Is There a Non Surgical Option for the Beginnings of a Turkey Neck?

I have read that surgery is necessary to achieve a neck lift, but I am 29 years old & have just noticed that my neck has begun to sag. I thought losing the few extra pounds I put on over the last year might fix it, but at 115 lbs, I still have the dreaded gobbler.

Doctor Answers 26

Non surgical Options for Turkey Neck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for your question.

From your photo it appears that you have a small amount of fat under your chin.

Non surgical methods such as Thermage, LuxIR, Titan, Ulthera etc are usually disappointing.

Laser Liposuction not only removes fat but in controlled studies also tightens skin. This is an option to consider.

I do not think you need a Neck Lift based on your photos.

Non-surgical procedure for a "turkey neck".

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I agree with Dr. Laverson that the chance of you having "sagging" skin at 29 is most likely not truly loose skin unless your genetics (did your father or mother have a "turkey" neck at an early age?) are causing it.  If it is fat that you are seeing and making you unhappy then that can certainly be improved with liposuction and your skin should tighten up as you are young and your skin should have a great amount of elasticity. 

My advise is to consult with a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon who will be able to tell you what your options are for improving this area.  Best of luck.

Arnold Zweig, MD (retired)
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon

Sagging neck in a young patient

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Patients who are quite young do not typically have sagging of their necks unless something else is going on. 

Patients who have weak chins sometimes note there is not enough support from the chin; in this case a chin implant helps (of course this would require surgery).

Occasionally patients have premature aging of the skin; several skin conditions can cause this.  The treatment is usually surgical and involves tightening.

If patients are OK with more modest results, there are skin tightening and light fractional resurfacing lasers, along with IPL lasers that can tighten the skin slightly.

More aggressive lasers such as the fractional CO2, ablative CO2, fractional ablative erbium etc. can be used to tighten skin and do not require cutting.

Although we offer patients the less invasive options, we always emphasize that patients should not expect surgery results from non-surgery treatments.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Neck improvement without surgery?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

look up Iguide, the "necks"big thing. It may be what you're looking for. I saw a nice presentation at the ASAPS meeting and am considering adding it to my repetoire. good luck p.s. don't fall for the /fraxellaser/radiofreq bullstuff.

Rafael C. Cabrera, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon

Neck tightening at 28

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Usually at 28 the complaint I get the most is fullness in the neck often due to some fatty tissue that is very amenable to liposuction. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Options for neck tightening

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Although it’s difficult to determine based on your photo, Smart Lipo is an effective way of resculpting the neck area and helps tighten loose skin. Smart Lipo uses laser light allowing finer resculpturing of the neck and jowls. If greater tightening of the skin is required, it can often be done with tiny incisions behind the ears. These procedures can be performed as an outpatient without the need for general anesthesia allowing for a quick recovery. It's possible to do this on a Friday and be back to work on Monday!

If you are looking for nonsurgical solutions, Thermage® is a safe, non-invasive cosmetic procedure that helps smooth, tighten and contour skin for an overall younger looking appearance. It can be used to treat sagging skin, loose jowls, lack of definition in the jaw line, sagging neck skin (“turkey neck”), wrinkles and fine lines, and lack of definition in the lips. The treatment delivers natural looking results with little to no downtime —on all skin colors, on and off the face, all in a single procedure. Fast and easy, you can even come in during your lunch break and return to work after! Thermage® uses radiofrequency technology to heat the deep, collagen rich layers of your skin. The heat helps tighten existing collagen and stimulate the formation of new collagen, which reduces sagging, renews contours, and improves the smoothness and texture of the skin’s surface. Comfort Pulse Technology, including a vibrating handpiece delivers enhanced patient comfort.

Another nonsurgical option is Ultherapy, a new non-invasive (zero downtime!) treatment using ultrasound for counteracting the effects of time and gravity on your skin. The Ultherapy procedure stimulates the body’s own regenerative response to gently and gradually restore memory to the skin and stimulate growth of new collagen. A gradual tightening occurs, resulting in a natural lift of the skin over several months. Ultherapy can be performed on patients of all skin types for facial sagging, jowls, neck, eyes, eyelid lifting. You can even resume normal activity immediately!

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Sagging neck and Thermage

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

As you're asking about nonsurgical treatments of a loose neck, you should consider Thermage. Liposuction is surgery and a neck lift is surgery and both may provide a different type of result. Thermage is NOT a replacement for these surgical treatments but can induce a tightening effect by using this external radiofrequency energy without creating any down-time! Some patients get good results and unfortunately, others don't.  There is an uncertainty and unpredictability as to who will get  a good result with Thermage, but if you refuse to have surgery now, or are not a surgical candidate based on what a plastic surgeon would say, then you might consider having Thermage.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Non surgical option for sagging facial skin.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The short answer is no! If you really nave sagging neck skin. only a minilift can remove the sagging skin if there is truly excess present. This would be extremely rare and in 35 years of face lifting I have never seen it. Be careful someone doesn't try to sell you a skin tightening procedure since this won't really tighten sagging skin.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Turkey gobbler in 29 year old

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

At 29 you should have good skin elasticity. Liposuction is an excellent option. Other modalities aiming at promoting skin contraction (Ulthera, Thermage) have met with mixed success and do not typcially produce consistent results.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

29 y/o-Titan infrared light treatments/SmartSkin Fractional CO2 laser/Smartlipo of neck (liposuction with skin tightening)

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There are various options that go up the ladder in terms of cost, no surgery, and surgery.

  1. For topical treatment, I recommend use of Retin A ( or Peel and Bleach Cream-Retin A, Hydroquinone skin bleaching agent and Hydrocortisone as an anti-inflammatory) which will help keep the neck skin in the best condition by exfoliation and maintaining youthful architecture of collagen in the dermis of the skin-simply by applying this cream or gel each night or every other evening when you are doing your pm skin care
  2. Titan infrared light treatments work very well on the neck and jawline area for skin tightening and this is a non-surgical office procedure, that takes 1 hour, has no down time, works when it is scheduled as multiple treatments over a period of 3 months and then maintenance treatments a minimum of 2 to 4 times a year, depending on the degree of laxity of the neck and jawline skin.  It can also be used in the face--the cheeks and forehead and it works great as a maintenance procedure for woman/men who are reaching middle age, for women/men of middle age who are not ready or do not desire a face/neck lift and for maintenance after a women or man has undergone a face/neck lift.  I have had my laser trained nurses give me these treatments for the past 6 years on a regular basis and they have helped me abate the aging process. since I cannot do my own face/neck lift and I busy and want to look my best for my patients , setting an example for them and giving them trust and confidence in the procedures we offer in my practice and medical day spa.
  3. SmartSkin/Affirm CO2 fractional laser resurfacing is also a great choice, if you have sun damage and pre-mature aging of the neck skin.  With the fractionated CO2, it is not safe and effective to treat the skin of the neck, chest, hands and with great care, other areas of the body.  The CO2 laser is, in my hands, the most powerful laser to treat wrinkles and skin laxity and I have used CO2 lasers since the early 90's with safety and good/natural results.  The fractionated laser is a real improvement over the old ablative CO2 laser, as it permits tailoring of the depth, has less swelling, skin discoloration and downtime, and can be safely used in areas other than the face as mentioned above.  These peels, like the Titan, can be repeated every several months if the patient desires more tightening, without surgery.  There is some downtime thought, so the patient needs to know this and I show my patients pictures of what it looks like during the healing process, so they know what to expect.  I love this treatment, and it is very effective in my practice.
  4. Smartlipo is also a surgical option, but it is safe, effective and can be done under local anesthesia with little down time.  Smartlipo can be used to laser lipo (then suction) the neck fat and also laser heat the dermis of the skin to promote skin tightening.  The patient will have both treatment of the neck fat and skin tightening if the neck is full (with fat) and needs skin tightening for neck skin laxity.  If the patient has a thin neck the Smartlipo can be used just for internal skin tightening, heating the inner dermis of the skin with the fiber optic laser, promoting collagen production and skin tightening.  My favorite combination- for the right patient- is Smarlipo of the neck with simultaneous SmartSkin/Affirm CO2 fractional skin resurfacing.  When I use this combination of laser treatments, the Smartlipo will heat the deeper dermis from the inside causing dermal collagen production and the SmartSkin/Affirm will treat the outer skin-the epidermis and the more superficial dermis, correcting sun damage on the skin surface, treating and targeting wrinkles, and causing further collagen production through the CO2 effect on the superficial upper layers of the dermis.

Any patient, no matter what age, can have these treatments as alternatives to a modern surgical face/neck lift.

A thorough plastic surgery consultation, examination, photographs, and VISA computerized complexion analysis will analysis permit the most accurate diagnosis of the anatomical situation.  Then, various options can be discussed. 

Ultimately, the patient and surgeon should come up with a plan that is best tailored and customized for the patient's desires, anatomy and anticipated outcome, along with lifestyle discussions and maintenance options.  The aging process or physiological changes that are occurring in a patient are treated by procedures and/or surgery, but truly,  these processes are not halted by surgery.  Maintenance is not a choice, but should be looked at with enthusiasm and vigor, as it is great to maintain a fantastic outcome, giving further longevity to the aesthetic procedure and investment.

Christine A. Petti, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 23 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.