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How to Get Rid of Your Turkey Neck

Originally posted Nov. 2014

Gobble, gobble.  It’s that time of year, so we thought we would answer one of the most common questions about a problem that everybody hates — the dreaded turkey neck.

We’ll tell you how to decide which treatment is right for you, but first you need to understand the 4 main factors that cause you to have the turkey neck appearance before you choose a surgical or nonsurgical treatment option.


1. Skin Laxity

Everybody knows that as we age we lose skin elasticity, and things start heading south all over the body!  This is especially true around the neck as well as the jowls.  That loose skin is a result of a combination of the normal aging process, sun exposure, constant movement, and weight fluctuations to name a few.

If you have excess loose skin in the neck, then facial plastic surgeons agree that your best option is a procedure such as a neck lift or a facelift with some additional emphasis on improving the neck.


neck lift

2. Loose Muscle

The platysma is the name of the muscle in the neck that causes those vertical bands most prominent in the middle.  The platysma is really like two thin sheets of muscle on either side of the neck extending from the collar bones up and over the edge of the jaw.

At a young age that muscle is tight and smooth.  It is also connected in the midline of the neck.  Over time the muscle weakens, and the edges begin to drift apart leading to vertical bands in the neck.


3. Excess Fat

A lot of people carry weight in their neck just under the chin, and for some people this area fluctuates quite a bit even with small amounts of overall weight gain.

A necklift or facelift should never be used as a weight loss operation.  The reason for this is that overaggressive treatment of fat in the neck by a surgeon who is not careful can lead to an unsightly appearance with uneven contour and ripples in the skin.  However, some conservative neck liposuction is still a good option for younger patients who have good skin elasticity.

Some nonsurgical treatment options are also available that have been shown to provide some mild improvement.  Skin tightening devices like Ulthera and others work by applying various forms of energy to heat the tissue.  This can help decrease fat and tighten the skin, but the results are limited.  This newer technology is really best for younger patients who only have very early signs of aging in the neck.

There is also a new option coming soon:

(UPDATE — now FDA approved as of April 29th, 2015 and available in our office)


Kybella injection to dissolve neck fat

Kybella is a solution that has recently gone into Phase III clinical trials.  It is an injection that causes fat cells to die, and has shown some early positive results.

It is outstanding at addressing the excess fat.  In younger patients with good skin elasticity any loose skin should improve as well, but for older patients Kybella does not do much to improve the loose skin or muscle issues.


ATX-101 ATX-101

4. Bone Position

There are 2 bony landmarks that are a major factor in your neckline from the side profile view.  Those are the position of the chin and the hyoid bone.  The chin and jawline are obvious, but we’re guessing you might not know what the hyoid bone is.  It is a small curved bone about an inch above the Adam’s apple, and it corresponds to the deep point of the neckline when viewed from the side.

low hyoid neckline


A low and forward-positioned hyoid leads to a less sharp neckline, away from that 90 degree look that is more desirable.  The hyoid position is a big limiting factor in how much improvement you can get in the neck, but improving the jawline with a chin implant can be very helpful to give more forward projection of the chin and improve the profile.


Now that you understand what causes a turkey neck we encourage you to learn more about some of your treatment options:

Dr. David Rodwell specializes in necklifts and deep plane facelifts as well as neck liposuction and Kybella.  To learn more about your options and what to expect after this type of procedure call our office at (843) 628-1415 to schedule a private consultation.