That’s Christine and Karianne, the nurse practitioners at Ava MD who are helping to keep me looking under forty (it’s crazy how forty sounds so young these days…) Good thing neck Fraxel® is so easy to hide because my office staff surprised me with a new patient when I got back from my treatment. Fortunately I didn’t look too scary:
I do look a little more like E.T. than usual, but it’s easily camouflaged with a scarf or long hair. Besides, I know from the last time that this is as bad as it gets. Besides, Christine says after a few more treatments my skin will be less crepey. A neck lift won’t help someone like me. It’s the thin texture of my skin that’s the problem.
I have seen other post-treatment Fraxel® patients from Ava’s whose necks definitely look better than mine, so there is still hope. But if the Fraxel doesn’t work…there is this thing called a “Vampire Facelift®” that I am going to check out. It’s the first time I’ve found anything related to vampires remotely interesting (I think I’m the only person I know who didn’t read Twilight or watch Trueblood or The Vampire Diaries.) I’ve heard a few people talking about it—including one of my colleagues–so I decided to look into it. Basically, it’s along the same lines as a Stem Cell Facelift or Breast Augmentation, but without the fat. The reason they’re able to throw the catchy term “vampire” in there is because the procedure involves drawing your own blood, and then injecting it back under your skin. First, it’s spun down to get a layer of “platelet rich plasma” (PRP) which contains growth factors like the ones in stem cells. Since some of these growth factors have been shown to improve wound healing, the thought is that they may also rejuvenate unwounded tissue (ie, make skin look younger.) Again, there is no scientific evidence supporting the use of concentrated growth factors in enhancing cosmetic procedures(see Stem Cell Facelift Post), but I don’t see much downside to it, except the expense, which shouldn’t be outrageous since the physician’s cost for the PRP isolation kit is fairly low (as a reference for price-shopping, in most neighborhoods, a single vial Vampire Facelift® shouldn’t be $10 G.)
And as far as those two “bands” under my chin that everyone swears “you can’t even see them! I don’t know what you’re talking about!”–well, here they are (in this side view under the chin):
Although they really don’t look this bad in real life—the area under the chin is what gets most noticeably swollen with the Fraxel. Anyway, anatomically, these are the edges of the platysma muscle that sag over time, and they are especially evident in a thin-skinned neck like mine. The first step of treatment is to Botox® them to relax the muscle. This works in most of my patients, though for some reason I can’t get it to work on myself. I’m going to let Christine give it a try, and if she can’t get it to work, I’m going to have a submental plication (a mini-neck lift that involves an incision hidden under the chin, and tightening of the muscles and redraping of the skin. For before and after pictures, check out http://www.laskyclinic.com/drfrankel-photogallery.html)
Okay, this is getting a little absurd. I really need to get out of here and start thinking about something else besides my neck. Though I know everyone is waiting with bated breath on these Fraxel results so I’ll keep you posted!