Plastic Surgery – The Truth About Neck Lifts

If you hear a faint “gobble-gobble” noise every time you look in the mirror, your ego may be telling you something. It might be saying: “Time you invested in a spot of old platysmaplasty!” In laymen’s terms, platymaplasty is a neck lift operation, a cosmetic procedure that tightens the skin of the neck and confines a turkey neck to history.

Yes, men get turkey necks as well – although with the invention of the tie they can hide it easier than women can.

Let’s face it: unless you have God-like genes or indulge in two hours of excruciating neck-lifting exercises daily, most of us have necks that begin to sag, droop and look generally less pleasing the older we get. Some people believe that women with turkey necks and relatively young faces have had facial plastic surgery – the sad fact is that our necks age at a much faster rate than the rest of us. And yes, men get turkey necks as well – although with the invention of the tie they can hide it easier than women can.

All About Having a Platysmaplasty

If the gobbling is getting louder every day, it may be time to consider surgery. While a platysmaplasty may sound gruesome, there’s a reason – it is! A two-three hour operation in which the neck skin is tightened and excess flesh surgically excised away, this procedure is done under general anesthesia, for the most part, and involves at least one night in hospital.

Your surgeon will make tiny cuts to your hairline, beginning in back of and in front of the ears, and will then tighten or shorten the muscles to make them appear more taut. He or she may also involve a bit of the old liposuction to make the jaw appear more chiseled. Some people opt for a combined neck and face lift together to result in a more youthful appearance overall, while others choose a brow or eye lift as well.

Whatever you choose, the recovery period is not short, and you may experience some swelling, bruising and other unpleasant side effects for the first few weeks, during which time most people refrain from going to work. In fact, it can take up to six months for a full recovery to take place.

However, the vast majority of people who opt for a neck lift operation are happy with the result, although of course they vary according to the patient’s age, skin elasticity etc. It rarely has serious complications, although any surgery involving general anesthesia carried its own risks. To minimize the risks overall, shop around for a reputation, and use one certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, or its equivalent.

Taking It on the Chin

One option to a traditional neck lift is a relatively new procedure called, simply, the (chin) sling. Made entirely from Gore-Tex plastic, it is inserted under the skin from earlobe to earlobe. The beauty part is that it is a permanent insertion, and that the surgeon can tighten it, when necessary, to make the neck appear tighter as well, in a procedure that takes only about 20 minutes. So top-ups are relatively easy…

An article in the facial Archives of Plastic Surgery gave the thumbs-up to the sling, saying that 90 percent of patients who had it inserted into their neck for at least three years were happy with it. Of those who weren’t, two suffered infections and two needed fluid to be drained from the area. The vast majority also said that they would recommend having the procedure to a friend. No matter slack-jawed days, then!

Alternatives to Surgery

If you want to get rid of your turkey neck without going under the knife, try these alternatives…

* The homeopathic “Natural Sculpting System” advertises itself as a natural alternative to liposuction, and promises to get rid of turkey necks in just a few treatments. A specially concocted gel and lotion are applied to a specially made cloth, then wrapped around the specific area. Voila – no more gobble gobble – or so the manufacturers claim…

* Although most plastic surgeons would say that having a turkey neck is usually down to genetics, some people swear that specific exercises can keep that old piece of poultry at bay. Try “guerning” regularly in the mirror, gargling with mouthwash for one minute or more at least twice daily, and/or do exercises that make your neck completely taut, then keep the position for up to ten minutes at a time.

* If you have lots of wrinkles on your neck, you can consider Botox injections, which will relax muscles and make the wrinkles appear less noticeable.

* Invest in lotions and potions to smear on your neck that stimulate the production of collagen.

* Thermage. This med-spa technique involves heating deep layers of the skin where collagen is located, to stimulate its production and therefore improve skin elasticity. Skin looks tightened and pores appear smaller – what’s not to like?

* Smartlipo. This is used to reduce the appearance of a double chin and make the neck look sleeker. Both the neck and jowl are given a new, more contoured look as fat is melted and collagen tightened using a thin laser-fibre tool. Sometimes it is done in conjunction with Thermage for a two-pronged attack on the old bird.

If you decide that plastic surgery is your only option, remember that it rarely works miracles, and that you shouldn’t expect to go under the knife looking like Winston Churchill and wake up looking like Pamela Anderson. Realistic expectations are necessary when it comes to undertaking any form of cosmetic procedure, so discuss the procedure well in advance with your surgeon and understand in detail what you are having done.

If you don’t want an operation and no other alternative seems to make your turkey neck recede, remember that investing in a high-necked shirt or a brightly colored scarf can work wonders. And if all else fails, you can always save money on buying that turkey next Thanksgiving…