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The best patient is someone with jowls, loose skin around the neck and a general saggy appearance to the skin on the face and neck. If the patient also has lots of wrinkles, non-surgical facial rejuvenation treatments can be combined with a skin suture lift for an improved overall result. Often our surgeons will use the Erbium around the mouth and liposuction of the neck at the same time. The skin suture lift is an appropriate procedure for patients who are not yet ready for face-lift surgery or for patients who have had a face-lift and who want to improve the residual loose or drooping areas that remain or have recurred.
With ageing, the skin begins to droop from the facial structures. An option at this point is the surgical facelift procedure performed by surgeons. The “facelift” involves the skin being cut and removed from around the ear as well as an undermining of the facial skin and tightening of the underlying muscular and facial tissues to create a lifting effect. This has a relatively longer recovery, with relatively higher risks. Another less invasive option is the “face skin suture lift”. The “face skin suture lift” was developed by a surgeon in South Africa where the skin alone is elevated and lifted with sutures and a couple of nicks behind the ear. This is less risky with a shorter recovery profile.
With this thread lifting procedure, there is no removal of facial skin. The type of thread used for the sutures are made from a prolene suture material and are placed under the skin and left there long
term. After a few weeks, the skin is held in its new position by tissue that forms around the stitches.
The procedure can be performed under anaesthesia such as injectable local anesthetic or a light
general anesthetic. It takes approximately 1 hour.
Small nicks of approximately 1cm are made in the skin in the crease behind the ear. A long needle
with the suture is threaded until it reaches the sagging area that is to be lifted. The suture is then placed in this position and elevated to the ear. Our surgeons then tie the suture and it is hidden under the skin. Several serial stitches are used to hold the skin in the desired position. A dissolvable suture is used to close each of the nicks behind the ear. These are removed in 5-7 days or may dissolve themselves. A feature of the suture lift is there will initially be a pleat, fold or wrinkle of excess skin in front of the ear. The fold can easily be covered with one’s hair and usually, this fold relaxes and settles in the following months. If it does not settle, laser therapy to tighten the skin may be used or very rarely an excision of
the excess skin.
1. Key Points in Face Suture Lift
• Easily predictable natural-looking result; Viable alternative to facelift surgery
• Our surgeons extensive experience; Benefits of combining procedures
• 2. Suture Lift – Advantages
• It’s minimally invasive; It’s a quick procedure
• It’s essentially a skin procedure only; Generally low risk of nerve damage
• It’s reversible & adjustable; Generally little downtime
• It may be combined with other procedures; Generally a predictable result
3. Suture Lift – Disadvantages
• May not be more long term
• Fold of skin in front of the ear – usually temporary
• Tenderness and occasional pain in ear – usually temporary
Recovery after the suture lift procedure is rapid. Patients can usually return to their regular activities the next day although there may be some bruising and swelling around the ear. Some patients experience some pain behind the ears but painkillers prescribed by our surgeons will help this. This usually settles over a few days. Occasionally the ear pain can be more severe and persist longer.
Our surgeons recommend the photorejuvenation laser to enhance and lengthen the results of skin suture lift. There is no downtime and should ideally be performed every 2-4 weeks.
As with any medical procedure, there are some potential risks. These include:
• Wrinkle Fold or dent in the front of ears
• Need to repeat the procedure to maintain the result
• Swelling, bruising and localised infection
• Pain in the ear
The suture lift result may last for years; however, they will loosen over time. The face may also continue to sag due to the ageing process. There are no guarantees at this stage as to the length of time the result will last. If you are unhappy with the result, the number of thread sutures can be removed or be redone with new sutures by our surgeons. With time, the skin may fix long term in an elevated position, however, it is best to expect a maintenance treatment. This is less expensive than the first operation.
Our surgeons used to use the suture lift for a brow lift but has found that sutures do not hold well in this area. Our surgeons find that often when we do blepharoplasty (eye lifting) there is a component of drooping of the brow. It is important in these situations that it is understood that the brow lift will not occur by just removing loose skin on the upper lids. Nevertheless, a good result can be obtained with just laser eye lifting.
There is a suture from Italy that we do offer for brow lift however we warn that they are expensive and there is no guarantee how long they last. The brow lift is not an easy area of cosmetic surgery as patients are not always sure they want a full brow lift because there is a risk of a “startled appearance.”
There are other approaches to obtain a brow lift. A filler such as the man-made ones or one’s own fat can be injected under the brow to produce a brow lift. Muscles are also very dynamic around the eyes. By using a muscle relaxing injection, a brow lift can be achieved as well.
Finally, the Institute of Aesthetics offers lasers and devices to tighten the skin. The latest therapy that the clinic finds that can help with a lift of the brow is the Ulthera Device. This is a deep ultrasound that causes the deep collagen to contract and is applied above the eyebrow.
Our surgeons often perform liposuction of the neck to enhance the results of the suture lift. He believes that this combination lengthens the overall result. Our surgeons may also recommend laser resurfacing around the eyes and mouth as well as dermal fillers in the lips, cheeks and chin and lastly face muscle relaxants to enhance the result.
The neck lift is another procedure that is often combined with other cosmetic procedures for its anti-ageing benefits. Neck liposuction addresses excess fat as well as skin laxity in the neck. By using liposuction, skin excision, or laser resurfacing, the cosmetic surgeon can restore the aesthetic of the neck.
Eyelid surgery could also be used to reduce common signs of ageing. It addresses excess fat and skin around the eyes, restoring the patient’s field of vision. In addition to that, it also rejuvenates the eyes substantially. It is not uncommon for eyelid surgery to be combined with facelift techniques to maximise results.
An increasingly large number of patients now opt for Suture Lift procedures. Occasionally our surgeons recommend a face volume filler to enhance the result.
If you’re looking to remove fat from the face or anti-wrinkle injections, get a free no-obligation consultation at the Institute of Aesthetics.
We encourage a second opinion. Ideally from a dermatologist. Please be aware different specialties have different approaches.Request consultation
During a skin suture lift, nicks are made behind the earlobe and they are closed with one suture. Evidently, the visibility and size of the remaining scarring depend on the incision sites used during the procedure. If you have concerns about scarring remaining near the hairline or behind the ear, please speak to your cosmetic surgeon. He can give you an example of what kind of scar to expect post-surgery.
Patients usually can return to work very quickly but this varies between patients. Since general anesthesia is commonly used during this kind of thread lift treatment, the patient needs to be driven home. It is important not to do any strenuous activities or make important decisions during this time.
Since a suture lift is an invasive procedure, it is important to follow the recovery guidelines from your cosmetic clinic. Patients can experience side effects such as mild discomfort after the procedure, which can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. You will also have to attend a follow-up appointment with your cosmetic surgeon in addition to following the postoperative care guidelines after the procedure.
Yes, Photorejuvenation lasers help to enhance the result and may also increase the longevity of the result. Our surgeons use either the Revlite / Aura combination once a month or a one-off treatment with the Ultherapy device. These help with new collagen production and healing in the dermis.
In addition to additional rejuvenation treatments, you can also prolong a more youthful appearance by using the right skincare routine. Moisturising the skin regularly can promote good skin elasticity, but also prove beneficial for complexion and skin texture.
It is important for patients to have realistic expectations about their facelift results. Your cosmetic surgeon can tell you more about what to expect post-procedure.
Years after a facelift the skin may droop and this can be revised with the suture lift alone. Your cosmetic surgeon will look at your medical history to determine which facelift is most appropriate. This includes considering underlying medical conditions and/or medications that could influence your procedure.
The type of procedure that will be most effective depends on the area of the face that must be addressed, for example, the mid-face or the lower face. But no matter the treated area, the surgeon will always try to make a small incision to gain access to the treatment area to minimize the remaining scar.
The procedure is generally not painful, but the ears may be sore.
The procedure takes around one hour
Our surgeons prescribe antibiotics to minimise risks
Yes, our surgeons like to do a liposculpture of the neck together as this gives a good support platform. Liposuction generally lasts for many years. Sometimes our surgeons do a full-face makeover.
Yes, the best results are achieved when these two procedures are combined. During a suture lift, the cosmetic surgeon addresses facial muscles as well as sagging bone structure by manipulating parts of the face. During eyelid surgery, excess fat and skin are removed for a rejuvenating effect.
A rhytidectomy is a term used to refer to the facelift. It does not only refer to the suture facelift or the traditional facelift, it refers to all facelift techniques overall including the mini facelift, SMAS, and more.
Pushing the sides of the cheeks back towards the ear gives a very good indication of how the results will be immediately after the procedure. If you like the way this looks then the suture lift may be an appropriate procedure for you.
All photographs represent one person’s experience, and results may vary for each patient. All photographs are of actual patients of the Institute of Aesthetics. The visible change in these photographs has occurred as a result of the procedure/s undertaken. Best results are obtained when the procedure is combined with a balanced diet and exercise.
We offer a FREE, No-Obligation Cosmetic Surgery Consultation and a detailed explanation of the procedure.
Our surgeons can email all patients a detailed consent form that provides information related to the surgery. This information is made available to all patients before surgery, allowing enough time for the patient to ask any questions they may have.
A facelift procedure involves many things, so patients must be informed about their procedure before they go in for their treatment. At the Insitute of Aesthetics Clinic, you will receive the necessary information during one of your consultations, but you will also find much information about facelift procedures on our website, which you can go through in your own time before you come in for your initial consultation. By reading this information beforehand, you immediately have a good insight into the treatment and any accompanying questions you may have can be answered by the cosmetic surgery during your initial consultation. Only when the patient fully understands the procedure, can he or she sign the consent form.
The results obtained from a facelift procedure are different for each patient because every patient is unique. However, patients can get a better idea of the aesthetic changes the face may undergo because of the procedure by looking at our before and after photographs. These photographs are taken from patients who had a facelift procedure at the Institute of Aesthetics Clinic.
The type of anaesthetic or sedation can be subject to the type of facelift. While local anaesthetic is possible, most surgical techniques on the face are done under a general anaesthetic.
Even though our surgeons have never encountered a patient who suffered serious complications as a result of the facelift, it is important that patients consider potential complications that could occur as a result of the procedure.
Possible complications associated with the facelift include damage to the facial nerve, hair loss, damage to underlying tissues, or seeping caused by excess blood post-procedure. If you notice any visible signs of complications post-procedure, contact your cosmetic surgery clinic immediately or head to your nearest emergency department.
Daniel Lanzer has retired. He is no longer a registered medical practitioner. This website is currently under review.