MIAMI – Lifting the lower face using minimally invasive barbed sutures can yield rejuvenation results that last 12-18 months, providing an option for patients who do not wish to undergo full facelift surgery, according to a presentation at ODAC 2017.
“We have something new in our toolbox. The Silhouette InstaLift is a “good new thing to consider adding to your practice. It works really nice for me in combination with other facial rejuvenation strategies,” said Susan Weinkle, MD, a private practice Mohs surgeon and aesthetic dermatologist in Bradenton, Fla.
“Now we can reposition the skin. It works quite nicely in skin of color also,” Dr. Weinkle said during a lecture and live demonstration at the Orlando Dermatology Aesthetic and Clinical Conference.
Begin by marking where on the patient’s face you intend to place the sutures. The proper vector is a straight lift back toward the upper ear in many cases. Also, take a photo before you start, so you know the location of the sutures in case the patient comes back for more, Dr. Weinkle recommended.
“What I like to do next is to sit the patient up and look at them head-on,” Dr. Weinkle said. “It helps to tweak the placement of the suture markings.” If a patient’s face appears asymmetrical, the dermatologist can place more sutures on one side than the other. Also, when there are neck issues, you can put an exit point for the sutures 1.5 cm below the mandible, she added.
Be patient after you anesthetize the entry and exit points because the epinephrine does not work immediately, Dr. Weinkle advised.
She does not anesthetize along the entire suture tract because the aim is to thread the sutures through the subcutaneous tissue. “You do not want to anesthetize the tract area between entry and exit points. If the patient feels it, you’re probably too superficial and you’re in the dermis.”
The next step is using an 18G needle to form an entry point for the 23G needle. “Pinch the skin, insert and stretch the skin just a bit. If you don’t pinch at the entry point, the cones can be difficult to pop in.” Dr. Weinkle said. Also, if you establish all entry points before inserting the sutures, it can save time.
Dr. Weinkle generally uses a number 8 InstaLift suture, but it also comes in sizes 12 and 16. After you open the package, gently pull the suture to tighten the knots between the cones. “Don’t pull hard from both ends – you can break the suture.”
When inserting the long needle to place the suture, it’s “almost like playing the violin with a bow.” As the clinician advances along tract line, he or she should run the needle between thumb and forefinger to check the positioning. Once the suture is placed and the needle removed, pull medially on the suture until the cones audibly “pop” – they are self anchoring. “I’ve seen some people break the sutures. You can pull them out and start again,” she noted.
“InstaLift is a bit of a misnomer,” Dr. Weinkle said. “Fibroblast stimulation and collagen improves final result over the next 2-3 months.” Improvements can last 12-18 months – it’s not permanent. “I think I would make a great candidate,” she joked. “Unfortunately, this is one thing I cannot do myself.”
There is minimal bruising after the procedure in Dr. Weinkle’s experience. Potential complications include swelling, dimpling at entry points, misplacement, and ecchymosis.
Dr. Weinkle is a consultant and principal investigator for Sinclair Pharma, manufacturer of InstaLift.