neck

There is hope for sagging neck skin, and it doesn't lie in wearing turtlenecks year-round.

As we age, we bid adieu to skin-tightening collagen and hydraulic acid and are greeted with crepey, loose skin. We also develop fat in our neck, as muscles in our central and lateral neck change and loosen, resulting in what Ephron (and others) have poignantly dubbed the "turkey wattle." Luckily there are non-surgical and surgical options to rejuvenate the neck, with results that would have Ephron herself holding her head high. Here are a few.

BOTOX

Botox is one of the most common procedures to treat an aging neck. Dr. Mark Taylor, MD, FRCFC, (C), FACS facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, says it's inserted along the band of the neck on both sides. "It relaxes the platysma muscle and makes it look less prominent," says Dr. Taylor.

The procedure costs between $500 to $600 and results lasts three to four months. Usually no more than 50 units of Botox are used, because any more can result in swallowing problems. Results are immediate, and there is no downtime, aside from potential and temporary swelling or bruising at the site of injection.

FRACTIONAL LASER RESURFACING

The Lux1540 hand-piece, used in non-ablative skin resurfacing, emits fractional micro beams that penetrate deep into the epidermis and dermis for effective, long-term results. The fractional, non-ablative approach stimulates quick healing with no long-term redness. "It brings life source to the skin," says Dr. Dr. Inese Robertus, MD, CCFP, a general practitioner at the Dr. Robertus Laser & Cosmetic Clinic in Richmond Hill, Ont., who is certified in laser treatments and is an active member of the Canadian Aesthetic Medicine Association. For ultimate results, three sessions every four to six weeks are needed. There is relatively no downtime, although the skin may be swollen, puffy and pink for two to four hours. Each treatment costs between $500 to $800 and results can last one to three years. "By the end of the treatments, you should have tighter, brighter more youthful-looking skin," says Dr. Robertus.

NECK LIFT

A more permanent solution, neck lifts are performed at the cosmetic surgeon's office. The procedure involves an incision behind the ears, in front of the ears, at the back of the hairline and sometimes under the chin. The skin is pulled back and tightened under the chin, and excess fat and skin can be removed. "It does a nice job of tightening everything," says Dr. Taylor. The operation costs about $6,000 and results last about 10 years. Patients may experience 10 to 14 days of downtime, which includes some bruising and swelling. Patients are advised to maintain a constant weight to maintain results.

NECK LIPOSUCTION

Another long-lasting option, neck lipo is ideal for those with fullness in the central neck. Very small incisions are made around the ear, ear lobes and under the chin. The fat is removed just below and under the jawline. The procedure is done under local anaesthetic and costs about $2,500 to $3,000. There is no downtime but it's imperative patients maintain their weight for long-lasting results. "It totally changes the contour of the neck and makes it more youthful," says Dr. Taylor