Ask a doctor

Neck Lift Without Surgery - What Works?

I have developed a turkey neck look and can't stand how old it makes me look. Plenty of magazines suggest alternatives to getting neck lift surgery.  Do any of these seem worth trying instead of plastic surgery?

  1. tightening cream like L’Oreal’s Collagen Skin Re-Modeller
  2. accent laser
  3. restylane

Doctor Answers (41)

Alternatives to necklift surgery

+6
In my medical spa we offer many non-surgical options for aesthetic enhancement. For the right indication, many of these non-surgical options are quite effective. However, If there is skin excess, surgery is the only effective option. 

If a person’s neck does not appear youthful, the face – no matter how limited the aging changes are – will often not be perceived as youthful either, unless the aging neck is concealed.
Even in the absence of other signs of facial aging, a poorly-defined or sagging neck can add years to a patients overall facial appearance. When performed expertly and with great attention to detail, a necklift surgery can dramatically restore a natural and youthful neck profile, with no outward evidence that surgery has been performed. The adjective that immediately comes to mind when I review ‘before and after’ images of my necklift patients is elegant – for restoring a youthful neck contour truly makes the patient appear not just younger but also refined and elegant.
Necklift surgery can consist of a variety of surgical techniques that are carefully selected to meet each individual patient’s particular needs. It is therefore important to select a qualified physician with a great deal of experience in numerous necklift procedures. In younger patients with good skin tone, submandibular liposuction alone may produce a dramatic improvement. For some patients with good skin tone but poor definition at the angle of the neck, I add a suture-suspension necklift to sharpen the angle between the jawline and neck. This procedure is minimally invasive and has a very quick recovery. It will not, however, improve the situation if a true excess of skin is present.
Patients with more advanced aging changes in the neck generally require tightening of their neck skin as well. The neck is the one area in facial rejuvenation where a tighter and more toned surgical result looks natural and aesthetically ideal (as opposed to the face where ‘tight’ and ‘tighter’ just looks like surgery). Neck skin removal is accomplished through incisions around the ears which can be extended a short distance into the scalp if necessary. If the incisions are created and closed correctly and without undue tension, a very natural looking result can be obtained with no obvious signs that a necklift has been performed. A great deal of experience and expertise is required to avoid distortion of the ear and surrounding skin.


Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Non-surgical options for neck lift

+3

There are non-surgical options for neck lift and they are effective, however, there are certain things that need to be considered.

  • None of the non-surgical options for neck lift are as effective as surgery.  If you elect to proceed with this option, it is important to understand that you are making a compromise.
  • Not all non-invasive options are equivalent.  Ultherapy has a worth it index of 100%  Thermage is 40%
  • There are no miracle treatments.  To improve the appearance of the neck it is necessary to induce a healing response to an injury.  Our patients that are having Ultherapy treatments are getting results but they are sore for several weeks.
  • It is possible to obtain short term results with cremes and lotions but the benefit does not last. 

Joseph Campanelli, MD
Minneapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Scarless, non-surgical Neck Lifts - What is it?

+3

In the youthful neck, the skin and the underlying Platysma muscle are tightly attached to the underlying deeper neck structures with the line from chin to neck to base of neck creating a sharp acute angle. With age, as the skin loosens, as the muscle loosens and forms visible pillars and as fat may accumulate both over the muscle and under the platysma muscle the angle acuity is gradually lost and replaced with what eventually in extreme cases becomes a straight line - chin to base of neck.

In earlier cases of neck aging, the sides / pillars of the platysma muscle can be softened and almost made invisible by expert injection of Botox (DO NOT let a non-doctor or inexperienced physician attempt it). The neck skin CAN be shrunk and smoothed with various modalities (a great one treatment is the Sciton BBL).

But - when the condition progresses to the extent you describe, the only really effective solution is a surgical neck lift. This would involve putting the platysma muscle together in the midline and pulling it up on the sides against the chin to neck line. The loose skin is then removed in front of the ears and, depending on the method and extent of skin, along the back of the ear.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

You might also like...

Necklifts in a nutshell

+3

The neck has several issues to consider;

1- excess, sagging skin

2-Too much neck fat, or too little if over-treated with liposuction.

3-Turkey Gobblers - This is the result of the muscles in the neck (platysma) sagging and separating in the midline.

Treatments for neck issues;

Liposuction - for excess neck fat in patients with good skin tone and elasticity.Minimal incisions.

Liposuction with platysmaplasty - Liposuction of the neck, correction of the platysmal bands (turkey gobblers), redreaping of the skin for patients with excess fat, platysmal bands, but good skin tone and elasticity. Small incision under the chin.

Necklift - liposuction, platysmaplasty and removal of excess skin from behind the ears. Recovery is short. Patients can return to ordinary activities in 4-6 days.

Submental skin excision with platysmaplasty - Removal of fat, tightening of platysmal bands and removal of excess skin by vertical scar under the chin. 24-36 hour downtime. Limited procedure, great for men and anyone not wanting a full necklift.

Alternatives:

Laser treatments and radiofrequency treatments for tightening the skin are a waste of money.

Skin creams are great for prevention. They include; Retin-A, Alpha Hydroxy acid, Anti-oxidants and sunblock.

 

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Turkey Necks are best addressed with Surgery

+3

Hello Kym,

I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Wallach that the options you listed are only going to end up being a waste of time & money for you.

Turkey necks / aging necks are an anatomical problem that occur due to genetics, anatomy and the aging process. As such, in order to really get worthwhile improvement and lasting results surgery is the best option.

There are various forms of neck lift surgery. As a basic outline these are your options:

1. Platysmaplasty : a small incision is made under the chin and the loose neck bands are sewn together and tightened. Depending on how lax your skin is, the wrinkles in the neck may also improve.

2. Necklift : this procedure may be done with or without a platysmaplasty (depends on your anatomy & goals). Incisions are made behind the ear only and the weak muscles of the neck are elevated and secured into a higher position. Any loose skin is removed as well resulting in a more youthful neck.

3. Platysmaplasty with Neck lift: to get the maximal results the above two procedures can be combined.

I do all of the above with local anesthesia (that is a matter of preference for surgeon & Patient).

Consider meeting with a board certified and experienced Surgeon who can go over these potential options with you in detail. Definitely save your money & do not try the various products you have listed!

Kamran Jafri, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Only surgery can correct lax skin and muscle in the neck

+2

Non surgical treatments are becoming more widely available for many cosmetic concerns. Unfortunately if you have lax skin and muscle causing your neck to sag there really is no cream or laser treatment that will be of help.

If you pull your neck skin up in front of the mirror you can correct the turkey neck. Think about how much force is required to keep it there. That kind of direct upward pull can’t be achieved by a cream or by passing a laser over the skin.

Fortunately lifting the neck up surgically is a straight forward and very effective treatment for the problem. Most patients are back to work quickly and the results last for years.

I hope in the future we will discover non surgical ways of rejuvenating or perhaps preventing lax neck skin however at this point surgery is the only effective treatment.

Thomas Buonassisi, MD
Vancouver Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Neck Lift without vs with Surgery

+1
There is no substitute for surgery for the most significant and longest lasting improvements for the neck. Non invasive options that result in some noticeable but modest improvement include  laser, peels, thermage, radiofrequency and ultherapy. Creams like Retin A slow the aging process but doesn't reverse it that much other than some textural improvement. See the below link for BioSpa to see more information on skin treatments.


For the best result consider a mini lift such as the MACS lift, Lite Lift and others will improve both the lower face(jawline) as well as the neck. A necklift mainly focuses on the neck. The best value and quickest recovery time in my experienced is from a mini-lift procedure.

An exam is always needed to determine how the specific causes of your undesired neck appearance. In particular there are 4 main factors that need to be evaluated:
1. the amount of redundant skin, excess fat below the chin, (requires neck or facelift)
2. banding of your neck mid-line neck muscles (platysmal bands) - requires platysmal plication (neck tightening)
3. elasticity of your skin. - requires laser or peels, thermage, ultherapy
4. a weak chin (supports the skin structure) - requires chin augmentation
Each of these components are dealt with in a different manner. For example, excess fat requires direct removal or liposuction (more common), widely spread playtsmal bands are brought together (neck tightening), and excess skin is removed with a lower facelift or neck lift (this can be done with minimal scars). Certain lasers and peels can help with elasticity problems and your photo seems to indicate adequate chin projection.


Traditional liposuction removes excess fat superficial to the platysmal muscle. A neck lift is able to remove fat both above and below the platysmal muscle and tighten it; this will give a more defined jaw/neck line. .The lax skin in your upper neck can be approached directly by a less invasive facelift in the mini-face lift such as the MAC or Lite Lift procedures. The least invasive would be one of these procedures which corrects the upper neck loose skin extremely well.. My own personal preference and in my hands the one with the least invasive approach is a Lite Lift which is performed in my office under local anesthesia with some oral sedation without the need for IV sedation or general anesthesia.

Always go to a board certified plastic surgeon with great experience in neck and face lifting.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Non-Surgical Neck Lift Options

+1
By the time you have significant excess skin noticeable on your neck, the above suggestions will not make a significant difference.  A neck lift with removal of the skin will give you the younger, smooth look you desire.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Removing excess skin from the neck requires surgery.

+1
Removing excess skin from the neck requires surgery.
Many patients call our office wanting to know what they can do to tighten their neck without surgery.Unfortunately there are no good, non-surgical options to remove skin and tighten the neck.There are non-surgical things out there, however they are not going to give you the results (long and short term) that a face/ neck lift will give you.“Buyer beware” of the things that are sold to you to tighten extra skin of the neck.You mentioned creams, lasers and filler in your question.Creams can make the skin look brighter and help with fine lines and wrinkles, especially if you are buying medical grade products from a plastic surgery practice or dermatologist.Lasers can reduce fine lines and pigment, but the lasers that “tighten”, just do not get you the results a face lift will.Fillers, do not remove excess skin, they fill out a wrinkle or crease like the folds from the corners of your nose to the corners of your mouth. In terms of surgical options to correct your neck you are looking at a facelift procedure.A lot of patients call our office or come in and say “I don’t want a face lift, I just want my neck tighter”.A neck lift is part of a face lift.A face lift can remove the excess skin from the neck area giving you a smooth neck and better jaw line.The platysma bands of the neck are tightened to smooth the neck as well through a small incision under the chin.In most cases a face/ neck lift can be performed with little downtime, minimal scaring and can get you very natural, but effective results. If you are looking for real results, you should contact a board certified plastic surgeon for a face lift consultation.Good luck!

Christopher T. Maloney Jr., MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Surgical Intervention Necessary to Treat Excess Saggy Facial Skin

+1

Unfortunately, there’s really no way to treat excess saggy facial skin without some type of surgical intervention. Occasionally injectable fillers can disguise the problem and sometimes Botox can diminish superficial wrinkles, but skin sag can’t be addressed with topical creams.

Surgical intervention will prove to be necessary despite claims to the contrary by multiple info commercials.  If you’re concerned about facial skin sag consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is appropriate.  This surgeon should be able to formulate a plan to address your concerns.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.