Really and truly not the most flattering name for something that occurs quite commonly as we age, but it’s a name that has somehow become the most popular as an easy way of describing sagging and wrinkling skin on the neck, or anywhere from below the jawline to about the collarbone.
We will just preface this by saying that just because it’s called “turkey neck” does absolutely not mean that you look like a turkey! As we age the muscle in our neck, known as the platysma, weakens, and in combination with the loss of skin elasticity due to a decrease in collagen production, these changes cause the skin on the neck to wrinkle and sag.
If you’re concerned about neck skin laxity there are a number of both surgical and non-surgical ways that it can be addressed.
Neck Lift/Facelift: Great for Laxity Around the Neck
In the surgical category, a neck lift or combination facelift/neck lift is a great option. Because a lot of what causes the “turkey neck” is the weakening of the platysma muscle, often times the only way to tighten and strengthen this muscle is with surgery. A neck lift, which is also called a platysmaplasty, does just that: it tightens the neck or platysma muscle while at the same time removing excess fat and lifting excess skin to reveal a smoother, softer and more contoured, youthful neckline.
The neck lift can provide dramatic results all on its own but can also be combined with a facelift. Patients often opt for this combination procedure in order to achieve a more balanced result. We tend to consider the neck to be very much a part of the face. A facelift tightens the underlying face muscles, lifts skin tissue, removes excess skin, and adds overall contour and definition to the face, eliminating wrinkles for a smooth and supple look.
Not everyone is ready for surgery or necessarily needs it. Surgery, although it will result in the most dramatic transformation and give you the longest lasting result, is still surgery. It is invasive and requires recovery and downtime. If you’re not ready for surgery or are simply not the right candidate for this option, at The Plastic Surgery Clinic and MD Beauty Clinic we also offer non-surgical treatments that effectively address skin laxity on the neck.
Thread Lift and FaceTite for “Turkey Neck”
Some of the newest treatments we offer can also treat the neck area without the need for surgery.
The thread lift is an excellent non-surgical treatment for skin laxity in the neck area, where PDO threads are inserted just below the surface of the skin and then strategically manipulated in order to lift and tighten the tissue. This is ideal if you’re dealing with moderate skin laxity and aren’t quite at the point where you need surgery just yet. The great thing about the thread lift is that it requires virtually no downtime and results can last for up to a year or longer.
FaceTite (sometimes called NeckTite when used for the neck area), is a treatment that uses radiofrequency technology sub-dermally in order to tighten sagging skin and eliminate small amounts of fat. FaceTite is a little more aggressive as a treatment and is great for those who need a little bit of a more targeted approach as opposed to the overall lift that the thread lift can offer.
FaceTite tightens the skin by shrinking tissue, and it can shrink tissue by about 70% resulting in a much tighter and firmer neck. It can also be combined with liposuction in something called radiofrequency-assisted liposuction (RFAL), which can also eliminate pockets of unwanted fat if necessary. You’ll need to allow for a little bit of downtime for this treatment, but it’s nothing compared to surgery. FaceTite or NeckTite results can last anywhere from 1-5 years.
Liposuction, CoolSculpting and/or Belkyra
Sometimes you can get that turkey neck look not just with the weakening of the neck muscle but also due to a collection of fat just underneath the chin or in the neck area. We call this submental fat and it is often what also creates the double chin effect. If it’s submental fat that’s the concern, liposuction, CoolSculpting, or Belkyra can also be an option.
Liposuction again is surgery, and is best for when you’re looking to remove larger amounts of fat in a very targeted and more aggressive way.
CoolSculpting and Belkyra are non-surgical options and require no downtime. Both treatments offer permanent results, only in different ways. CoolSculpting will target the fat in the area by freezing it. When fat cells are frozen they die and are eventually eliminated naturally by your body.
Belkyra is similar in that it also permanently destroys fat, only this is done with the injection of an already naturally occurring substance in the body called deoxycholic acid, which directly destroys fat cell membranes, also causing them to die. Belkyra is a treatment that specifically targets the double chin, whereas CoolSculpting is a treatment that can also be used on other areas of the body.
If you’re wondering which of these options might be right for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Whether you’re looking for a non-surgical approach, or you’re open to surgery that might better meet your goals, we’d love to help you stay as informed as possible about all of your options.