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We all work so hard on keeping our faces youthful looking that it sometimes comes as a sudden shock to find that our necks have been quietly betraying us. In her bestselling book I Feel Bad About My Neck, Nora Ephron writes, “According to my dermatologist, the neck starts to go at forty-three, and that’s that. You can put makeup on your face and concealer under your eyes and dye on your hair, you can shoot collagen and Botox and Restylane into your wrinkles and creases, but short of surgery, there’s not a damn thing you can do about a neck. Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth.

However, if Ms. Ephron had written her book in the last two years, she might have been more optimistic. That’s because in 2009, the FDA approved a new technology called the iGuide Surgical Suture System that provides patients a way to have a younger-looking, contoured neck line without invasive neck lift surgery.

What is iGuide?

iGuide technology encompasses surgical devices and a procedure. The devices consist of five unique surgical tools that include a fiber optic lighted rod that guides a series of punctures on either side of the jaw line above the Adam’s apple and below the chin.

During the procedure, your plastic surgeon will first perform liposuction in your upper neck area to remove excess fat and clear a path for the special suture. Using the long nylon suture like a shoestring, the surgeon weaves 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 sub-dermis and underlying muscle. The surgeon ties off the suture and hides it in the skin fold below the chin. Dr. Roy Kim was the first plastic surgeon in San Francisco to be trained in and offer the iGuide system.

What are the benefits of iGuide?

The most obvious benefit of iGuide is that it is less invasive than a traditional neck lift and therefore offers a faster recovery time and less pain. Patients are generally recovered in three days instead of the usual 10 days associated with a neck lift.

A traditional neck lift involves cutting the ligaments that attach the muscle to the skin. During iGuide, only the soft tissues are punctured with a small needle, leaving the neck structure intact and eliminating bumpiness from scar tissue that can sometimes occur after a neck lift.

The procedure requires only local anesthesia and usually takes about an hour.

Am I a good candidate for iGuide?

According to Nora Ephron’s dermatologist, if you’re over 43, your neck needs help. But in reality, the best candidates for iGuide are:

  • Males who generally have more muscle mass in their lower face and necks
  • Younger patients who have abnormal or unattractive neck contours due to genetics
  • Patients who have loss of neck definition but not too much excess skin (because iGuide does not involve cutting or removing skin)
  • Facelift patients who want to complement their procedure without a full neck lift
  • Patients who want a shorter recovery time without general anesthesia

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What risks are involved with iGuide?

Side effects and risks associated with iGuide are similar to those found in any surgical procedure and include wound rupture or leakage, infection, minimal inflammatory tissue reaction, bleeding, nerve injury and irritation at the wound site. As with any surgical device it is important for the surgeon to have proper surgical training, experience and an understanding of how to utilize the iGuide.

How can I get an iGuide Neck Lift in San Francisco?

You don’t have to let your neck give away your age through excess fat, sagging, or the dreaded “turkey wattle” any longer. Advances in medical technology continue to offer solutions to life’s annoying little problems, and iGuide is just the latest procedure to offer a less invasive option to the standard surgical solution.

If you’d like to learn more about iGuide and how it can help your neck match your youthful face, contact Dr. Roy Kim’s patient care coordinator, Caroline, at 415-354-8148.

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