Non-Surgical Facelift in the San Diego Area
Dr. Melanie Palm is a recognized InstaLift non-surgical facelift expert with offices in Solano Beach, CA – just north of San Diego. She was one of the first physicians in the United States to receive InstaLift for use on patients after FDA approval and has taught the technique to fellow physicians at national meetings such as the American Society for Dermatologic Surgeons (ASDS).
What is Silhouette InstaLift?
InstaLift is a non-surgical, in-office procedure using threads composed of absorbable (dissolving) suture material to uniquely lift sagging skin of face including the jawline and cheek.
How does InstaLift work?
The InstaLift procedure done at Art of Skin MD is tailored to each patient to address skin laxity in the cheek, jowls, and jawline. Typically, 2-4 InstaLift sutures are placed on each side of the face to create the lifting effect achieved from the procedure. The suture material is placed by Dr. Palm underneath the surface of the skin in the fat layer, and the unique “cones” lock and lift the suture in place, creating the skin lifting. The tightening effect occurs both immediately and improves further over about a 3 to 6 month period.
What makes InstaLift different from threadlifts of the past?
Threadlifts of the past were placed differently on the face and used nonabsorbable sutures with barbs to secure traction in the skin. This often caused unsightly pulling and visible tracks in the skin, or an unnatural appearance when the patient was smiling, moving their head, or talking. Due to its absorbable nature, area of placement, and depth of placement, Silhouette InstaLift should not be thought of as a “thread lift” or associated with complications from such procedures of the past. Furthermore, the sugar molecules that compose the InstaLift suture are different from thread lift sutures of the past. InstaLift sutures are biodegradable, meaning they dissolve slowly over time. They do however, have the benefit of stimulating new collagen growth in the area of placement, enhancing the subtle but visible lifting results of InstaLift.
When will I see results following the InstaLift procedure? How long do InstaLift results last?
There is an appreciable lifting effect immediately following placement of InstaLift sutures, however results continue to improve for approximately three to six months following treatment. The duration of skin tightening results following the InstaLift non-surgical facelift vary by patient, but typically last around 12-18 months.
What are InstaLift sutures made of?
Each InstaLift suture is composed of two degradable sugar materials, 1) a glycolic polymer called polyglycolic acid (PGA), and 2) poly-L-lactic acid (PLA or PLLA). The long suture is made up of only PLLA, while the specially designed absorbable tiny cones are a combination of 82% PLLA and 18% PGA . Both sugars are routinely used in dermatology – PLLA is the main ingredient in some absorbable sutures as well as the volumizing injectable Sculptra. Glycolic acids are commonly used for skin renewal in skin care products and peels.
Do the results of InstaLift look natural?
Yes. This procedure allows Dr. Palm to achieve harmony and balance in the face where fillers and neuromodulators (Botox) cannot by lifting and “re-draping” the cheeks and jowls non-surgically. The results help to achieve and recreate the youthful curves to the face, particularly along the cheeks and jawline.
Is InstaLift a substitute for a facelift or necklift?
In most patients, no. More conservative, less dramatic results are achieved with Silhouette InstaLift than a traditional facelift or necklift. However, for those patients that have only mild to moderate facial laxity (skin sagging), or for those that do not want a surgical intervention, InstaLift may be part of a treatment plan to achieve proper restoration of facial proportions and balance.
Who is a good candidate for InstaLift?
The most ideal candidates for the Silhouette InstaLift procedure have good skin elasticity and mild to moderate skin laxity, particularly of the jowls, jawline, and cheeks. Extremely thin patients with decreased skin thickness may not be great candidates, as the sutures reside in the fat layer and safe placement in this case may be more challenging.
How much downtime is there following the InstaLift procedure?
In Dr. Palm’s experience, there is minimal to no downtime associated with InstaLift. While individual results may vary, most patients experience minimal to mild soreness for a day or two. Most patients can resume daily social activities within 24-48 hours, if not the same day.
What is the cost of InstaLift?
The price of Silhouette InstaLift ranges by the number of facial regions treated. Silhouette InstaLift placement by a well-trained dermatologist or plastic surgeon should cost several thousand dollars due to cost of the material and expertise of the physician.
What are the possible side effects of InstaLift?
Side effects following InstaLift are few and typically mild in nature. There may be mild soreness in the areas of placement for a few days following InstaLift. Mild swelling and bruising is possible in the area of treatment – vitamins, supplements, and medications that thin the blood should be avoided for 7-10 days prior to InstaLift to minimize these complications. A very mild puckering may be present at the site of suture placement but resolves over several days. Individuals with an allergy to PLLA or PGA should avoid InstaLift placement or an inflammatory reaction may occur.
What is the InstaLift procedure like? How long does InstaLift take?
InstaLift takes about 30-45 minutes to complete with minimal discomfort and usually little to no downtime. Dr. Palm first creates a treatment map with white pencil markings on the face to indicate where the InstaLift sutures will be placed in the cheek and along the jawline. After marking is complete, local numbing is administered to where the suture will enter and exit the skin. After numbing is complete, Dr. Palm threads the InstaLift sutures under the skin surface. Afterwards, the InstaLift sutures and cones are locked in face by gentle massaging sweeps of the skin to create an immediate lifting effect. Results, however, continue to improve over approximately a six-month period as the suture and cones are naturally broken down and eliminated by the body, stimulating collagen in the areas of placement.
Does the InstaLift procedure hurt?
No. There is minimal discomfort associated with the Silhouette InstaLift procedure. Both the entry and exit points of the suture are numbed with lidocaine anesthetic. Furthermore, the sutures are placed in the fat, a soft tissue plane of the face that has a lack of pain nerves and therefore very little sensation to discomfort. The patient may feel a slight pulling sensation during suture placement, but pain should not be felt.
Should I avoid any activities following an InstaLift procedure?
It is generally recommended that patients refrain from hard chewing and strenuous activities for one week in order to avoid displacement of the locked InstaLift sutures. Eating hard or chewy foods, chewing gum, or facial massage should be avoided for 1 week. Makeup and topical skin care products may be used after 24 hours.
Can InstaLift be combined with other fillers or procedures?
Yes, Silhouette InstaLift may be used in conjunction with other laser or energy based devices, or as a complement to facial injectables for a more comprehensive approach to facial rejuvenation. However, Dr. Palm may advise separating treatments or completing them the same day depending on patient safety and ultimate outcomes. When the greatest lifting effect is desired, Silhouette InstaLift may be combined with other skin tightening treatments such as ultrasound-based Ultherapy or radiofrequency-based Exilis, Protégé Elite, or Infini. If facial volume is being addressed, InstaLift may be combined with proper facial balancing with injectables such as Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse, or Sculptra.