What is a Featherlift?

What is a Featherlift and how is it different from a facelift?

Doctor Answers 33

Featherlift - Not even good in theory

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Just a couple of years ago, "thread" lifting or "suture" lifting was a media darling. And now? Contour threads ("Thread lift") have been removed from the market and APTOS threads (the "Featherlift") are gone, too.

Unfortunately, these procedures were unimpressive in their results and flawed even in theory.

The idea was that barbed sutures--like porcupine quills--could be inserted under the skin, engage the tissue and then either lift it or bunch it together. Sounds great, right? So what was the problem?

The problem is that living tissue expands to accommodate tension, meaning that if you pull on skin it will grow and stretch out to eliminate that pull...and it does so pretty quickly. Doctors know this, which is why it was perplexing that any doctor ever offered it. In fact, we make use of this property with devices known as "tissue expanders," which we use for reconstructive procedures.

So why, you might ask, does a real surgical facelift last? Aren't we just pulling tissue? Not at all. The difference is that in a real surgical facelift, we are actually dissecting and then repositioning tissue planes. It's a little bit like peeling up a sticker and then re-adhering it in a new location. Unfortunately, that requires real surgery and its associated downtime, but a natural and lasting appearance is the result.

Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon

My Advice on XYZ Lifts

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

As a surgeon with over 20 years experience, I have seen a lot of these “newest and greatest” procedures come and go. I can only name a couple that have truly stood the test of time. A few keep coming back every few years with a new twist and a new brand name, but the same basic results. Put all the “blah-blah-blah lift” varieties in this category, along with cellulite reducing creams and non surgical bust enhancers.

Here's my advice on XYZ lifts:

  1. Mini surgeries tend to give mini results. Adjust expectations accordingly.
  2. Let others be the guinea pigs. Most new technologies need to have their kinks worked out. Better to avoid the “OOPS!” phase in the development of new technology.
  3. “Results may vary” - new procedures take some time to “find their place.” In the meantime, a lot of people will be spending a lot of money getting xyz lifts on various other parts of the face that may not work that great.
  4. It’s the tennis player, not the racket. A lot of times a procedure is marketed as an alternative for something that can be reliably done by an experienced surgeon using time tested techniques. The risk of the new procedure is that you may be wasting your money, or worse yet, risking a complication.

In your consultation with your surgeon, focus on describing exactly what you want to change, as opposed to the name of the technique. Let the surgeon explain the various techniques available to achieve the best results.

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 98 reviews


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thank you for your question. A featherlift referred to a variation on the thread lift. This type of technique is best suited to patients with mild aging changes. Moderate to severe aging changes would more likely benefit from a more traditional facelift. I would recommend consultation with a facial plastic surgeon to discuss what option is best for you.

"This answer has been solicited without seeing this patient and cannot be held as true medical advice, but only opinion. Seek in-person treatment with a trained medical professional for appropriate care."

What is a Featherlift?...

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Featherlift is a brand name for contour thread lift.  This is a minimally invasive facelift.  Permanent barbed sutures elevate the skin.  Early results are achieved but do not last.

Robert Sleightholm, MD
Brampton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Featherlift Will Probably Not Hold Up Over Time

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Featherlift will probably not hold up over time for your facelift, or as a technique.

Some patients have had satisfactory results from this technique that uses sutures with barbs to tighten tissue.

However, the sutures are expensive and little, if any money is saved with the technique.

The barbed sutures are supposed to make less cutting and sewing necessary, but this does not seem to be holding up well, and has created some disturbing dimples or folds.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Featherlift lies in the graveyard of trendy procedures

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Featherlift is a great case example of why patients should do their research before embarking on a procedure because it is new or trendy. Truthfully, it was one of the most worthless procedures ever introduced to the American public (barbed sutures placed under the skin). It lies in the graveyard of failed trendy cosmetic procedures, a place with plenty of open spots for future gimmicks.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Featherlifts have flown the Coop

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


A Featherlift is a procedure that received a lot of attention a few years ago that offered minimal incisions and recovery and promised improvements in a patient's jowls and jawlines.

It is done by making a small incision in the hairline by the ear and inserting a linear suture with hooks on the end that would lift the jowls
up. A nice little procedure in theory but the results were overall disappointing for most patients.

A Facelift has various forms but on the whole feature larger incisions and some form of tightening the underlying muscles. More invasive but far more satisfying.

Kamran Jafri, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon

What is a feather lift?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
There is no shortage of marketing ingenuity. This happens very commonly; typically it follows this trajectory: a new 'non-surgical' technique with 'no incisions' and 'no downtime' can give you results that are 'better than a traditional facelift.' The technique then gets applied to anyone willing to sign up for it, results in most are unsatisfying, but the occasional good result gets shown on every website and marketing brochure. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Many patients, quite naturally, hear about a procedure and want that specific procedure done - similar to normal shopping for any other product. The difference in cosmetic surgery (and truly, any medical treatment), is that not all patients are appropriate candidates for every technique. This is why a formal consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is so important. Your goals must be identified, a physical exam be performed, and a competent and up-to-date surgeon must identify the appropriate approach to reliably achieve those goals. I hope this is helpful.

Bryan Correa, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thank you for your quetion. A featherlift was a procedure used several years ago which worked similar to a thread lift. Barbed sutures were inserted under the skin to lift it up as a whole. The only problem was that, as tissue is tightened, it expands, thus defeating the purpose of the procedure in general.

Ramtin Kassir, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 180 reviews

Feather lift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
The feather lift is done with stitches under the skin to try to lift the skin.  Some refer to this as the thread lift.  Most surgeons have abandoned this procedure because it doesn't work.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

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.