As we age, our face and neck skin lose elasticity, accumulate fat deposits, culminating in excess skin relaxation and wrinkling. Cosmetically, the neck is particularly susceptible to these changes. Skin thinning, sagging of the neck as well as neck banding can lead to loss of youthful appearance. Occasionally, this process is accelerated and more prominent in the neck and lower face regions compared to the upper face. When this occurs, a complete face lift may not be required. Alternatively, a neck lift can be performed instead to treat sagging skin, sharpen the jawline, producing a rejuvenated lower facial aesthetic.
As a restorative surgery, the traditional neck lift can be exceptionally effective, but it can also be invasive, requiring appreciable follow-up care and recovery time. As such, despite the prominent aesthetic value, the traditional neck lift may not be suitable for all patients, especially younger patients with mild to moderate neck sagging. How do we address these limitations, and more importantly, is it possible to achieve surgical-level neck remodeling with a minimally-invasive procedure?
Enter ICLED®, an FDA-approved, cutting-edge, non-invasive neck lift procedure that utilizes a light-guided suture system to create a defined jawline and a contoured neck; all to enhance a patient’s unique lower facial features and promote reinvigoration.
The ICLED® System uses a specialized rod that weaves a series of sutures underneath the skin of the neck and affected regions to provide support and definition. To begin, the patient is injected with a local anesthetic to relax the underlying muscles and numb the area. Then, tactical small 3 mm incisions are made under the chin to insert the suture device. Depending on the patient, Facetite and/or facial micro suction-assisted lipoplasty may be performed at the same time to optimize results . Once the suture rod is inserted, it is guided by an intense yet safe fiber optic light at the end of the device. This light allows the Dr. Vallecillos to accurately localize the area being sutured as well as determine the tissue composition of the area and the depth of insertion. The device passes throughout the lower face and neck region creating a network of sutures that form a support matrix. These internal sutures ultimately work to lift sagging skin, sharpen the neck and jaw, and eliminate a sagging jowl, all to create long-lasting results that mimic a traditional neck lift.
Because the procedure is minimally-invasive and causes limited internal trauma, ICLED® provides faster recovery times with significantly less pain and bruising. Furthermore, the procedure does not cause extensive scarring, nor does it require extensive incisions for repositioning of the neck muscles. Indeed, many patients can resume normal activities within a few days following the procedure and can expect immediate results. Depending on each patient’s preferences, it is not uncommon for Dr. Vallecillos to combine ICLED® with additional aesthetic procedures including Fraxel skin resurfacing, Morpheus8 subdermal soft-tissue remodeling, Facetite (RFAL), soft-tissue fillers such as Voluma and Refyne, and micronized facial fat transfer.
All these benefits clearly illustrate the therapeutic and patient-centered potential of the ICLED® System. While the procedure is not suitable for all patients—notably those with significant skin excess and sagging, thus requiring a full-face lift – it is undeniable that individuals with mild to moderate neck sagging, drooping jowls, and an under-defined jaw line will greatly benefit from ICLED®. Ultimately, as patient preferences shift more and more towards minimally-invasive procedures, ICLED® stands to become an innovative and versatile gold-standard for the future of neck lifts.