The Neck's Best Thing

Deborah Sarnoff, MD
Article by
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

I believe that the best-selling author, Nora Ephron, speaks for many of us in her book titled,
I Feel Bad About My Neck.

Day after day I hear patients say how much they dislike their “turkey necks,” jowls or loose skin and fat in their chin. Even Ms. Ephron admits to wearing high-collared blouses and turtlenecks to avoid drawing attention to her aging neck.

In the past, improving the appearance of your neck in a single treatment session with little downtime was simply not possible. However, today, the development of new technology makes it easy to lose the unwanted fat in your neck and tighten sagging skin with minimal discomfort and quick recovery time.

  • Some of you may already be familiar with Cynosure’s FDA-approved Smartlipo™ laser, which has changed the landscape of liposuction over the past several years.
     
  • The Smartlipo uses a miniature fiber optic laser introduced through a tiny pin prick to melt fat from areas such as the abdomen (for that “six-pack” ab muscle definition), upper arm batwings, lower legs and ankles.

The Smartlipo – set at a specific wavelength of 1440 nanometers (nm) – can now be used to dramatically improve the appearance of your sagging neck.

  • During a single treatment session, three small incisions are made – one under each ear lobe and a third under the chin. Once the area to be treated has been numbed with a local anesthetic, a fiber optic wire, called a cannula – thinner than a strand of uncooked capellini – is inserted through one of the miniscule openings in the skin.
     
  • The beam of light from the laser is attracted to the fat and water in your skin. The laser gently melts away the fat and simultaneously causes new collagen to be produced in the dermis (the undersurface of the skin), all of which results in superior skin tightening.


This amazing process yields very little trauma to the tissues, as well as minimal discomfort and downtime. After just one treatment session, which lasts for about an hour, a chin strap is worn for several days to keep the treated area protected and secure.

Results of the skin tightening treatment keep getting better and better, and final results are usually appreciated at three months.

Ideal candidates for this procedure are women or men with a body mass index (BMI) – which is a measure of body fat based on height and weight – of below 30. Even if you have just a little bit of excess loose skin in the neck or chin area without a lot of fat, you may still be an excellent candidate for treatment. Extremely obese individuals, however, are not ideal candidates.