A Look into the World of Minimally-Invasive Surgical Facelift Alternatives

Collagen production in our bodies gradually slows when we hit our mid-to-late 20s and naturally, our skin begins to droop and sag. Ageing and deceased skin laxity also often manifest as wrinkles, fine lines and a double chin. We cannot outrun Father Time, but we can reverse certain signs of ageing.

Thankfully, we are in the advent of aesthetic technology where non-invasive “lunchtime treatments” can address these cosmetic concerns and help us attain a more youthful-looking face – which is great for those who do not like the idea of going under the knife!

Imagine being able to pop in for a doctor’s visit during your office lunch hour and leaving looking refreshed! There are many advantages to opting for non-surgical facelifts. They do not require open surgery; they are quick and they involve little to no discomfort. Plus, the impermanence of these procedures means we have the option of “tweaking” or trying out different looks.

In fact, we are spoilt for choice. Given the number of options available, how do we know what works best for our saggy skin issues? Dr Lee Mun Heng, Medical Director of Cambridge Medical Group, sheds light on four medical-grade treatments that can help lift and contour the face, while restoring our skin’s youth.


For a more dramatic lift, the Face Thread Lift, also known as a “lunchtime facelift”, would be the ideal go-to procedure. This treatment is designed to give you a natural-looking lift safely and effectively, with minimum downtime and minor discomfort.

The procedure involves the use of ultra-thin, biocompatible Polydioxanone (PDO) threads that are strategically placed by your doctor around areas such as the corners of your eyes, forehead and jawline to lift the face, create desired contours, and attain the coveted V-shape.

Another added effect is that these PDO threads stimulate collagen production, tightening the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles – an issue traditional facelifts cannot address.

“The Face Thread Lift is especially useful in lifting the lower areas of the face to target the problems that other non-invasive procedures cannot treat, such as marionette lines, and deep wrinkles and folds”, commented Dr Lee.

Another plus point of a Face Thread Lift is that results are quite instantaneous, unlike energy-based devices that require time or several sessions to take effect, with results that gradually improve over time.

Best suited for: Patients experiencing mild to moderate amounts of skin laxity. Patients in their 20-30s can opt for Face Thread Lifts for the purpose of shaping, while those above their 30s can choose this treatment for improving laxity and skin lifting.


This lunchtime treatment utilises medical-grade High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) to tighten the skin, and promote collagen and elastin regneration to achieve rejuvenated skin and reduced skin laxity.

Ultrasonic energy is shot through layers of the skin under the epidermis and dermis, reaching the SMAS (Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System) layer under the fat. This makes it an effective, non-surgical face and neck lift treatment. This treatment can help to:

  • Lift the jowl
  • Lift the eyebrows
  • Reduce pore size
  • Tighten skin
  • Reduce nasolabial folds
  • Lift the face
  • Reduce double chin
  • Smoothen neck

Highly popular in South Korea, the Doublo Gold HIFU is an upgraded version of its HIFU treatment predecessor – with technology that administers a faster shot speed of 300 shots per 8 minutes with its two-way round shooting technique, thus improving efficacy and halving the time needed to complete the procedure.

The treatment takes about 8-10 minutes for a full-face procedure, and most patients need just two sessions – spaced four to six months apart – in a year.

Best suited for: Patients above 30 years old with mild to moderate skin laxity.


The Airjet Facelift is a good alternative for those who are averse to heat-based devices. This needleless and contactless treatment uses kinetic energy to transdermally deliver a cocktail of enzymes in the form of an “energy bullet” to help improve facial skin laxity and elasticity.

The method of delivery also stimulates collagen production and thickens the skin layer, lifting saggy areas and correcting imperfections like wrinkles and fine lines. Its benefits include:

  • Non-surgical face tightening
  • Anti-ageing of the neck and hands
  • Reducing wrinkles and fine lines
  • Acne scar removal: Ice pick, Boxcar, Rolling, Hypertrophic

Best suited for: Young patients (mid 20s-40s) with thin and soft skin.


The Fotona 4D Facelift is a 4-step laser technology that lifts sagging skin, while strengthening skin tone and enhancing the facial structure for a more V-shaped jawline. The immediate outcome of this treatment is increased collagen production, which, in turn, improves skin elasticity, and smoothens wrinkles and fine lines.

This treatment is also exceptionally good for tightening the buccal fat area with its patented SMOOTHLIFT™ mode for a more defined and shapely face. Other benefits include:

  • Skin smoothening
  • Stimulating collagen growth
  • Reducing fine lines and pores
  • Evening out skin tone
  • Skin tightening
  • Wrinkle reduction

Best suited for: Patients who suffer from sagging skin, wrinkles, loss of volume, obvious age spots, loss of firm skin, nasolabial folds, uneven tone and texture.


“Ultimately, it all depends on finding a risk-reward ratio that you’re comfortable with,” said Dr Lee. Many patients prefer treatments with less risk of complications and shorter downtimes, as opposed to more invasive procedures.

For example, a surgical facelift might have you out of action for weeks, while a lunchtime treatment can have you back in the office within an hour. Of course, the trade-off is that the effects can be more subtle.

Dr Lee added: “There’s no such thing as the ‘best’ treatment, but rather a treatment best suited to you based on your individual needs – this is why it’s important to find the right expert who can address both your desires and concerns.

Dr Lee Mun Heng is driven by a passion for helping his patients look their best. With more than 10 years of medical aesthetics experience and a graduate of the world-renowned University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, Dr Lee aims to draw out one’s natural beauty through the application of safe, minimally invasive and holistic procedures. He is also a key opinion leader in the realm of aesthetic technology, often travelling the world to seek out the latest and most effective treatments.