Our faces are the first impression we give to everyone we meet and should reflect the inner youth and joy we feel. Many cosmetic procedures treat areas of the face but overlook the mid neck area, which despite a youthful face, can create the look of age.
Sagging skin, pockets of fat, textural quality, and an overall laxity in the neck muscles are inevitable parts of the aging process. This appearance of jowls and decreased jawline definition is motivation for many patients to seek treatment in order to rejuvenate their look and often regain their confidence.
The neck lift, technically termed a lower rhytidectomy, is one of the many surgical techniques for correcting the conditions mentioned above. Though there are many ways to achieve a tighter more youthful neck, the results with many of the techniques are consistently positive for patients with sagging neck and jowls.
Dr. Ptak addresses the tightening of the neck in multiple ways, but is best known for his expertise in artfully combining both surgical and non-surgical treatments. His methods involve ThermiRF technology, whereby tissue layers are treated with heat utilizing carefully regulated radio frequency. These methods are effective, non-surgical procedures that allow for faster healing times and equally dramatic results as other methods.
What is ThermiRF?
This device has been FDA approved for dermatological and surgical procedures. It is especially effective for areas of soft, delicate tissue. The radio frequency emitted from the device generates various levels of heat, which is carefully controlled to ensure patient safety and optimal results. Infrared imaging is also incorporated for additional accuracy and safety. It has various ways it can be administered from miniature probes or Smart Tips, to larger hand pieces, making the ThermiRF as versatile as it is beneficial.
When skin’s collagen is heated to certain temperatures, it prompts an inflammatory process that encourages new and “younger” collagen production over a certain time period. Dr. Ptak uses his expertise to perform the procedure with exact amounts of heat, protecting his patients from any discomfort or overheating.
Thermi RF Procedures
This approach combines ThermiRF technology with small probes or Smart Tips. Under local anesthesia in the office setting a probe is inserted under the skin surface, targeting and heating the subdermal tissues. Referred to by surgeons as “thermistor-controlled sub dermal skin tightening,’ The procedure allows for temperature monitoring as well, which ensures precision while also making sure to protect the skin from over-exposure to heat.
The treatment area is numbed with anesthetic and the miniature ThermiRF Smart Tip is inserted under the skin layer. The tip is then moved gently in an up and down motion, heating up the tissues in the area to the temperature desired. The thermal heat, causes an increase in the production of collagen, tightening the area, and providing a younger look.
For other delicate tissues such as those around the mouth, eyes, cheeks and neck, ThermiSmooth also provides a non-invasive way to increase skin elasticity. ThermiSmooth incorporates RF technology to stimulate collagen by utilising a custom surface hand piece to administer the energy and heating. The hand-piece heats the surface of the skin and creates a gentle sensation, often compared to a hot stone massage. The ThermiRF system is set to a target temperature ranging from 42C - 45C. The doctor then applies a cooling gel to the area and begins circular motions with the hand piece. The temperature is regulated throughout the treatment by the ThermiRF computer. Treatment to a specific area will resume for approx. 5 minutes and each treatment is repeated as necessary until the correct aesthetic goal is achieved.
This procedure is an excellent facial wrinkle solution with results lasting longer than Botox or other products. ThermiRase is a nerve ablation technique, which involves ThermiRF technology, but targets the nerves with heat, relaxing, rather than eliminating them. It works well on the neck area as a method for tightening and eliminating deep wrinkles and creasing. ThermiRase targets the nerves that serve the muscles, whereas Botox targets the muscles. Because of this, the results are longer lasting and typically only require one or two treatments. Using local anesthesia, it combines electrical and radio frequency stimulation to identify and relax only nerves and muscles that cause wrinkles. Results can be seen immediately.
Candidates for Surgical Neck Lift
The ideal candidate for a neck lift procedure has sagging skin and/or muscle under the jawline due to age, extreme weight loss, or heredity. Patients with excess pockets of stubborn fat under the chin are also candidates. The neck lift tightens and contours these problem areas resulting in not just a younger look, but often higher self esteem.
What to expect during the consultation
During your consultation, Dr. Ptak will examine the neck and jowls to decipher the best technique to use in addressing each patient’s problem areas. For some, the ThermiRF will work the best as they may not have extreme cases of skin sagging or neck muscle looseness. For others, who may have more extreme sagging and loss of muscle tension, a mini lift or face-lift may be recommended. After deciding the best method, Dr. Ptak will answer any questions you might have and give you additional information about the selected procedure. After your consultation, an appointment will be set for your treatment and Dr. Ptak, or a member of his friendly staff, will answer any questions or concerns leading up to the appointment.
Recovery varies depending on the technique that Dr. Ptak has used to address a patient’s neck lift. For the most part, ThermiRF procedures can have you back to your normal activities the day following your surgery. You may experience slight redness in the treatment area, mild bruising, and minor swelling. These subside after a few hours and are completely normal post recovery. During your recovery phase Dr. Ptak will measure the results and may recommend additional Thermi treatments. Each treatment is repeated as necessary, until the desired look is achieved, except for the ThermiRase technique, which only requires one or two treatments.
Face lifts can be used to tackle unwanted sagging skin around the neck and jawline as well. They involve surgery, which requires local anesthesia and sedation or general anesthesia. During the procedure, Dr. Ptak makes an incision along the hairline down to the earlobe and tightens the muscles and skin under the chin and around the area that have stretched over time. After the excess skin is removed the skin is re-draped in a natural fashion repositioned and stitched.
Naturally, face-lifts require a longer downtime and take more care and attention during recovery than non-invasive techniques. Activity has to be avoided for at least a week post surgery. Exercise or anything strenuous is not recommended and should be avoided until the treatment area has fully healed.
In some cases, a drainage tube may be inserted during surgery which will be removed one or. two days following surgery. Any sutures or staples used during the procedure will usually be removed five to ten days following surgery.
Full recovery takes two to four weeks, depending on the patient or the procedure performed and full results will be visible after 4-6 weeks.
Liposuction is also used to remove fat deposits under the chin. Sometimes used in combination with a neck lift, it has very dramatic results but requires more down time than the ThermiRF system, as it is an invasive procedure. During the surgery, a cannula (vacuum tube) essentially sucks the fat out of the area under the chin and then the small incisions are closed.
Liposuction has a low risk and is relatively inexpensive when compared to a facelift and other procedures of this kind.
Chin augmentation and Jawline restructuring
While most surgeons only offer simple chin implants when it comes to augmentation of the jaw, Dr. Ptak does a full analysis of your upper and lower jaw, your dental occlusion (bite) and the shape of the entire jaw from ear to ear. Through the creative use of both semi-permanent and permanent injectable fillers, as well as surgical, synthetic implants, artfully combining these methods can actually lift sagging skin and create more definition and a more balanced, aesthetically pleasing jawline. These techniques are customized to fit the facial structure of each patient and not only enhance the jawline but can add a much more three-dimensional correction than a standard facelift approach.
Costs depend entirely on the procedure or procedures performed by Dr. Ptak. After an extensive consultation he can give you an estimate for the treatments he plans to perform during your appointment. It is difficult to provide an accurate price before a consultation, so it is best advised to make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Ptak.
About Dr. Ptak
Based in Scottsdale Arizona, Dr. Jeffrey Ptak, boasts decades of experience in both surgical and non-surgical methods of aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. He is ranked in the top tenth percentile of the best plastic surgeons worldwide. He is a member of the ASPS, ASAPS, and is widely known for his expertise in Thermi Aesthetics.
For patients desiring a more youthful neck and jawline, Dr. Ptak can recommend and provide the most effective treatments, executing them with tremendous precision and skill. For information on Neck Lift and any other procedures, please call Dr. Ptak’s office at (480) 451-9220.