The dreaded Turkey Neck – loose neck skin or visible V-shaped neck banding -– can make a person who feels young and vital look old. At one time, a turkey neck was a sign of aging. Today, younger people get it too. ABC News reports on a recent phenomenon, “tech neck.” The network interviewed Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer, who spoke about what he’s seen, even with younger patients:
“Their main concern is, ‘Doc, I have a droopy neck,’ and they’re 23 years old. … So that sort of early concept of a turkey gobbler neck, droopiness, very common and it’s triggered by always looking down,” he said. “Cellphones, all sorts of tablets, looking down at your computer screens all the time. This is such an electronic group that they’re inducing early aging.”
Young or old, if you’re starting to feel like you want to hide your neck, maybe it’s time to do something about it.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Brian Machida is one of the most experienced facial plastic surgeons in the United States. He has performed more than 4,000 facial plastic surgeries in his career, including facelifts, neck lifts and blepharoplasties. He taught facial plastic surgery for years at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. He now practices at STC Plastic Surgery, Ontario, Inland Empire, California.
What causes a turkey neck to form?
When we’re young, our bodies produce a steady, abundant supply of collagen and elastin. These help your skin stay healthy and elastic. As we age, our production of these key proteins slows down. Your skin may become thinner. Ultraviolet light from the sun as well as pollutants in the air add to the problem. Soon, skin that was once strong and elastic starts to sag.
The platysma muscles that support your neck can get loose and flabby. Some people develop excess neck fat and a double chin. In others, aging primarily shows itself in prominent V-shaped vertical neck bands or loose skin and a turkey neck. Inland Empire, where I practice, seems to have exactly the hot, dry, sunny climate that lifts your spirits but promotes facial aging.
Is a non-surgical turkey neck treatment best?
Many look to non-surgical treatments for help with their vertical banding or turkey neck. They’d naturally prefer something that’s non-invasive, but still effective. And if you’re a young, healthy person with “tech neck,” this might be a great option for you. Popular treatments include Renuvion, Precision TX and NeckTite. As you can see in “Non Surgical Neck Lift – Is NeckTite or Renuvion your Best Option for Tightening Loose Skin?”, these modalities can work well – in the right circumstances.
Many of these techniques work best for younger people with healthy, elastic skin. They’ll often also work for you if you have a less severe case or excess neck fat and a double chin. Results can vary from patient to patient, depending on your individual anatomy. If your turkey neck is primarily due to loose skin or V-shaped neck bands, you may not get the results you want.
In some cases, NeckTite procedures are performed by physician’s assistants and RNs. But some non-invasive treatments like this one are technique-dependent. In other words, you often need a skilled physician applying surgical techniques to get the results you want. For example, NeckTite works by causing skin to contract. If it’s only applied to your loose skin, the effect may not be good.
NeckTite device placement is critical. The apparatus should be used across the neck, including the area where a surgeon would pull your skin to tighten it. If often takes surgical training and experience to determine the right treatment area for each patient. The provider’s knowledge and skill are critical if you’re going to get the results you want. Despite these limitations, NeckTite saves you only about 33% compared to a surgical necklift.
A surgical neck lift provides reliable, natural results
The most reliable results come from a high-quality surgical neck lift. An experienced facial plastic or plastic surgeon can effectively tighten your loose muscles and remove excess skin. Whether you’re young or old, a good surgical neck lift will eliminate your turkey neck and V-shaped banding.
Your surgeon will make small incisions: one under your chin and discreetly in front of and behind each ear. He or she will remove any excess fat under your skin. Next, the doctor will tighten the platysma muscles on the sides and in the center of your neck. Finally, your surgeon will remove excess skin. You’ll end up with a much smoother, streamlined, younger-looking neck.
It’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions during your recovery period. If you do, you can expect just 7-10 days of downtime after a surgical neck lift. When you see the final result, you’ll be glad you followed the doctor’s orders.
When a younger look requires more than fixing your turkey neck
Many of the same factors that produce a turkey neck can also cause sagging in your lower face and jawline. This is particularly true once you reach your mid-50s. If you’re also seeing deepening nasolabial folds (laugh lines), marionette lines or jowls starting to form, it’s probably a good idea to consider having a lower facelift along with your neck lift.
A lower facelift will tighten up your jawline, eliminating jowls. Your surgeon will also soften your nasolabial folds and get rid of marionette lines that run from your mouth to your chin. And the great thing is that adding a lower facelift to your neck lift won’t add any extra downtime. With either or both procedures, you’ll look years younger in a week to 10 days.
If your turkey neck or a sagging lower face is making you self-conscious, why not have an in-person or virtual consultation with an experienced board-certified facial plastic or plastic surgeon? If you’re in Inland Empire, California, you can find me at STC Plastic Surgery in Ontario.