What is a Silhouette Soft face lift?
The Silhouette Soft (suture lift or thread lift) face lift is non-surgical procedure where sagging skin, usually around the midface, cheeks, jowls, brows and neck, is lifted by tiny threads to give the face a more youthful appearance. It is one of a number of different types of ‘thread’ lifts available today and according to www.consultingroom.com is also known as a ‘one-stitch face lift’ or ‘puppet face lift’.
It takes under an hour to perform and the effects can last up to 18 months. Performed correctly, it can give great results with minimal risks, which may include temporary bruising or skin bunching which resolves shortly after treatment.
Here we look at the facts to help you decide whether it is the treatment for you.
What does it involve?
The technology, developed in the late 1990s, is aimed at reversing the appearance of drooping skin caused by age. Our faces lose collagen and connective tissues weaken as we get older, causing fat pads to slip, and skin to sag and wrinkle.
For a Silhouette Soft face lift, a doctor uses a needle to insert threads dotted with tiny cones (made from polylactic acid, the same material as dissolvable stitches) under the skin of the area affected.
The cones are bi-directional and when the threads are pulled the cones secure them in place allowing them to be gently adjusted to reposition the skin. The thread ends are then cut off while the sutures remain inside temporarily until they are reabsorbed by the body over a period of a few weeks.
The level of skin laxity and the number of areas of the face or neck to be treated to be will determine the number of threads doctors will use. The average is 4-6.
How does it work?
Skin lifting with Silhouette Soft threads involves a two-stage process – the immediate lift from the threads that reposition the skin followed by gradual collagen regeneration.
Over the next three months before they are absorbed by the body the cones on the threads encourage the process of collagenesis. By stimulating the body to recreate its own collagen, the treatment also brings about a biological lift, where the skin becomes firmer and tighter, augmented by the newly laid down collagen underneath the surface which helps fills it out naturally.
What is it like?
Before treating with Silhouette Soft, the treating doctor will numb the skin with local anaesthetic. The threads will then be inserted into your face, positioning the skin as required. They will check to make sure both sides of the face are symmetrical.
This process takes less than an hour, after which you can leave the clinic and resume your usual activities with care. The doctor will advise about after-care (see below).
After Care and Recovery?
For the first 24 hours after the procedure, you should try not to make excessive facial movements (such as opening wide at the dentist). Your doctor may also advise that you sleep on your back for a few days.
You will also need to limit strenuous physical activity (such as a gym work out) for a few days. You may need to take mild pain relief like paracetamol and ibuprofen and you could be given a topical antibiotic cream to put on the skin around the entry and exit points to reduce the risk of infection. Remember a foreign body has been inserted into you so there is always a risk this could cause a reaction or infection.
Some bruising and puckering of the skin is normal for the first few days after the procedure but you should consult your doctor if this continues.
What are the risks and side effects?
While thread face lifts can have instant and longer term positive effects, there are also some risks, however, these are cosmetic. Doctors have reported temporary rippled or puckered skin or slight bruising. Medical risks may include infection, scarring, and pain.
Only doctors and dentist can provide this treatment after they have completed a rigorous training programme run by Sinclair Pharma, they have completed a rigorous training programme run by Sinclair Pharma, a major supplier aesthetic products and training to medical practitioners in the European market. The company has a strenuous events reporting system in over 140,000 treated patients the adverse event rate remains extremely low.
Is it suitable for everyone?
The cosmetic procedure is most suitable for people who can lift a centimetre of skin on their faces. This is most likely to be in their early 40s upwards. The treatment is less effective on severe sagging seen in people aged over 70.
It has also been used to successfully treat patients with a facial palsy – where part of the face is paralysed and droops. Doctors have reported successfully treating the cosmetic appearance Bell’s palsy patients using thread lifts.
The procedure is unlikely to have much effect on people with excessively sagging skin, who are obese or who have unusually thick, rough or weathered skin. It is not suitable for pregnant women or anyone at a higher risk of infection or who may be intolerant to implants, such as people who are immunosuppressed.
How much does it cost?
You can expect to pay upwards of £1500 for a Silhouette Soft procedure depending on the number of sutures needed. Only doctors and dentists are trained to offer the treatment and you can only have the procedure in an approved clinic. It is worth researching the qualifications and experience of the practitioner before choosing where to have the treatment. A list of the only clinicians trained in the procedure is available www.sinclairpharma.co.uk.
So is it worth it?
The procedure can have immediate results – but don’t expect miracles. The maximum lift that can be achieved is around 1cm. Patients hoping for more should consider a surgical procedure such as a face lift.
But the Silhouette Soft thread lift is certainly easier, cheaper and has a quicker recovery time than a full facelift.