what is a silhouette lift?

is it similar to the Y lift? what kind of results are people getting?

Doctor Answers 22

Silhouette InstaLift

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As a facial plastic surgeon who's passion is facial rejuvenation, I perform a wide variety of facelift procedures depending on the needs, goals, and aging pattern of each individual patient.  In my opinion and experience, The Silhouette Lift is a nonsurgical/minimally invasive tool which can be used to help patients achieve their goals by truly tightening, and lifting drooping volume and skin in the face without incisions. THIS IS NOT THE SAME THREAD LIFT THAT LOST FDA APPROVAL YEARS AGO.

Until now, the closest thing to this procedure has been the "skin-only facelift", which is a surgery that I find hard to justify performing. "Skin-only" facelifts  usually require incisions that are similar to a mini-facelift, but without any muscle tightening, so results tend to last a few months to a year. A well performed mini-lift can last 3 years, and in many cases significantly longer.  

To compare the Silhouette Lift to a true facelift of any kind would be unfair to patients and both procedures. I view it as a procedure for patients with mild to moderate looseness of the mid and lower face, without a significant amount of loose skin, who do not have the time to recover from a facelift (about 1 week), are okay with results that can last about 18-36 months, are not open to having incisions, and find that the cost (about $3500-$6000 - which is in the same range as ulthera and thermitight) is worth the benefits. The results are subtle, but visible to both my patients and me. Patients have been happy. The procedure involves injecting dissolvable sutures with "sculptra" cones under the skin to lift the cheeks and lower face. It can be combined with fillers and botox to create an overall rejuvenated appearance. Very often the recovery time is similar to that of a filler (24-48 hours if any at all).  

Although patients may get excited to hear its done under local anesthesia,  those who have become part of my practice know that I perform all of my facial plastic surgeries (including facelifts) under local anesthesia as well, which creates a level playing field when it comes to that part of it.  In the right patients, I have found that the results are worth the time, effort and resources. The procedure is a minimally invasive way of tightening the skin of the face. 

To find out if it's an appropriate procedure for you, I suggest doing your research and seeing a board certified surgeon who regularly performs a variety of different facelifts and nonsurgical facial procedures in order to truly get an unbiased recommendation. 

Results Aren't as Reliable as With Traditional Facelift

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The Silhouette lift is simply an updated version of a thread lift. The "thread lift" was performed under local anesthetic and threads, with barbs that were used to lift sagging tissues. The results were good at first -- but didn't last. Those threads were not absorbable, which meant they were permanent. The Silhouette threads are absorbable, but the results are still not long lasting. You should really consider a more traditional procedure. There are less aggressive surgical procedures that can minimize downtime, for which you may be a great candidate. Thanks for your question.

What is a Silhouette Lift or thread lift facelift?

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The Silhouette Lift technique involves placing suspension sutures with small cones that act as barbs to hold the tissues in position when tightened.  It is a newer variation of the thread lift from years ago.

This is absolutely NOT a facelift.  

It is a less invasive alternative that is being marketed, and the ability of this technique to get the job done is definitely limited.

My opinion is similar to most surgeons who specialize in facelifts.  If you are a patient who has the changes that warrant a facelift (loose excess skin, sagging of the deep muscle layers in the face and neck, volume loss, sagging of the jowls, etc) then the best answer for you is a real facelift procedure.  There is absolutely nothing that will come close to the results you can achieve with that.

My preference is a deep plane facelift or a variation of an extended-SMAS facelift based on each individual patient's anatomy.  This includes a necklift and for the majority also includes a platysmaplasty.  Liposuction in the neck can be performed if needed.

David W. Rodwell III, MD
Charleston Facial Plastic Surgeon

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Silhouette Instalift

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Silhouette Instalift is a non-surgical procedure that is done with local anesthesia and requires no incisions. The procedure involves numbing of the face and the insertion or tiny threaded biodegradable cones in and around the cheeks and jawline. These threaded cones lift and tighten the facial skin and do not cause any damage to the tissue. The lifting action triggers collagen production and provides and even more youthful benefits.

Silhouette Lift

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Silhouette InstaLift is a non-invasive alternative to a traditional surgical facelift. It helps to address volume loss as well as skin laxity through not only instant lift of the skin, but also long-term collagen production. Specially formulated dissolvable sutures with bidirectional cones are used to mechanically fix deep tissue until collagen production ensures tissue fixation biologically. The entire procedure takes only 45 minutes and requires no incisions or anesthesia. Instead, lidocaine is injected locally to ensure patient comfort during the treatment.

While cosmetic dermatologists have performed thread lifts previously, InstaLift provides a vast improvement thanks to the use of dissolvable threads and cones made up of a synthetic material called polylactic acid, which is also used in Sculptra. This material slowly disintegrates as the body creates scar tissues, which provides a natural lift for the face in their place. Through the use of bidirectional cones, the lifting caused by InstaLift can be more finely controlled. Combined, these advantages result in the long-lasting effects of InstaLift while avoiding the potential side effects once felt by patients who chose previous versions of thread lifting.

Silhouette InstaLift Recovery Time

Another major benefit of the Silhouette non-surgical face lift is the lack of any major downtime. Following the procedure, you may be slightly swollen, red, or bruised. These side effects are common and should resolve on their own within a few days, or up to a few weeks in rare cases. Bruising can always occur following trauma to the skin, but there are steps you can take to help minimize the risk, including:

  • Patients taking blood thinning medications such as aspirin should confirm with their primary care physicians whether they should halt medication before the procedure
  • Stop taking blood thinning supplements such as fish oil for at least two weeks beforehand
  • Visit a skilled, experienced, board-certified dermatologic surgeon for your treatment
  • Avoid alcohol for a week or so before the procedure
  • Use arnica supplements before and after the procedure


Silhouette Instalift Replaces Volume loss & lifts lower face & neck skin

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Silhouette Instalift Replaces Volume loss & lifts lower face & neck skin

The Silhouette Instalift has been used in Europe for years and was approved in the United States in 2015 by the FDA.  It is unlike any other thread lifting procedure in that the threads stimulate your collagen, to replace volume loss, and the attached mini-cones lift and support lax facial and upper neck tissues for up to 2 years.  The procedure entails precise marking of the areas to be lifted and placement of small amounts of local anesthetic in the skin. The threads and cones are placed through small pin sticks, in areas that have had local anesthetic placed, and are then woven beneath the skin.  Lax skin is lifted and supported by the cones.  During the next 6 months the cones and threads are absorbed, and in doing so stimulate your own collagen to replace volume loss and maintain the position of the lifted skin.  The Silhouette Instalift is ideal for moderately lax skin of the lower face, jowls and upper neck.  These areas are otherwise addressed only with a facelift.  So, the Silhouette Instalift, in the appropriate patient, will forgo surgery and within days you will look refreshed and rejuvenated.  It is a procedure that requires artistry, finesse and skill.  There is minimal downtime and barely any discomfort.  The Silhouette Instalift is not like any other lift.  

What is Silhouette InstaLift?

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Thank you for your question. Silhouette InstaLift™ is a minimally invasive procedure that is able to target the deeper layers of skin on a patient’s face and neck. This new target area makes the procedure stand out from existing procedures that treat the surface or outer layers of the skin, such as wrinkles, brown spots or lost volume. InstaLift has absorbable lifting sutures that tighten skin and stimulate collagen as they dissolve over time. An aged appearance is usually caused by a patient's deeper layers, so targeting that area allows us to get better natural results. The procedure generally only takes only 30-45 minutes and provides amazing results. I recommend getting a in person consultation with a board-certified dermatologist.   

Bruce E. Katz, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Long-Term Results Questionable -- Be Skeptical

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A silhouette lift refers to a suture, absorbable or non-absorbable, with cones placed along the suture to grab the tissue and hopefully hold the tissue up after placement. The advantages of the procedure are that the sutures do not involve incisions, and the absorbable sutures and cones dissolve with time. Of course, the real question is, "Do they work?" The short-term answer is yes, but for how long? Conceptually, they are very similar to the previous contour thread lift, which relied on barbs rather than cones to grab the tissue, but which has fallen out of favor completely due to unreliable results. One study in our institution using sophisticated 3-dimensional imaging demonstrated that the results only lasted 3 to 4 months. There is no research about the long-term results of the silhouette lift, but I am skeptical. The Y lift has been promoted by 1 surgeon, and essentially involves placement of filler in deeper tissues. There is no data to suggest that it is long lasting, either. Thanks for your questions.

If Deemed a Candidate, Lite-lift™ May Be an Ideal Option

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If you are deemed a candidate, Lite-lift™ may be an option for you. Patients who desire facial rejuvenation that is affordable, quick, and effective should consider the Lite-lift™. The LiteLift™ is an innovative facelift developed by board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. Larry Nichter and myself which benefits many male patients. The goal of the #LiteLift is to provide a less invasive natural looking option for both men and women desiring to refresh their appearance with less downtime and risks. The LiteLift® is a “real” facelift, which does address the underlying muscle, tissue and overlying skin.
The technique requires limited incisions and takes a vertical lifting approach, in contrast to the traditional facelift, which requires extensive incisions and lifts or pulls the face towards the ears horizontally. The modern techniques used allow us to perform most LiteLift® procedures in the office under local anesthesia. Also, removing the risk of general anesthesia opens the door for more people to pursue facial surgery. All too often people do not move forward with undergoing the desires facelift surgery due to their overwhelming fear of the risks associated with general anesthesia.

This is a modified facelift that can be performed in the office with a local anesthetic and improve signs of aging around the neck, jawbone and lower face. Because the incisions are limited, there is less bruising, swelling and healing time for most patients. Many patients can be back to work in one to two weeks looking rested and more youthful.
The best candidates for #LiteLift are non-smoking patients 35-60 years old with early changes of the lower face and the neck. They also have a face and neck line beginning to sag, but whose skin has elasticity and whose bone structure is well defined. Older patients who cannot or do not wish to have a longer operation or general anesthetic can be improved with a Lite Lift™.

Not an Effective Alternative, Consider a Facelift

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As many other surgeons have noted, a silhouette lift is an update on the thread lift -- a procedure that inserts suspension sutures to raise drooping tissues. While minimally invasive, results are limited and temporary at best. A facelift, by contrast, provides lasting results by reshaping the underlying tissue to restore youthful contours to the face. Please consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to learn more about effective solutions to your concerns. Good luck!

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.