Will a neck lift while I’m younger keep my neck from looking like my mom’s? Is there such a thing as “preventative maintenance”? When is the right time for neck lift surgery?
These are all great questions I hear often from my patients. The neck is an area of strategic importance during the aging process. It is often one of the first areas that reveal signs of aging—neck bands, fullness of the neck angle and wrinkled skin. Think of the infamous “turkey gobbler” as the ultimate form of a bad neck. An aging neck is a very noticeable measure of advancing age and is often an area of concern for patients over the age of 40.
Over the years, many patients with rather nice necks have come to me for neck lift surgery. Why would someone with a nice neck want a neck lift? Were they crazy? Did they have body dysmorphia disorder? Was there a hidden camera that was going to show me agreeing to perform unnecessary surgery on my patient?
After in-depth inquiry, I came to realize that most of these patients looking for neck lift surgery had close family members with bad necks and they believed that by seeking treatment early, they could prevent their necks from suffering the same fates. This request for preventative maintenance sounds like a good idea, but it unfortunately doesn’t work that way. Genetics has a powerful influence over the aging process: we only need to look at our parents to see a glimpse into our futures. Early treatment of potential problem areas will not prevent the aging process.
Seek treatment when the problem becomes significant enough where you would actually benefit from neck lift surgery. Performing a procedure on a perfectly good neck will result in, well, a perfectly good neck, but it will not stop the aging process. There is no advantage to treating the area earlier—especially if no problem has actually developed yet.
If you see features in your parents that you don’t like, don’t fret about what could happen to you. Live your life to the fullest and take a “wait and see” attitude. You may not develop the problem at all, and if you do, treatment is always an option.