Instasnatching - Dr. Caughlin's Face Contouring Treatments For The Perfect Selfie

Facial fillers, threads & toxins!

I call these things adjuncts to cheek sculpting procedures. Adjuncts and the gateway to facial plastic surgery

If you have followed me at all at this point, you have heard my talks on peaks and valleys to create shadows and curves. 

The key here is that it’s all about contours. Humans have been contouring their faces for 1000’s of years from war paint to blush. We know what we like. I am going to describe how I feel each of the three above allows us to further sculpt and shape someone’s face. For the record, these can be combined with surgery, before surgery, instead of surgery or done after surgery. Every patient has their own goals and approach in their head. After a thorough facial analysis and discussion the tailor made plan is built as a team in my practice. Me, the patient and oftentimes my nurses.

Facial contouring fillers for that perfect "instasnatched" look

Chicago facial contouring fillers and contouring of the face for the perfect selfie shot

Fillers have revolutionized the world of plastic surgery. Many aspects of aging are due to focal and predicted fat and soft tissue atrophy and wear and tear. With fillers we are able to re-volumize and literally turn back time in some patients. A compartmentalization happens with age when the cheek becomes defined form the eye which becomes defined from the temple. In an aged person these subunits are easily identified. In a young person the transitions are harder to find. The smoothening that is accomplished with fillers is impressive. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s beautiful in many respects but the fact that it can be done as an out-patient procedure with minimal to no downtime is outstanding. It is what has made these fillers so sexy. They are also temporary, which is good and bad. I tell most patients that the good and bad part of fillers is the same. They are temporary and they are on the subtle side. In most patients that is the way to change your face. It’s the safe way and it’s the natural way. The temporary factor adds an aspect of play to fillers. You can try them. You can see if it is what you like. We also have the antidote to most fillers and can erase them if you are completely happy. How cool is that?

Facial aging is just one aspect that facial fillers can help with. 

I have created or at least taken with stride the field of facial sculpting in the younger population that wants to enhance the beauty they already have. Fillers are able to do this wonderfully. It is often that this group of patient has nice cheekbones. They have a nice jawline. They just want a better one. A higher cheekbone or a sharper jawline. Volumization with fillers is great at accomplishing this. I have studied volume distribution now for over 10 years. It is a passion of mine and I am learning more and more that precise changes in volume can be powerful. It is not so much about how much fat is removed or how much filler is placed but that it is done in a purposeful manner. This portion of the facial plastic surgery field is in it’s infancy and the instasnatched lifestyle is coming!

Fillers seem easy. Why don’t more people inject fillers? What qualifications need to be obtained prior to injecting fillers? These are complicated questions. I know both very good injectors that are nurses and very bad injectors that have multiple board certifications as MD’s. That being said, the more knowledge someone has the more thought that goes into a procedure. It is my opinion that the better one appreciates anatomy the better they will be at injecting. That is both from an outcome perspective and most definitely from a safety perspective. It’s all about dedication. If the injector is dedicated to creating good outcomes safely, I am on board with that.

Facial Threads: The good, the bad, the ugly

Instasnatched - threads fillers and contouring of the face for the perfect selfie

Threads get a bad wrap. It is my opinion that is because of the clinicians deploying them. Whenever I get an international consult that really wants to come visit but for whatever reason cannot, I say to them, “Find a surgeon you trust and be clear with your goals. If that is accomplished things should fall in line”. That really is the truth to so many aspects of plastic surgery but I think it applies to threads even more. Most of the time when people are unhappy with threads they were either over promised or the threads were done incorrectly. Both scenarios are bad. Both are solved be clear goals and an honest surgeon/injector. If they know what you want and threads cannot accomplish this then they would not recommend that. They would give you other options such as fillers, lasers or surgery. That is the bad.
The good aspects of threads is they are biostimulators (build collagen), they are subtle, along the line of fillers, and they have essentially no downtime. I love them for rigid volume in the upper third of the face. I also love them to help further define a jawline. Think about it. These are solid rods of essentially filler material that can help really snatch a jawline. They are relatively easy to have done and they have no downtime. I predict threads will make a huge comeback as the overly plumped filler look will fall out of favor.

The ugly aspect of threads is again that much like fillers they must be done safely. I have seen some horror stories with threads. I have actually had to cut out a few threads from a woman’s face that were done elsewhere likely with an unsterile technique. These are essentially implants and need to be treated as such.


Botox, Dysport, Newtox, Xeomin, Myobloc and even some new ones on the horizon we have lots of options. These drugs work by blocking the communication from the nerves to the muscles. This allows us to soften the muscles. Muscles create creases or wrinkles that are perpendicular to the line of contraction. The orbicularis oculi muscle is a radial sphincter so it makes perpendicular folds radiating out of the eye ie crows feet. That is one use of these toxins. Again in this younger sculpting population we are able to use them to balance baseline muscle tone. There are muscles that pull and flatten the brow and there are muscles that lift and arch the brow. If we are able to weaken the muscles that pull the brow down while allowing the brow elevators to stay active bingo, toxin brow lift and shaping!

Back to my original analogy of peaks and valleys for shadows and curves. I cannot stress enough that it is not the amount of fat removed or the amount of threads, fillers or toxins deployed. It is about using these maneuvers properly and efficiently based on science and anatomy.

If you want the best, come to the best.

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