Suture Lift

Wed. September 5, 2007 12:00 AM
by Omeed Memar, M.D.

15 years ago, cosmetic surgery was reserved for celebrities and the very wealthy. These patients were mostly women and had plenty of money and lots of free time to recover. In those days, there were no options other than procedures involving lengthy hospital stays, which were followed by seclusion and elaborate cover-up stories, and cosmetic surgery was viewed as vain, at the least, and shameful at the worst!

But these are exciting times in the world of cosmetic dermatology. Now there is a far wider choice of easily accomplished treatments that don't require lengthy recuperation. There's no more social stigma either. It's estimated that about 3.7 million procedures to erase facial wrinkles, like peels and dermabrasions, and over 600,000 liposuctions are performed annually. So it's possible some of your friends have undergone such treatments with no one but themselves the wiser. The only tip-off may be that they look rested, more youthful, or more fit or shapely, depending on what they've had done.

One such procedure is the Suture Lift -- also called a Thread Lift or Feather Lift. It is a non-surgical form of facelift, in which specially treated threads are inserted into the facial tissues. It is performed by a dermatological surgeon and entails far less risk, cost, and recovery time. A face-lift, for instance, requires the removal of tissue, the stretching and reshaping of skin, and creation of a long scar on the face; not to mention significant recovery time. A Suture Lift, on the other hand, is a far less invasive procedure that is showing promising results for lifting and smoothing out wrinkles on the face and will have you back in the office within a few hours to a day.

If you are unhappy with loose, wrinkled or drooping skin to areas of the face such as the cheeks, jowls, corners of the mouth and neck, the Suture Lift may be the procedure for you. It has advantages for people wanting a quick fix. It is usually performed under local anesthetic, involves little or no risk and does not require incisions on the face. The procedure takes just over an hour and the result settles within days.

The ideal patients for this procedure is someone who is not yet ready for a full face-lift, or who has previously had a face-lift and is just wanting to improve the residual loose or drooping areas that remain. The Suture Lift is also becoming very popular with younger people who want to achieve more subtle changes or delay the signs of aging. One treatment per area is usually all that is required to achieve the desired results.

How does it work? The threads hold the skin in a ‘lifted' position while the body lays down collagen around it over a period of 3-4 months. This sub-dermal collagen and suture create the lift that will smooth out wrinkles or sagging areas.

The procedure. The treatment lifts the face "with threads." It is done in the office using local anesthetic. The entire process takes about 2 hours, but the actual placement of the threads takes about 30 minutes. Most patients require no sedation, and experience some discomfort rather than pain.

What will I look like after the procedure? Recovery is quick, even though some bruising and swelling may be evident for approximately 4-7 days. In most cases patients return to work the following day, however this largely depends on the individual, their occupation and lifestyle; make-up can also be applied the following day.

Good value? It offers great value compared to surgical procedures: no scars, no general anesthesia, lower cost, minimal risk, easy recovery with little down time. A full face can be done for only $3000.

How long will the effects last? The sutures can last for years and will help to support the skin in the area it has been placed. However, over time the skin may loosen and the face may show signs of ageing. If this occurs, more sutures can be inserted to once again support the skin. Once an area has been treated it does not restrict that same area being treated again.

This is a great procedure by itself or in conjunction with other subtle procedures, like fillers and Botox®. As with all treatments and medical procedures, always seek expert advice - in this case your doctor - before going ahead.

Please email me any questions you have about dermatological conditions or cosmetic surgery. I will be answering questions on my new You Tube site in the coming weeks.