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Firming up the jawline: liposuction, lasers, lifts or injections?

When you reach your early 40s, you may notice you have a “drop zone,” i.e., the skin between your neck and jaw, which was once a taut right angle, is now simply dropping. The aging jaw and neck are a challenge. Problems not only include sagging muscles and bulging fat, but also dealing with the thinnest, crepiest skin on the body (except for eyelid skin). To make matters worse, a thin ropey material called platysma tends to split into a V-like formation of protruding cords. W Magazine offers solutions to the sagging jawline.

A Manhattan plastic surgeon comments, “Trying to fix all of that with potions and lotions is like waging a two-front war on a sheet of thin ice.” He recommends a neck lift for women in their early to mid-40s who are not ready for a facelift. The neck lift wraps sagging muscles crosswise to the jaw to restore that all-important right angle. Compared with a facelift, sutures are smaller, there is less pulling and recovery time is much shorter. For loose skin around the neck, liposuction is also a good solution.

Plastic surgeons interviewed by W were almost uniformly skeptical of trendier devices, such as Thermage, Ulthera and Titan, which deliver radio frequency, ultrasound and infrared lasers to stimulate collagen growth. The surgeons said these devices don’t deliver enough energy to have a substantial effect. But a new radiofrequency device, Evolastin, has been getting some good reviews. It delivers heat via small injections directly into the deep dermis, boosting collagen and elastin. One doctor claimed results are equal to about one third of a facelift.

If your problem is double chins, one Beverly Hills plastic surgeon recommends Smart Lipo, which uses lasers to melt fat and tighten the skin. A company called Kythera is close to releasing an injectable that dissolves the double chin with human bile.

A London-based dermatologist swears by preventive Botox injections. “If you start when you’re about 30, you’ll keep the neck and jowl muscles from sagging and you can put off a face lift until you’re fifty, but if you ignore your neck, Botox won’t help you when you’re 48.”

Another alternative is injecting fat from the belly into the jawline area to provide extra volume. This will include the bonus of your own stem cells. Extra stem cells are separated from the fat via centrifuge and then added, making the skin glow more and enhancing collagen.

If you are unhappy with your jawline, find a seasoned professional like a board-certified plastic surgeon to find the best treatment for you.

03, January, 2013Dr. Richard Schwartz

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