Dr.Roy Kim Explains the New iGuide® Necklift Procedure

What is the iGuide Necklift and how is it different than a traditional necklift?

The iGuide necklift  is a revolutionary new way to do a necklift. The iGuide system uses a special suture like a shoestring, weaving a continuous thread back and forth from jaw bone to jaw bone to create what is called a trampoline.  It is then cinched tight to lift the subdermis and underlying muscle before being tied off and hidden behind just under your chin. The result is smoother, tighter skin and a more defined neck and jawline.  The whole process takes about an hour under local anesthesia. A traditional neck lift requires an incision in front of and behind the ear, and results in more pain, swelling, bruising, and healing time.  This type of neck lift usually takes 2-3 hours, and general anesthesia is commonly used.

How do you determine who is the best candidate for this type of procedure?  

The best candidate for an iGuide neck lift is a patient who has a moderate amount of  loose neck skin and wants tighter neck skin, along with a more visible jaw line.  Most patients who currently undergo a traditional neck lift are candidates for the newer iGuide neck lift.

 Would you recommend this as an alternative to a traditional  neck lift?

Yes, because it offers less pain, quicker healing, less bruising, the option of NO general anesthesia and less operative time with equal or better results compared to a traditional neck lift.  The icing on the cake is that there are no incisions or scars behind the ears.

Compared to a typical neck lift, how long would you estimate the results to last?

The results should last as long as a regular neck lift.  The suture really anchors the soft tissue and skin of the neck, and combined with a facelift, you can also tighten the neck muscles to get the same result, if not better, compared to traditional face and neck lift.

If a patient was unhappy with the results of his or her facelift/neck lift,  would you recommend iGuide as an alternative to revision surgery of the neck area?

Yes, because most patients who need a neck lift revision do not have that much loose skin to tighten.  With the iGuide system, the neck skin is tightened, along with the jaw line area.

Does iGuide also improve the jowl area?

Yes, iGuide will tighten the jowls along the jaw line area.  Just like the traditional neck lift, if you have significant jowl and loose skin, you don’t need just a neck lift –  you need a face lift, as well.

Do you recommend any other treatments such as radio frequency or laser to improve the benefits of iGuide?

In general, the iGuide is performed in conjunction with a small amount neck liposuction.  This is done to create a “space” between the skin and underlying neck muscles to give the best result and allow your neck skin to be tightened appropriately.  Even if you don’t have that much neck fat, the small amount of liposuction performed is done to give the neck the tightest and smoothest contour. RF or laser may improve the results, but are typically done no sooner than 6 months after the iGuide neck lift has healed.  Most patients do not need this, unless their neck skin has significant signs of aging and wrinkles.

What is the recovery time? How soon can a patient resume their normal activities?

The recovery time is very short –  typically several days.  I operated on one patient recently in the morning, and she was back at her desk in the afternoon!  Although most patients aren’t that motivated to work, 3-5 days seems to be the average. The only limiting factor seems to be swelling or bruising.  Virtually all patients can talk, use a computer, or work within 1-2 days after the procedure.  However, if you are being discreet, are meeting clients, or need to be seen in public with little makeup, I would recommend 3-5 days off. A patient can resume normal activities within 1-2 days, assuming there is no vigorous exercise until the neck has completely healed.

What are the risks?

The risks are similar to a traditional neck lift, including bleeding, infection, stiffness, numbness, scarring, and visibility of the iGuide suture. Traditional neck lift probably has a higher risk of scarring, due to the fact that an incision has to be made behind the ear.  The visibility of the iGuide suture is quite rare, and although a real risk, it can be adjusted under local anesthesia in the office if needed.

How does the cost of the iGuide compare to a traditional neck lift?

The cost of the iGuide is significantly lower than traditional neck lift surgery.  The time in the procedure room is typically about one hour, and this shortened time results in an overall lower cost to you, the patient.  Of course, the faster recovery time may be considered a savings to you, as well, if you need to go back to work.

How is iGuide different from a “Feather Lift?” 

The iGuide is a normal suture, but placed in a unique fashion, to rejuvenate the neck skin and jawline. A feather lift is a special suture that is placed under the face and jowl skin to tighten the facial areas, similar to a facelift. So, there is a difference in the suture, and location, and what they are trying to do.

Dr. Roy Kim is a San Francisco plastic surgeon.  He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.  For more information visit his website and blog. www.drkim.com/blog.

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