Hate Your Turkeyneck?

The association of turkey and theThanksgiving holiday goes back for over three hundred years. While there is no real evidence that it was ever served at the first pilgrim’s festival, it became a mainstay shortly thereafter. While many people will anxiously await for their share of the turkey this holiday, albeit a leg, breast or otherwise, nobody aspires to have a turkey neck.

This well recognized fleshy fold of hanging skin, known as a wattle in the bird, appears in people as well. While in turkeys it occurs mainly in the male, in humans the turkey neck is not gender specific. For some, the neck is often one of the biggest areas of concern as one ages. The loss of the once smooth jaw line and a more well-defined neck angle are telltale signs of the effects of gravity and time. The turkey neck is just an advanced stage of neck aging as it eventually flops from side to side in the older patient.

While year round turtlenecks are an option, it is otherwise a surgical problem. Forget about non-invasive options or ‘lunchtime’ type procedures. These simply will not work for the turkey neck no matter how they are marketed. If the neck and jowls are made up mainly of fat with good skin, as usually occurs in the younger patient, then good results can be had with liposuction alone. But when the skin is loose and floppy, fat removal alone with only make the neck skin more loose and floppy

If you can grab a wad of neck skin between your fingers, then some form of a facelift procedure is what is needed. Using the term facelift can be confusing as this procedure often conjures up images of extensive facial surgery throughout the whole face. In reality, a facelift only effects the neck and jowl area and will do nothing for the face above the jaw line. It is a poorly named procedure and a facelift should be called a neck-jowl lift. It is really less extensive and easier to go through than most people actually think.

In actuality, there are only two types of facelifts… limited and full. Which one is best for any particular6 person is determined by the amount of loose neck skin that one has. If the loose neck skin is not extensive, a limited facelift may be enough as this lifts the loose jowl skin a lot and the loose neck skin a little. If there is a lot of loose neck skin, then a full facelift is really needed. This is the most powerful neck procedure and can produce some really dramatic results. The differences between the two are how much of an incision is needed around the ear and the number of days of recovery needed. (even though the recovery is really about how you look or a social issue, there is next to pain at all for either)

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana