A surgical facelift is no longer the only option for lifting and contouring a face. Besides the use of neuromodulators to
relax hyperactive muscles and dermal fillers to plump up lost volume, skin tightening lasers and radio-frequency
treatments are also great ways to fight the effects of gravity and collagen degeneration.
Thread lifts, are also known as suture lifts, thread lifts involve the use of threads or sutures made from the same
materials used in surgery to close wounds. When placed under the skin, they can be used to tighten and volumize areas
of the skin than are loose or sagging. Much like suspension cables, they are designed to hold up the skin in place, and
provide a supportive structure that defies the effects of gravity and aging.
Thread lifts are a convenient “lunchtime” facial rejuvenation alternative that requires no general anesthesia, hospitalization
or long recovery, and gives immediate results that continue to improve up to 2 -4 months after the procedure. They can
be performed in various areas of the face and body, to target specific problem areas, or used to give an overall facial
rejuvenation from the brows to the neck area.
While thread lifts are not a replacement for a full face lift where excess skin needs to be removed, they are an ideal option
for those who want a natural yet unmistakable improvement, without all the stress and worries of a full surgical procedure.
What can thread lifting do?
Thread lifts can be a great way to rejuvenate and restore youthful contours to areas such as the brows, cheeks, jowls
and the neck area. They can also be used to give youthful tone to areas on the body such as the breasts, buttocks and
upper arms, places that are prone to sagging and loss of volume due to weight loss, poor muscle tone, or the aging
process. Vaginal threads are also available that help to tighten the perineal muscle and vaginal passage, for a functional
and aesthetic improvement.
Each suture or thread has cones or knots that help to hold lifted skin in place. Made of absorbable materials similar to
those used in cardiovascular and ophthalmic surgeries, the sutures are designed to have imbedded cones or hooks that
work to stimulate collagen production while holding the thread in place.
The benefits of a thread lift include shaping and lifting, and can give dramatic results that last from 18 months up to 5 years,
depending on the type of thread used. Thread lifts are a good option for those aged 30 to 60 years, for whom gentle
sagging may be apparent, but collagen deposits are still enough for regeneration. Younger patients who want to improve
their facial contours, or those with facial asymmetry may also consider this treatment.
How is a thread lift performed?
While techniques vary according to a patient’s specific needs, the doctor’s training, and the type of threads used, thread
lifting generally involves the use of a thread that is inserted under the skin in a way that helps the skin be lifted.
Before a thread is inserted, markings are made to determine the proper point of entry, directional vectors an exit point.
Depending on the type of thread (single direction or bi-directional, for example) the entry points will vary.
Some techniques require a small incision to be made at the entry point, while the newest methods need only a puncture
wound to be created with a large gauge needle. A thread is then inserted along the previously marked lines. Once
tightened, the thread’s cones or hooks help to hold the skin in a lifted position. Areas such as the cheeks may need
multiple threads or a looping thread to plump up the cheek fat for a youthful, volumised result. The neck area is usually
supported with laced sutures that lock the skin to the lower jaw area to give a contoured neckline.
The results are immediately visible and continue to improve in the next 2 -4 months as collagen remodeling takes effect.
The threads are invisible, although can sometimes be palpated (felt with the fingers) in certain areas. Some patients feel
minimal discomfort such as a slight ache or sensation while chewing or smiling, but this fades within the first week. Slight
dimpling, bruising, and swelling is normal within the first few days, but improve rapidly as the sutures are absorbed. The
incisions made for the entry and exit points are tiny and heal without unsightly stitches.
Areas which can be treated include:
- Brows – brow line lifting
- Cheeks – cheek fat repositioning contouring
- Nasal flare – correct for widely flared nostrils and improve nasal shape
- Nasolabial folds – lift and tighten cheek contours to reduce nasolabial folds
- Lips – improve lip shape and contours
- Jowls – lift lower jaw area to improve and tighten jowl shape and contour
- Neckline – reduce turkey neck effect and return youthful contours to neckline