A Non-Surgical Facelift Is Now an Option in the US

See the results on a 59-year-old grandmother.

ByABC News
March 3, 2016, 10:46 AM

— -- Phyliss Cunningham is an energetic and active grandmother who wants to look as young as she feels.

“I don’t like the look of my face,” Cunningham, 59, told ABC News. “It needs a little pumping up or pulling back ... just to give me a lift."

The New Jersey resident was hesitant to undergo the surgery required for a facelift but jumped at the chance to undergo a non-surgical facelift, an option that is newly available in the United States.

The FDA cleared, non-surgical facelift is done with no general anesthesia and requires no incisions.

Dr. Julius Few, a board-certified plastic surgeon, is one of just a handful of U.S. surgeons cleared to perform the procedure, called Silhouette Instalift.

“You get to see the effect right away, but without the recovery time,” Few told ABC News.

Cunningham underwent the Silhouette Instalift last month.

The procedure involves numbing the face and then inserting a series of tiny threaded biodegradable cones in and around the cheeks and jawline.

The cones are made of the same material as medical stitches and work to gently tighten the skin.

Cunningham said she did not feel anything during the approximately 30-minute procedure. Less than half an hour after it was complete, she saw a noticeable change.

“There’s nothing hanging here,” she said. "I look gorgeous and I love it.”

Few says the results of the Silhouette Instalift last for around 18 months. The cost of the procedure starts at $3,000, a fraction of the cost of a surgical facelift.

Potential side effects of the Silhouette Instalift include swelling, nerve damage and a lopsided face.

"Anytime you put a needle through the skin, you can have a small risk of infection," Dr. Jen Ashton, ABC News Chief Women's Health Correspondent, said of potential complications from the procedure.

"There are major nerves and blood vessels in the face," said Ashton, a practicing Ob-Gyn. "If you hit one of those you can have damage or bleeding."

Ashton said the new technology used in the Silhouette Instalift are the cones that are threaded in and around the cheeks and jawline via a monofilament material.

"These cones, or knots, in this material are thought to stimulate an inflammatory response which then triggers collagen production," she said.

Ashton added that other options for stimulating collagen for a younger look include prescription retinoid creams and laser treatments. When it comes to comparing the Silhouette Instalift to a surgical facelift, Ashton described it as "comparing apples to oranges."

"Surgical facelift is really the gold standard but, again, it might not be right for every woman or man," Ashton said.

"This might be right for one person," she said of the Silhouette Instalift. "It’s all about selecting the right patient candidate."