You already know that your smartphone is a distraction. You know it can be addictive to check your email again and again, post on social media at all hours of the night, and have a constant link to the latest news. Yet, you probably didn’t know that your smartphone could actually be causing you wrinkles. It’s true: a condition called “tech neck” results from the constant downward tilt of our faces and necks, reading those tiny screens day in and day out. Smartphones, tablets, e-readers, even our laptop computers can all lead to problems with this latest beauty nightmare. Fortunately, a surgical intervention called a neck lift can help to reverse some of this damage before it’s too late.
What Is Tech Neck?
Tech neck develops because of prolonged downward gazing at various devices we use in our daily lives. The major symptoms include many premature aging signs, such as creases and wrinkles in the skin of the neck. Fat accumulation around the chin and jaw, thanks to gravity, can also increase because of tech neck. The end result for many tech-users is loose skin, lines and wrinkles, skin folds, deep creases, and even a double chin. While these are all natural signs of aging, many prospective patients are complaining of these problems much earlier in life. Tech neck seems to advance the eventual signs of aging at a rapid pace, affecting the neck of those in their 40s, 30s, or even 20s.
Is Tech Neck Reversible?
The first step toward reversing tech neck is to break the pattern. Hold your smartphone up to view it. Recline when reading a tablet or e-reader screen. Limit the time you spend hunched over your laptop as much as possible. While these steps won’t do anything to erase the damage that’s already been done, they will help in your efforts to prevent any more damage in the future.
As far as removing those skin folds, excess fat deposits, and wrinkles is concerned, you’ll need to consult with a facial plastic surgeon experienced in neck lift surgery. This procedure focuses on rejuvenating the neck and the area beneath the chin and jaw. A neck lift is the surgery that can deliver the most dramatic results for patients with tech neck, so you might want to book your neck lift consultation today.
What Does a Neck Lift Involve?
Neck lift surgery is an outpatient procedure that is typically performed using local anesthesia and sedation, although general anesthesia is an option for patients who prefer it. The entire procedure usually lasts from one to three hours. First, small incisions are placed just beneath the chin, hidden within a natural crease to prevent visible scarring. One incision is then placed behind each ear, also in a hard-to-see location.
The neck lift procedure is actually a combination of two surgical procedures that work together to enhance the overall appearance of your neck. Cervicoplasty is a procedure used to remove excess skin from the neck, leaving it with a firmer, tauter appearance. Platysmaplasty removes or alters the neck muscles, eliminating the appearance of “bands” and strengthening the underlying supports of the neck. Most patients seeking neck lift surgery, even for tech neck, will require both procedures together to achieve their desired results.
Once your surgeon has removed excess fat, tightened the underlying muscles, and trimmed away the excess skin, he is ready to close your incisions and complete your neck lift surgery. Many patients opt to add other procedures to their neck lift, such as a facelift or an eyelid lift. Depending on the order of these procedures, your surgeon might move on to the next surgery or end your procedure here.
How Do I Plan for My Neck Lift?
Once you’ve decided to make the changes to your neck that you desire, the first step is to select a facial plastic surgeon who can guide you through the process to surgery. You should be careful in your choice, making sure that your surgeon is board certified, experienced in the neck lift procedure, and successful in the operating room. Once you’re comfortable with a surgeon, it’s time for your neck lift consultation.
During your consultation, you’ll work together with your facial plastic surgeon to plan your surgical procedure. He will want to know more about the results you hope to see, while also spending time to learn about your medical history and health status. He will take the time to evaluate your neck and that state of your skin, muscles, and fatty deposits. This is your opportunity to ask questions you have about neck lift surgery and anything related to the procedure, so don’t miss it.
When it comes time to talk about your surgery’s specifics, your facial plastic surgeon will be able to show you a prediction of your results using the Canfield VECTRA 3D Imaging system. This state-of-the-art device can take a three-dimensional photograph of you, the patient, and allow your surgeon to make his planned alterations to your neck. The image will then change to reflect these changes, giving you a lifelike preview of the results you can expect from your neck lift procedure. Using this device to plan a neck lift procedure can cut down on miscommunications and inaccurate expectations about the final result. At the end of your consultation, you’ll book your surgery date and receive your pre-operative instructions. The rest is now up to you until your date of surgery.
What If I Only Have Lines?
Many of the patients suffering from tech neck might be young enough that they haven’t begun to experience any skin laxity. Yet, thanks to that smartphone, the lines they’re seeing are a real bother. If this sounds more like what you’re experiencing, there are a couple of treatment options that can help you erase these “necklace lines.”
- Belotero injections provide a controllable amount of extra volume to smooth out these creases and restore a more youthful looking neck. They are safe, effective, and natural looking as well, thanks to the fine, less viscous gel formula. Belotero is made from biocompatible hyaluronic acid. The procedure is nonsurgical, provides immediate results, and involves only minimal side effects and no recovery time.
- A laser lift is another option that is less invasive, although it is surgical. This laser-based procedure eliminates neck lines while also tightening the skin, and all at a fraction of the cost of the full neck lift surgery.
If you’re interested in these alternative approaches to treating the aging neck, discuss them among your treatment options during your consultation with your facial plastic surgeon. The degree to which your tech neck has advanced will help to determine the best treatment options available to you, so enter your consultation with an open mind and make the choice that’s right for you.
Where Can I Get Started?
If you’re experiencing folds and creases, excess skin, and fatty areas in your neck, whether it’s from tech neck or not, it’s time to consult with an expert in the neck lift procedure. Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein has been practicing in the Hudson Valley for more than 14 years and specializes in facial plastic surgery, nasal, and sinus disorders. He uniquely combines his medical and surgical expertise to help patients feel better and look better. He holds dual board-certification from the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and is an Assistant Professor at New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.