I’ve heard many patients  lament the fact that they have spent lots of time and money on lotions, potions and procedures to keep their faces looking youthful only to find that their necks were quietly aging while they weren’t looking. “If only I had paid attention to my neck earlier!” they say.

In reality, your neck will usually show the signs of aging earlier than your face regardless of the latest anti-aging cream or “as-seen-on-TV” neck workout.

If you find yourself wearing a turtleneck in July, or if you can no longer button your dress shirt and neck ties feel more like a noose, then you may have loose skin around your neck or extra fat under your chin – or both.

What to do? A traditional neck lift is always an option, or liposuction may do the trick. But as technology and technique continues to advance, newer and less invasive procedures offer patients even more choices when it comes to neck rejuvenation.

Traditional Necklift
Liposuction Only
iGuide Assisted Necklift

Traditional Necklift

A traditional necklift is done by making incisions near the earlobe area, and often through an incision under your chin, which allows your surgeon to tighten your neck muscles, remove fat or tighten your loose neck skin (often, it’s a combination of all three).

The problem with a traditional neck lift is the scars left behind.  They are very well hidden, since they are hidden behind the ears, but they can be long.  Sometimes if you have a lot of loose skin, there’s little choice except to have those long scars.

Also, if you have a fair amount of neck skin to remove, then you may also need a facelift. A neck lift only allows for so much loose skin to be removed. To avoid bunching up a lot of loose skin at the earlobe area, you may need skin tightening around the jawline, jowls and cheek areas, as well-  meaning you’re getting a facelift.

Interestingly, there is no scaffolding or support under the neck skin to hold it in place. This is why your neck seems to age faster than your face. In your face, there are plenty of bones and surfaces to hold your skin and muscles in place.  When a traditional neck lift is done, I’m relying on your body’s ability to form scar tissue and fuse the skin to the underlying soft tissue of the neck.  There’s actually nothing supporting it –  I’m relying on your body’s healing ability.

Liposuction Only

If you only have excess fat under your chin and around your neck and no excess skin, simple liposuction  may be a good option to rejuvenate your neck.

The fat under your chin and in the neck area can be removed, allowing your skin to tighten and fuse down to the underlying soft tissue.  The incisions for neck liposuction are quite small, typically only 3-4 mm long.  They can usually be hidden behind the ear or in the chin area, so they are very difficult to see long term.

As with most things that seem too good to be true, there are some disadvantages to this procedure. If you have a lot of loose skin, liposuction cannot tighten your skin enough to give you an aesthetically pleasing result.  Your skin will tighten up after liposuction, but honestly, not a lot.  Your neck muscles can’t be tightened with just liposuction.

Again, I’m relying on your body’s ability to heal and fuse to the underlying tissues underneath your neck skin.  And just like a traditional neck lift, there is no support material or scaffolding or pixie dust left behind to ensure that your skin will be as tight as possible in your neck area.

So are there other options out there? Fortunately, yes.

iGuide Assisted Necklift

The iGuide is a somewhat newer device that is FDA approved to help with lifting and tightening of neck skin.

It’s works by creating a sort of trampoline under your chin. Look in the mirror and use your index finger to hold up the skin that forms the triangle under your chin and between the underside of your two jawbone joints. This is the area treated by the iGuide.

Basically a suture is carefully placed under the skin near the chin and weaved back and forth along the jaw in a fashion similar to a shoelace.  This provides the support, scaffolding or magic pixie dust that I feel more readily ensures that your skin and soft tissue in your neck area will fuse properly. This provides a good aesthetic result that lasts.

In a neck lift with iGuide assistance, I can do chin and neck liposuction as needed, tighten the neck muscles as needed, and then use the iGuide device to place a suture under the neck skin to anchor it to the jawline.  The incisions are quite small, similar in size to a liposuction procedure.  Typically, no incision is needed behind the ears, like in a traditional neck lift.

If you do not have that much loose neck skin, then you will probably only need an iGuide assisted neck lift  and will not need any incisions behind the ears.  This means a faster and easier recovery, too.

The iGuide can be used alone, or it can be done in conjunction with a facelift.  If you do need facial rejuvenation, then the iGuide is a nice option for neck rejuvenation, since it allows you to get a pleasing aesthetic result with a potentially much shorter scar.

If you’d like more information on iGuide or neck rejuvenation in general, please click here.  You can contact Caroline, our Patient Care Coordinator, at info@drkim.com or 415-354-8148.


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