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Dr. Gregory Mueller shares his neck lifting technique that strives to bridge the gap between less invasive procedures and their surgical counterparts.
There’s no question that patients are willing to accept lesser results in exchange for less invasive procedures. Although nonsurgical fat reduction technologies make it possible to eliminate unwanted fat, liposuction is a better bet for more dramatic fat reduction and body contouring results. And while some skin tightening can be had with energy devices, a surgical facelift remains the gold standard.
But as the aesthetic space continues to evolve, so do the cosmetic innovations bridging the gap between less invasive procedures and their surgical counterparts.
When it comes to the neck specifically, Gregory Mueller, M.D., Beverly Hills, Calif., has pioneered a light-guided approach to neck lifting, which he presented at this year’s Global Aesthetic Conference in Miami.
Ellevate is a procedure that allows physicians to perform suture suspension using light guidance underneath the neck. The ICLED surgical system is the medical device used to perform the procedure.
“…the drive behind me developing the Ellevate procedure was my desire to find a way to treat the neck without an invasive procedure,” says Dr. Mueller. “I thought, there's got to be a way to sew the neck muscles without opening the neck.”
His idea was to use a lighted needle and thread that would enable him to create a matrix underneath the skin that supports the muscles and glands of the neck without invasive surgery.
It’s akin to performing image-guided surgery: the tool lights the way from the inside out.
“It's been an amazing adjunct to my practice, and something that I'm teaching doctors to do now, that really allows someone to have neck refinement surgery without… the invasive nature of surgery,” says Dr. Mueller.
Notably, the procedure takes only about an hour to perform. The company offers training with physician experts that serve as “training centers” across the country as well as additional support once surgeons are ready to offer it in their own practice.
“It’s a really easy procedure to learn and very safe and minimally invasive,” says Dr. Mueller.
Similar to other less-invasive technologies, combining procedures such as lipolysis, liposuction or energy treatments of the submental area with Ellevate may enhance results, according to Dr. Mueller.
For patients who have an excess of submental fat, loose skin and sagging platysma muscle, however, a more invasive procedure may be indicated. Jonathan Kaplan, M.D., recently published case study results of a single incision minimally invasive (SIMI) neck lift, which he performed using a cervicomental incision with wide undermining to avoid postauricular incisions.
“With only a single cervicomental incision, this is clearly a less invasive procedure compared with its ‘full neck lift’ counterpart. The more posteriorly placed cervicomental incision provides easier access to the entire neck, making wide skin undermining easier,” writes Dr. Kaplan.
And while Dr. Kaplan’s approach is one step closer to a less invasive surgical option for necklifting, Dr. Mueller’s Ellevate procedure offers another minimally invasive option to bring patients closer to more surgery-like results.
And for Dr. Mueller that’s the point.
“The greatest thing about the Ellevate procedure with all the energy-based skin tightening technologies that are available today, [is that] it allows a surgeon who would normally have to open the neck to be able give the patient complete solution for the neck, and a great home run result.”
Kaplan JL. The Single Incision Minimally Invasive (SIMI) Neck Lift. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2019;7(5):e2208.