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What Is a Cat Eye Thread Lift? Procedure and Duration

Some people are born with gracefully arched eyebrows and naturally upturned corners of the eye. It’s an alluring, even mysterious eye shape shared by some of the biggest names in fashion and entertainment.

For the rest of us, a temporary and minimally invasive face lift procedure delivers similar results. At least for a few months.

This procedure is called a cat eye thread lift, or cat eye lift. It’s so named because it produces a “feline” effect that gently widens the eyes and lifts the brows. The effect is subtle enough that there’s room for interpretation — some prefer “fox eye lift”. 

Whatever you call it, this outpatient procedure is an alternative to more complicated, costly, and risky surgical brow lifts. Some patients prefer it to injectable treatments like Botox and dermal fillers as well.

What Is a Cat Eye Lift?

A cat eye lift is an in-office outpatient procedure typically performed with local anesthesia only. It involves inserting dissolvable PDO threads (polydioxanone) into the brow and drawing the brows outward to achieve a wider, more mysterious look around the eyes. 

The procedure is similar to getting stitches for a minor wound. In fact, PDO threads are one of three types of dissolvable threads used as sutures in the human body. They’ve been in use since the 1980s and are regarded as safe.

How the Cat Eye Lift Works

When the threads are inserted, the PDO material spurs your body to produce more collagen and elastin. This increases skin volume and the appearance of fullness in the brow and improves definition around your eyes’ outer corners. 

PDO threads don’t contain collagen, hyaluronic acid, or synthetic medications. Their mere presence is enough to stimulate your own collagen and produce that unmistakable lifted effect.

What to Expect From Cat Eye Procedures

A cat eye lift is a minimally invasive nonsurgical procedure that typically takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete. Results become evident within hours and can be dramatic in the weeks following the procedure. Over a period of months, the effects gradually lessen until the brows and eye corners return to their preexisting shape. 

Like other minimally invasive procedures of the face and neck, a cat eye lift is relatively inexpensive and does not require an overnight stay in the hospital. Recovery is quick. Most patients can fully resume normal activity within two days of the procedure. 

The biggest drawback of a cat eye lift is its temporary nature. While retention time varies from patient to patient, PDO threads are designed to dissolve over time. Patients should expect effects to wane after a few months and fade completely after about a year. At that point, patients can repeat the procedure or opt for other treatments that produce similar effects.

Alternatives to Cat Eye Lifts

A cat eye lift is the best way to temporarily achieve a signature lifted effect of the eyes and brows without plastic surgery. However, there are alternatives for patients who’d prefer to try something else, either before or after trying an eye lift for the first time:

  • Botulinum toxin injections (Botox and competitors), which can temporarily freeze the muscles around the brow and produce a wider, lifted effect around the eyes.
  • Hyaluronic acid fillers, which stimulate collagen production and temporarily increase fullness and plumpness.
  • Other types of dermal fillers, which may last longer than the 6 to 12 months typical of Botox, hyaluronic acid fillers, and PDO thread lifts.