How to Eliminate ‘Turkey Neck’ Without Surgery

The roasted turkey featured on your dining room table may not be the only one with turkey neck this holiday. With Thanksgiving gatherings right around the corner, many of us will wear scarves or turtleneck sweaters to conceal the unsightly sagging under our chins.

We refer to this as “turkey neck” because as we age, neck muscles begin to weaken and the loose skin can become droopy and wrinkled, drawing unflattering comparisons to the neck of a turkey. Age and sun exposure are the main causes of sagging skin, according to Scripps.org, but it also has a genetic component.

While surgical procedures can correct the condition, there are non-invasive ways to improve the appearance of turkey neck. Dr. Michael Somenek, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon from Washington, D.C., explains how these procedures work.

• Ultrasound skin tightening. Ultrasound energy heats the skin at specific depths and locations to encourage the production of collagen to make skin firmer. A small, handheld device is used to transmit ultrasound waves through the skin’s surface. Somenek says this procedure has an excellent safety profile. “It is effective for older patients looking for a mini facelift without surgery and for younger patients who want to maintain their skin profile and prevent skin laxity as they age,” he says.

• Radiofrequency (RF) treatments. RF treatments work somewhat like ultrasound to heat the skin and trigger collagen production. But unlike ultrasound, RF focuses on the outer, or epidermal, layers to achieve a firmer, smoother appearance. Again, Somenek says that this treatment is ideal for older adults who want to firm and tighten their skin and for younger people who want to postpone the need for a surgical lift.

• Kybella. This popular treatment destroys fat cells for good and is ideal to KO double chins. Kybella injections are made up of a substance called deoxycholic acid that is naturally found in our bodies. When injected into tissue, Kybella destroys the cell membrane and can treat moderate to severe fat pockets. Once your double chin is treated by Kybella injections, it won’t return. Somenek says it takes about 50 injections per treatment session and most patients see results after two to four sessions.

• Cutera Titan. This procedure uses a safe, infrared light to heat the dermis below the skin’s surface. This heating causes immediate collagen contraction which tightens up the skin. The skin’s surface is protected by continuous cooling with the Titan handpiece.

• FaceTite RF. This treatment is a minimally invasive alternative to surgical facelifts. It combines both fat reduction and skin tightening techniques. “The first step is to apply local anesthesia to the treatment area and make a small incision,” Somenek explains. “Then a small device with electrodes is inserted to deliver radiofrequency waves that liquify fat cells.” A separate tube then suctions out the liquified fat. The radiofrequency waves also stimulate the collagen fibers under the skin so you get two benefits for the price of one procedure. For more information, visit www.somenekpittmanmd.com.

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