When I was younger, my neck was long and slender. In fact I was told that this was one of my best physical assets.. a long beautiful swan like neck… Now, when I look in the mirror or at pictures, I long for that once long beautiful neck and straight jaw line. To me it looks no longer lean and long nor beautiful.. to me it looks stringy, saggy, crepey and old!! Or at least aging. I no longer look at my face in photos- I only see my neck. I discovered Photoshop does wonders to smooth out an aging neck and bring it back to its true beauty.
A sagging neck is also known as the “family neck” because the condition tends to be inherited. Some of us may have good facial bone structure, minimal wrinkles and lines, but lousy necks. Luckily, I am blessed with attractive facial features, good bone structure and smooth skin- but my neck.. well that is a different story. I know heredity plays a significant role in how we age. My mother had beautiful skin, minimal wrinkles and lines,however, her neck was a tale tell sign of her age.
I begin noticing her turkey waddle neck forming in her early 50’s and remember thinking to myself.. oh no.. is this what I have to look forward to. She sometimes mentioned her sagging neck to me, but never considered cosmetic surgery as an option. I would look in the mirror in my late 30’s and see the signs of what was to come. As I approached my late 40’s it became more apparent to me that sooner or later, my neckline would disappear and the waddle would appear like my mom’s neck.
Today, as I approach my late 50’s , I can see my jaw- line losing its definition, and my vertical bands down my are stringy. As the aging process continues, I know this will worsen and years to my appearance.
There are two places one can tell a woman’s age. First the neck, second the hands. The hands are easy to fix. A little dermal filler perhaps and IPL plus lightening creams. That usually does the trick..with not much cost or downtime. On the other hand… no pun intended! the neck..no magic treatment exists. Yes, there are Laser tightening treatments such as Laser Lipo, Thermage, Titan, the Thread Lift, Laser necklifts.. just to name a few. Some practitioners even inject Botox into this area. All of these cosmetic procedures may help firm and tighten the skin along the jaw line. I think of these treatments as quick fixes -which tide you over until you are ready for surgery. Additonally,these treatment are pricey and can cost several thousand of dollars and outcomes vary. I did try Thermage when it first was introduced into the market., it was quite painful and the results were minimal if at all.
There comes a time when “The Knife” is the only solution for an aging neck.
A neck lift can help correct a fleshy neck, jowls, plastysma or neck banding, and what is commonly referred to turkey waddle.
I want my jawline back…. it is more than vanity.. it is about looking as good as you can.. Feeling good about yourself . When you feel young… what’s wrong with looking young!! By young- I don’t mean looking like you are 30 when you are 50!!.
Now begins the quest of finding the right skillful surgeon to rejuvenate my saggy neck and contour it back to the way it once was.. or at least as close as possible.
Choosing a surgeon is complicated when you are the one doing the choosing, even if you are in the Beauty Industry, as I am .
I visited five Plastic Surgeons offices in the Bay Area over the course of seven months, all of my consults were complimentary with the exception of one, which cost $125.00, which would be put towards the surgery costs at booking time..
At one surgeon’s office I saw a woman guessing in her mid 60’s, sitting in the waiting room. She had way too much filler in her cheeks, her face was unnaturally tight, her breasts were huge and she was bragging about all the work she had by this surgeon. I crossed him off my list even before I entered his consulting room.
My search became very overwhelming, I researched , spoke to past patients and asked many questions. I saw before and after pictures, and basically got more and more confused. During one of my consults, I spent an hour with a surgeon who proceeded to show me picture after picture of all the women he had transformed. He had stories to tell about each them. They were all beautiful women, yet he seemed more impressed by himself and his work then he did of my needs. His fees were double that of all the other surgeons that I had met with. He has a reputation as one of the top surgeons in the country, but he was not for me.
All the surgeons with the exception of one did not try to sell me anything more than I originally came in for. My case would be easy according to all of them.. and now was the appropriate time because I still had good elasticity to my skin.
During my quest I confided in only a few people. My husband did not know that I was on this quest for several personal reasons.
I had finally narrowed it down to two esteemed surgeons in the Bay Area, whom I felt comfortable with. However, something was still holding me back.
I then met with a fellow industry colleague who lived back East, and said she knew of the perfect surgeon for me . His practice is in New York on Park Avenue, is skilled, caring and well respected. He performs surgery on the West Coast about once a month or so. I thought.. this may be a good choice ( being an East Coast gal) , it was worth yet another consult. So, I booked a consult for the next time he was coming to the Bay Area.
I liked him from the start. He was very professional, warm and caring. He did not try to sell me, nor try to talk me into added procedures. He did not talk about himself and seemed genuinely concerned about my concerns. He assured me that my surgery was easy.. not being a complicated case due to good bone structure and elasticity. I left his office with a good feeling.. no deposit yet!! I needed to speak with his other patients and finally make a decision…Meanwhile, I still had not told my husband and was becoming increasingly anxious of how and when to tell him. I knew the doctor’s schedule for the upcoming months and had tentatively set a date for my facelift.
The patient referrals I was given supported my initial instinct and I was very pleased. One referral was from a medical nurse who had interviewed several surgeons across the country. I was impressed that she choose this surgeon. I made my decision and booked my surgery date… and now had to gently tell my husband. To be continued……