Comprehensive Approach to Rejuvenation of the Neck
12 October 2001 (online)
A comprehensive rejuvenation of the neck depends on accurate analysis of the lower face and neck with attention to the contours and deep-lying structures. Although many surgeons address the well-recognized changes in skin and soft tissue that occur with aging, we believe bone resorption is also an important component. Loss of bone volume leads to loss of support for the soft tissues of the face. The result is soft tissue ptosis and loss of angularity between the various planes of the face. Initially, there is loss of the submental shadow and loss of height of the mandibular ramus. The gonial angle loses its prominence, and the chin becomes ptotic. The line of the body of the mandible is further obscured by the appearance of jowls. As the mandible shrinks, the submandibular gland as well as the muscles that make up the floor of the mouth are pushed inferiorly. For loss of bone support, implants tailored to the areas of deficit and to the aesthetic goals are used. These implants used for the mandible are tridimensional structures made from beaded polyethylene material. This restores the bone volume and provides good support for the soft tissues. We routinely perform a deep-layer cervicoplasty. This involves removing fat from the subplatysmal layer and between the anterior bellies of the digastric muscles. The digastric muscles are plicated toward the midline. The platysma muscle is separated from the underlying submandibular gland. Ptosis of the submandibular gland is treated by suspension of the fascia with sutures or imbrication of the overlying muscle.
A short corset platysmaplasty brings the platysma muscles to the midline. Above the level of the hyoid bone, the digastric muscles are included in the sutures. If the patient has an obtuse cervicomental angle, but good-quality skin, there may be no need to perform skin resection. In these patients who are candidates for nonexcisional cervicoplasty, we routinely place a neck suspension suture. Patients with poor skin quality or excessive skin on the neck and jawline will require an excisional cervicoplasty or cervicofacial rhytidectomy. We have obtained consistently good results using this comprehensive approach.
Neck lift - mandibular matrix implants