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In the doctor’s office: Targeting specific problems early on may help stave off major scalpel work. Nasolabial creases (which run from each nostril to the corners of the mouth) and marionette creases (which go from the corners of the mouth to the edge of the jaw) can be filled in with a hyaluronic acid injectable such as Restylane or Hylaform ($600 to $750 per treatment).

When the overall look of the face is droopy and sagging, a face-lift is recommended, though today’s options are less invasive and produce more realistic-looking results than the traditional lift. While some doctors hail the endoscopic face-lift as the latest and greatest choice, because problem areas are treated individually as opposed to with one big pull of the skin, a number of surgeons feel the technique yields only minimal results for the lower two-thirds of the face. “To see real change you need to get under the skin with a scalpel to reposition the muscle,” explains Sherrell Aston, M.D., a New York plastic surgeon (212-249-6000). A better option, he suggests, is a short-scar face-lift, in which an incision half as long as the one for a traditional lift is made, with the cuts going alongside or inside the ear, where scars are barely visible. This means a shorter recovery (about two weeks) and in some cases local instead of general anesthesia. The cost ranges from $8000 to $15,000. Another alternative is the suture lift (also called a thread lift), a controversial new procedure in which sutures are threaded through the deepest layer of skin and secured at the temples to pull up skin.