Silhouette Soft Thread Lift: Changing Faces?

Guest Blog by Alex Karidis MD, London April 2014

It has always been my mission to stay on top of new developments in the cosmetic industry, whilst at the same time using my experience, common sense, and judgment to make an assessment on whether these would benefit my patients.  The Silhouete Soft thread lift is a procedure that I have been keeping a professional eye on  for well over a year  now.

The Silhouette Soft, in particular, looks appealing as it tightens sagging skin whilst simultaneously increasing the production of collagen. The appropriately trained practitioner lifts lax skin in the desired facial regions using sutures containing polylactic acid, a fully absorbable ingredient that has been used in medical procedures for years.

What’s more, unlike previous thread lifts, there are no incisions and the sutures are dissolving. Instead, a fine needle is inserted about 3-5mm under the skin and progressed along the direction of lift that is desired. Usually 2 threads are placed on each side to achieve the desired lift in any given region. How many threads in total are used will depend on the extent of the lift desired.  These Silhouette Soft threads are then  held in place by virtue of multiple absorbable cones positioned in opposing directions within the thread  thereby “snagging” itself  and holding the surrounding tissues. The doctor then compresses the tissue by pulling up on the sutures to create the desired lifting effect.

Whilst this is the primary mechanism in which the Silhouette Soft thread lift works, there is also a biostimulation effect from the polylactic acid material of the  threads, causing the bodies own collagen to build up gradually around the thread itself. The whole procedure takes around 30 minutes and the lift results are immediate. How long do the results last? This of course will vary with individuals, however in general it may last 12-18 months although there will be patients who will fall outside these time frames, on both sides, depending on the quality and elasticity of their tissues.

Dr Costas Papageorgiou, our oculofacial surgeon and medical associate,  is confident this is a viable option for select patients in their 30’s to 40’s who are experiencing some early sagging and perhaps are not surgical candidates but nonetheless want to address some cheek or early jawline laxity.

Those who read my blogs will notice I completely dismissed the one stitch face lift in 2013. I want to clarify that that particular procedure is different and does require incisions, uses permanent threads rather than absorbable ones and was often performed by doctors who were not neccessarily trained in facial aesthetics.  As a surgeon, I am not satisfied that the relative invasiveness that is needed with the one stitch face lift on balance weighed up against the relative short duration of time the results last  are in the patients interest and I still stand by that. I think that if one is going to offer a shorter duration of effect from any particular treatment, and  provided of course the patient understands this, then at least at the very minimum is should absolutely be minimally invasive with no scars at all.

Moreover I also want to make clear that I firmly believe that a full face lift is still the gold standard in cases of more advanced ageing and is also the most consistent,reliable and longest lasting option for suitable candidates.  However,  I do appreciate and am aware that there are some patients out there who are not quite “ripe” for a surgical procedure but nonetheless desire some immediate “tightening” in a much less invasive way, and are prepared to accept a shorter duration of effect. In these instances then I feel that this latest treatment, which is FDA approved for the US market and CE marked for the European market, could provide such a solution.

The most important  key to the success of this treatment however will always be to ensure that patients understand and manage their expectations accordingly  so that there are no misunderstandings and disappointments. From our point of view we will do our utmost to ensure the appropriate information is therefore conveyed.