Can You Help Me Get Rid Of My Turkey Neck?

Q: I am 65 years old and am extremely bothered by my turkey wattle. I do not look my age except this makes me very self conscious. I want to get rid of it with some type of neck procedure. What do you recommend?

A: Sagging or drooping of one’s neck is one of the most bothersome features of facial aging. While some people would never consider undergoing a ‘facelift’, they want some type of neck procedure to deal with their most troublesome age-related issue.

Aging necks are referred to many uncomplimentary names such as turkey neck and neck wattle. Some people become initially aware of it when they see themselves in profile in a photograph. Others notice it, particularly men, when wearing certain shirts and certainly in a shirt and tie. Others do not like, understandably, that it can be felt to move or flop when turning their head. (in more advanced aging)

Interestingly, some people would consider a necklift but wouldn’t dare undergo a facelift. This comes from a misunderstanding of the two procedures, not realizing that they are largely one and the same.  I have found only a handful of patients in my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice who actually knew what a facelift really was.

A facelift is primarily a necklift. The type of facelift determines how much improvement in the neck is obtained. A limited facelift (aka Lifestyle Lift) has a minor effect on neck sagging and is best for just minor neck problems. It is primarily a jowl changing procedure. A full facelift is a powperful changer of the aging neck. The differerence between the two is the location and extent of the incisions around the ears. To really change the neck in more significant wattles and sagging, the facelift must have an incision that goes up behind the ear and back into the occipital scalp. It is the pull from behind the ear that changes the neck. You can demonstrate this quite simply with your fingers in front of a mirror. A manuever that many patients with aging faces have done regularly.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana