Laugh lines, crow's feet, bunny lines, and even a mean set of elevens are all little nicknames that people use to describe the wrinkles that you get as you age. While some would say that you've earned them, others would argue that they can be fixed by both surgical and non-surgical means. Your neck, however, is a different story. There is not a cute nickname for what happens to your neck when you get older. 

What happens to your neck as you age?

As you age, gravity takes its toll on your body and your neck can often bear the brunt of it. The skin at your jawline and around your neck, sometimes called jowls, can become loose and start to sag. While this tends to happen gradually over time, it may occur after an extreme weight loss as well.

This sagging is sometimes unflatteringly referred to as a "turkey neck" due to its resemblance to a turkey's wattle. Unfortunately, while you can disguise other parts of your body, there is no way to hide your neck and jawline without committing to a life of turtleneck sweaters. 

Another, newer neck issue is coming from society's love of tech, called "tech neck" or "text neck." The constant bending of your neck to view your phone, laptop, or keyboard leads to pain in the back of your neck as well as horizontal wrinkles on the front. 

Can you prevent a sagging or wrinkled neck?

While there are some exercises that claim to improve both "turkey neck" as well as "tech neck," there is no study confirming that the exercises work. Experts suggest that taking care of your neck with sunscreen and moisturizer, the same manner in which you take care of your face, could protect your skin. They also recommend proper posture when using electronic devices. 

Are there ways to improve a sagging neck?

While exercise, posture, and sunscreen can all potentially help a sagging neck, there are other procedures that are much more effective. Botox can be injected into wrinkles in the neck to plump up the area, reducing the appearance of the wrinkles. Lasers are also used to tighten the skin. Both procedures must be repeated every six months or so.  

For a more permanent solution, nothing can truly improve the condition of your neck like surgery. A neck lift surgery is a simple procedure done under anesthesia that is similar in scope to a facelift. The plastic surgeon lifts and removes the excess skin which, in turn, tightens the overall appearance of the neck. 

Are there scars from a neck lift surgery?

Any surgery is an invasive procedure with the possibility of scarring. Surgeons, however, are very adept at both making the incisions small and hiding them in inconspicuous places. Like a facelift, the incision scars for a neck lift surgery are hidden behind each ear to make it as discrete as possible. 

Is the recovery from a neck lift difficult?

Instead of thinking of recovery from surgery as an inconvenience, treat it as some forced downtime that you use to take care of yourself. Expect to be recovering at home for at least a week and to be able to resume all normal activities within a month. 

How long do you need to wear a chin strap after a neck lift?

One of the post-surgical instructions for neck lift patients is to wear a chin strap. While it may not be the most fashion-forward look, the simple fabric brace offers support for your neck muscles as they heal from the surgery. Generally, chin straps are only worn for the first few weeks post-surgery.

How long do the effects of a neck lift last?

Most experts agree that the effects of face and neck lifts last about ten years or more, depending on the patient. It is not 100 percent permanent as gravity and aging continue to affect your neck going forward. 

If you notice signs of aging on your face or neck, talk to a plastic surgeon in your area about your options.

For more information about neck lift surgery, talk to your doctor.