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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 (45)

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 41 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 62 reviews

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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 58 reviews

Neck lift

+1
None of the options you mention will provide any improvement.  There are many so called non surgical treatments for a loose neck.  They thrive off a public that will do anything to avoid surgery, which I can understand.  Unfortunately, they really don't work.  A neck lift is still your best, and in my opinion, only worthwhile option.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Laser Assisted Weekend Necklift

+1
It is possible that you may be a candidate for what I have termed, "The Laser Assisted Weekend Necklift:" It is a minimally invasive procedure.

Cervicofacial Liposculpture is first employed to contour the unfavorable fatty changes seen in the face and neck as time passes by, such as the ‘Turkey neck’ and ‘double chin’.

Careful attention is then turned to tightening the neck muscles and eliminating neck bands. Finally, I employ laser technology to ‘resurface’ the underside of the neck skin, thereby ‘shrinkwrapping’ the skin of the neck restoring a youthful contour.

A consultation with a board certified facial plastic surgeon or board certified plastic surgeon will help determine which procedures will provide the best results for you.

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Alternatives to neck lift surgery

+1
There  are some alternatives like Ultherapy.  These are usually designed for modest improvement.  You are best seen in person by a board-certified plastic surgeon in order to get all your questions answered.  Below is a non surgical result. 

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Addressing the aging neck

+1
Our neck ages in several ways. Moving from superficial to deep: first our skin ages with weathering from sun exposure, smoking, and other environmental insults. This skin aging manifests with brown spots, wrinkles, and a loss of collagen and elastin that leads to neck skin laxity. Being anatomically very superficial, these are the easiest changes to try to address, usually with creams, lasers and other resurfacing and tightening devices. As far as tightening goes, no cream will address this even with minor aging changes, but some of the more aggressive lasers can definitely give some amount of tightening, although even with moderate neck laxity this probably will not be enough.

The second part of our aging neck is the underlying soft tissues. This includes the subcutaneous fat, and the muscle that underlies this fat. Some people have a "heavy neck" where they have accumulated some amount of fat in their neck area that is contributing to the blunting of their neck angle. This can be addressed with a small amount of liposuction, or in the future likely with some injectable products that are on the horizon and in the FDA's hands as we speak, namely ATX – 101. Again, addressing the fat under the neck is not the be-all end-all if you have a truly moderate to severe amount of laxity and blunting.

The muscle that supports her neck is called the platysma. It too ages, and as it becomes lax contributes significantly to the sagging neck and is often seen as the banding noticed in the aging neck. In mild cases of banding this can be addressed with a neuromodulator like Botox. In a neck lift, it is this platysma muscle that is suspended and used to lift the neck and re-create that beautiful neck angle. Often times, a small amount of liposuction can also be performed with your neck lift to address both of those changes.

To see what suits you best, seek out a dermatologic surgeon, oculoplastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon or plastic surgeon who is board certified and fellowship trained in one of these "core four" cosmetic specialties.

Cameron Chesnut, MD, FAAD
Spokane Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 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.