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Neck Contouring, Body, Nonsurgical

The Best Cosmetic Procedures For A Sagging Neck

Over time, gravity wreaks havoc on the neck and face. As we age, our supply of skin-firming collagen dwindles, and neck muscles and tissues begin to relax. Before you know it, you can have a full-blown case of a turkey neck staring back at you in the mirror.

Fixing a turkey neck is not simple, and in cases of sagging skin, surgery may be the only viable option to recapture the neck of your youth. Every person is different, and the best cosmetic procedure for your neck might not be the best for the next person.

In this article, we’ll explore the best procedures, both surgical and non-surgical, for sagging necks.

How to Get Rid of a Turkey Neck

Just as true for the neck as the face, surgery is really the only treatment that can tighten loose skin. There are a variety of ways to address a turkey neck, depending on each person and the severity of their condition.

Some branded procedures (like the iGuide thread neck lift) promise dramatic results but, in the end, they fail to deliver. If you’re not careful, and you shop only for a specific treatment, you might end up with a large medical bill and remain unsatisfied with the results.

Getting the counsel of a reputable plastic surgeon, like Dr. Larry Fan, will enable you to receive a custom-tailored treatment plan to meet your goals. An expert's guidance and skill to help you achieve a beautiful, contoured neck is extremely important, rather than simply one procedure or another.

With that being said, let’s look at the most common methods of treating a turkey neck so you can get a better idea of what procedures might be a good fit for you.

Neck Lift

A neck lift addresses moderate-to-severe appearances of a turkey neck. If you opt for this procedure, excess skin is trimmed and redraped, and underlying muscles are tightened. The end result is a more youthful neckline.

It is worth noting that a neck lift is the only neck contouring procedure that can dramatically improve sagging skin and loose muscles.

Neck Liposuction

If you have good skin tone but are suffering from extra fat along your neck, liposuction can accomplish desirable outcomes. However, if you have significant skin laxity, liposuction on its own will not correct the problem. In this scenario, a neck lift, or a combination of neck liposuction and a neck lift, may be required.

Lower Face Lift

For some patients, a lower facelift done in conjunction with a neck lift, significantly reduces the dreaded neck wattles and helps restore a more naturally refreshed appearance.

Some patients have obviously saggy jowls that descend further into the neck area. Many are surprised to hear what they really need is a lower facelift combined with a neck lift. There are untold numbers of cases where a patient thought they knew which treatment they needed, but upon examination realized they needed something completely different.

When it comes to surgery, there is no substitute for the skill and experience of a reputable, board-certified plastic surgeon. Their experience and expertise allow them to fit the right procedures and techniques to the person, delivering the very best results for patients every time.

One of the best steps you can take, if you suffer from significant sagging skin of the neck, is to have a consultation with a reputable plastic surgeon. They will be able to prescribe the ideal treatments to fix your neck.

You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Fan here.

Addressing a Turkey Neck without Surgery

If you are unable, or unwilling, to undergo surgery, don’t give up just yet! Non-surgical alternatives are available and, for the right patient, can reduce the appearance of a turkey neck.

However, despite the popularity and mass marketing of these treatments, there is no substitute for surgery. While these treatments can, in many cases, deliver good results, they are in no way a substitute for a neck lift when you need a neck lift.

With that said, for minor cases of sagging necks, these non-invasive and minimally-invasive treatments can help. Additionally, these alternative treatments offer a few benefits over traditional surgery:

  • They are usually less expensive.
  • The treatment and recovery are easier and less intense.
  • Many patients go back to normal activities the same day as treatment (Ultherapy) or within a few days (ThermiTight, etc.).


Ultherapy is a completely non-invasive treatment that firms and tightens the skin of the neck, chin, and/or brow. The treatment works by precisely delivering focused ultrasound energy across the skin to stimulate the production of collagen that tones the skin. The end result is a firmer, more youthful look.

Ultherapy is best suited for younger patients with a lesser degree of skin laxity, or older patients who are unable or unwilling to undergo surgery and have realistic expectations for the treatment.

After treatment, most patients see a mild to moderate firming and toning of the skin, generally 5-20% of the improvement seen with surgery. However, it's important to know that up to 20% of patients may experience minimal to no improvement.

Being happy with your Ultherapy treatment depends on the severity of your condition, your individual response to the treatment, and having the right expectations. For the right patients, Ultherapy can deliver good results.

Minimally Invasive Skin Tightening Treatments

There are a number of minimally invasive skin tightening treatments that heat the skin and underlying support tissues using various forms of energy including radiofrequency (RF) and laser. These treatments go by various names including ThermiTight, FaceTite, NeckTite, Profound, PrecisionTx, and others depending on the device used.

Unlike Ultherapy, these treatments heat the skin from the inside and thus require local anesthesia. Tissue and skin temperature are continuously monitored to ensure safety.

Having realistic expectations for these treatments is also important. Generally, these treatments may work a little better than Ultherapy, around 10-25% improvement compared to a neck lift, but the results still do not compare to surgery.

Busting the Myth of the ‘Non-Surgical Neck Lift’

Neither skin-firming creams nor non-surgical alternatives can truly eliminate the turkey neck for good.

Be wary of surgeons and aesthetic clinics who market non-invasive and minimally-invasive treatments, such as Ultherapy, Thermage, Thermi, NeckTite, Profound, PrecisionTx, Exilis, iGuide (threadlift), as equivalents to surgery.

These treatments do work and may be a part of a facial rejuvenation plan, but they are not the equivalent of a neck lift.

Patients with turkey neck will not experience the same level of permanent results a neck lift provides without surgery.

Are You Ready to Get Rid of the Turkey Neck for Good?

Turkey neck surgery requires experience, a keen sense of aesthetics, and a genuine commitment by your surgeon, to help you accomplish the most natural and beautiful outcome. This is why the surgeon of your choice makes a considerable difference.

To find out if you need a neck lift, or will do well with non-surgical options, take our online self-evaluation. It only takes two minutes to complete, and we'll send the results directly to your inbox!



About the Author

Dr. Larry Fan is a Harvard educated, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Francisco, CA. He is a Master Artist who is known for creating beautiful, stunning, and natural results. Dr. Fan has been named One of America's Top Plastic Surgeons for the past 10 years running and has received several national awards for his work in Plastic Surgery. He has successfully performed more than 10,000 cosmetic procedures of the face, breasts, and body over a 20 year period. Dr Fan has been an invited speaker at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons, and has been featured in national media outlets such as CNN, NBC, and ABC.

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