Valerie Monroe
Photo: Jonathan Skow
Q: Help! I have turkey neck. Short of surgery, is there anything I can do ?

A: Another reader recently wrote to me complaining of chicken legs; we seem to be having a moment of poultry-related beauty issues. The problem with turkey neck is that you can't get dramatically improved results without taking dramatic action. Think of your neck as a skirt that needs hemming, suggests (the metaphorically gifted) Alan Matarasso, MD, clinical professor of plastic surgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York City. You can iron the skirt (meaning treat it with various lasers, which can help smooth the skin) and reinforce the fabric of the skirt (meaning apply creams like retinoids that will encourage production of collagen and elastin), but unless you hem the skirt, you won't lose the excess fabric. You follow? And what does "hemming" entail? An incision behind the earlobes, suctioned fat, lifted and tightened muscles, and a small scar from behind the ears into the hairline. (Not to mention a recovery time of ten to 14 days, and a cost of about $10,000.)

Bottom line: If your turkey neck is in full swing, neither lasers nor creams will make an appreciable difference. But before you send your neck to the tailor, think long and hard about what people see when they look at you. Your magnificent eyes and delicious smile may render your neck way less noticeable than you think.

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