Hyperemollient cream, Nutraderm cream or equivalents.
  • Slight burning and irritation are quite normal. This disappears quickly.
  • The low energy of the IPL treatments makes it safe to resume all regular activities immediately after your treatment. These activities include bathing, showering, exercising, and swimming.


C) THERMALIFT
ThermaLift is a clever use of radio frequency that allows for tightening of collagen, elastic tissue and muscle without any damage to the overlying skin. There is no downtime from your personal life.

How does the ThermaLift work?
Computerized controlled radio frequency tightens collagen, elastic tissue, and muscle in a uniform controlled pattern creating a smoother texture and firmness of the loose skin.

Is it painful?
This treatment can be sensitive so we use the newer topical anesthetic creams that are applied at our clinic called Emla-Max. This is not to be confused with Emla which is not effective.

How long does the procedure take?
The treatment may take anywhere from 15 minutes to 40 minutes depending on the size of the area treated.

When will the results be visible?
In those patients that have very loose skin the results can be seen within the first few weeks. However, with careful followup photographs results are gradual and may take from 4-6 months.

How many treatments will I need?
For some patients 1 treatment session is sufficient, others require more than one treatment. This is a new concept and as your skin matures and changes, touchup treatments may be required.

Can I combine ThermaLift with other treatment options?
ThermaLift will be used as a single modality however, at our centre combined treatments are the wave of the future. Usually patients will have a combination of eyelid lifts (laser upper and lower blepharoplasties for baggy eyelids), Botox to improve the animation lines giving patients a more confident softer look to their face. The newer fillers such as Restylane, Perlane, Artecoll, and Juvederm are used for depressed scars, facial folds, wrinkles, and lip enhancement. ThermaLift will tighten the skin but will not change the blotchy uneven tone pattern, pigmentation, or vessels. Intense Pulsed Light is a very natural combination with ThermaLift to improve all the effects of sun and aging.

Our Patients Say...

"Words cannot describe how thankful and appreciative I am to Dr. Remington and his staff for helping me restore my confidence and self-esteem." Steve K.

Contact Info

Remington Laser Dermatology Centre
150 - 7220 Fisher Street SE, Calgary, AB T2H 2H8 
Dr Kent B. Remington
Ph: 403 252 7784 | Fax: 403 259 5245
Dr Todd Remington
Ph: 403 255 1633 | Fax: 403 259 5245

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