A thread lift is a type of procedure where temporary sutures are used to produce a subtle but visible "lift" in facial skin. Rather than remove the patient's loose facial skin surgically, the medical doctor simply stitches up parts of it. The threads are made from polylactic acid, a naturally occurring substance that has been used in medicine, which are then inserted into the subcutaneous tissue, 5mm underneath the skin’s surface. This has the effect of pulling the skin back slightly and thereby lifting and tightening the face. In addition to being ideal for lifting the skin, threads combat aging in another way: by provoking the body's natural healing response, causing the body to send large surges of collagen to the treated areas because the body will want to "heal" and expel the sutures. The body is biologically programmed to react this way whenever it senses any foreign object present within the dermis. As the threads placed under the skin during a thread lift are so small, the patient will not feel their sutures at all once the skin has healed around them.
What to expect
Compared to surgical facelifts, thread lifts are low risk, and there is virtually no risk of scarring, severe bruising, bleeding or other complications after having a thread lift, so recovery time is much reduced. With a facelift surgery, patient must be heavily sedated and most will also require round-the-clock assistance from a caretaker for at least three days after the surgery. Facelifts take one to two weeks to heal. Thread lifts can be performed under local anesthesia, so patients can drive themselves home after the procedure. Some will experience a little soreness, redness and swelling after a thread lift, so most can resume work immediately. Strong pain-relieving medication is also seldom needed. But in rare cases, patients may experience irritation, infection or their sutures becoming visible under their skin. If this occurs, however, the sutures can simply be removed and the patient's face will return to its prior state.
Although thread lift recovery is not particularly intensive, patients are advised to take minor precautions while healing. Make sure that you don't rub your face vigorously and be as gentle as possible during cleansing or applying moisturizer for at least a week. You should also try to prop your head up slightly so that you don't roll over directly onto your face while sleeping.
Advantageous though thread lifts are, it's important to manage realistic expectations for this procedure. Thread lifts will generally only lift the face by a few millimeters; as such, they create a subtler and natural looking result than facelifts. You will first see an instant 1-2cm lift created by the threads. Then six to eight weeks after your treatment, you will notice a rejuvenating effect due to increased production of collagen, which is caused by the breakdown of the thread. The threads are completely biodegradable and will be safely absorbed by the body over 10 to 11 months.
The ideal thread lift candidate is usually in his or her late thirties to early fifties, whereas most patients over the age of about 55 will benefit more from facelift surgery. Thread lifts can, however, provide a facelift alternative for older patients who are unable to have surgery for medical reasons. As thread lifts can be performed under local anesthesia, those with age-related conditions that make them ineligible for surgery (like high blood pressure, type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease) can safely opt for this treatment. If you have any outstanding health conditions, make sure to talk to your doctor about whether or not a thread lift might be suitable for you.
It's important to understand that while no lifting technique can produce permanent results, facelift surgery will usually produce longer lasting results than a thread lift. The results of facelift surgery can last up to a decade, whereas a thread lift will generally last from one to three years. Thread lifts can be repeated once their old sutures are absorbed by the body.
What conditions can thread lifts treat?
Hollow cheeks – loss of volume from the cheeks
Jowls – loose jowls that form around the jawline to create the effect of excess skin
Sagging cheeks – mild to moderate sagging of cheeks
Deep wrinkles – folds and lines around the nose and chin caused by slipping fat pads in the face due to aging