The inevitable aging process starts becoming visible in the early thirties. Aging makes the skin to thin as collagen and elastic fibers break down. The skin appears thinner with an increase in laxity and a concurrent loss of elasticity. In addition to sagging folds, tissue, and deep wrinkles begin appearing because of interior change in the skin’s support structure. Thanks to the rapid development of medical technology, an excellent and effective cosmetic technique without cuts using non-surgical procedures have been developed to help you reverse the signs of aging and keep a younger appearance. That is called Thread Lift.
What is the Biological Principle of a Face Thread Lift?
A thread lift, also known as face-lifting, is a minimally invasive aesthetic surgery. The way it works involves specifically designed multi-directional barbs evenly shared along the threads to uplift sagging tissues gently to suspend them through a special technique that allows the surgeon to realize a relaxed, fresh and yet natural appearance. Take for example that the thread is like steel and concrete, that lay a good foundation in building a house. The threads will support the drooping skin and restore natural contours of the face with a strong force under the skin. The thread dissolves after several months, but before then, they produce fibrosis which creates a new support scaffolding of collagen for the skin. A thread lift is used for the following improvements in the aging, sagging face and neck.
- Face Lift / Neck Lift
- Brow lifting
- Correction of Marionette lines
- Jowl correction
- Reposition of sagging cheeks
- Reduction of lip lines & lip shaping
- Adjustment of facial and asymmetric brows
Why Choose a Thread Lift?
Besides restoring the natural facial contours, other advantages include skin color, new skin firmness, texture, and tone.
The following are the main advantages:
- The procedure is safe, effective, requires no general anaesthesia, and has minimal downtime.
- The redness of the skin or rough pores can be regenerated to elastic skin.
- It stimulates epidermal growth factors and lightens the skin.
- It removes spots and freckles.
- It is reliable and does not react to rejection.
- It can remove wrinkles immediately without side effects and can last for at least two years.
- It is instant micro-plastic surgery that can be referred to as a lunch-time procedure. It involves no incisions, stitches, bruises, scars, or bandages. After the surgery, a majority of the patients can return to work and light exercise the following day. And within 1 to 2 weeks of post-treatment, they can do vigorous exercise.
How Many Types of Threads are there and What are Their Effects?
With regards to the types of implanted threads, it depends on the treatment spot and the kind of effect you want to achieve. In theory, types of threads can be divided into these three categories:
Cog threads have barbs which hook onto the skin to provide support and lift the sagging tissue. They can come as either mono-directional or bi-directional, mainly for loose and drooping skin, sagging eyebrows, flat nose, and turkey neck, creating a V-shaped face.
Screw threads have one or two intertwined threads around the needle. They provide good volume restoration to sunken areas like temples, cheek, and forehead. They smoothen smile lines and crow’s feet.
Without barbs, mono threads are smooth and are fixed to a degree on the patient’s scalp or face. They are placed superficially and can regenerate collagen to tighten the skin, refine pores, and improve skin texture.
Which Parts of Skin are Suitable for a Thread Lift?
Here are some parts of the skin that can be improved through thread lifts:
- Drooping breast, linear horizontal neck wrinkles, stretch marks, and so on.
- Smile lines, marionette lines, sunken temples, and so on.
- Periorbital wrinkles and perioral wrinkles. The skin around eyes and lips are very delicate and sensitive, so the mono threads are suitable to place in SMAS.
Who is Suitable for a Thread Lift?
- Those who are younger but have chubby cheeks and less elasticity
- Those with a square-jaw image
- Those who are concerned about their scars
- Those who are running out of time to have surgical wrinkle removal
- Those who are concerned about their deep nasolabial folds and droopy cheeks that make their appearance older.
The ideal candidates for an effective thread facelift are those between 30 and 60 years old with a relatively good skin tone. A majority are starting to witness sagging skin on the neck or face, but their condition does not involve excessive loose skin or areas on the face that need further severe facelift surgery. In case the signs of aging are somewhat minimal, going for a thread lift can be an ideal cosmetic enhancement to make while eluding facelift scarring as well as other potential side effects, that can sometimes occur as a result of severe surgical procedures.
Will the Number of Threads Affect the Final Results?
Of course, there is a huge difference between 1 and 10 implanted threads. It is necessary to communicate well with your doctor before the surgery. The doctor will design a set of proper plans for the number of threads and treatment spots required according to your skin condition and the desired effect. A proper amount of threads when placed correctly generates satisfactory results and avoids skin laxity or facial stiffness.
How Long Will the Effects of a Thread Lift Last?
Although the threads will be completely absorbed into the body within 180 ~ 240 days by hydrolysis. Due to the fibrotic reaction caused by the threads, the lifting and stretching action will continue even after the threads have been resorbed. The process of thread breakdown produces molecules of small molecular weight, which subsequently induce the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid by the skin. According to clinical experience and observations, the effect can last for 2-3 years on average. If you pay more attention to skin care in daily life, you can maintain the effect for a longer time!
What are the likely Side Effects and Complications?
Like most medical procedures, there are possible risks and side effects that come with a thread lift. They may include the following:
- Pain or discomfort in the course and after the procedure
- Risk of infection
- Bruising and swelling
- Facial asymmetry
- Incision and dimpling
- Thread migration
- Thread breakage
Another controversial issue is that the procedure may be handled by a doctor who lacks proper qualifications and professional skills. So please make sure to choose a board-certified dermatologist or licensed cosmetics expert.
What is a Special Attention Post-Procedure?
- There may be symptoms of mild redness, swelling, or bruising after the surgery. Ice packing is recommended within 48 hours, and warm packing is helpful after 3 days of the surgery;
- Avoid excessive facial expressions and chewing of food within one week. Taking in liquid or semi-liquid food is recommended;
- Avoid direct sunlight and apply SPF 30 to prevent PIH;
- Avoid applying makeup within 24 hours and apply a chemical-free moisturizer;
- Gently wash the face with lukewarm water and avoid rubbing or massaging your face for 2 weeks;
- Avoid strenuous physical activity for 7 days;
- Avoid drinking and smoking for at least 4 weeks as they will cause the wound to heal slowly;
- Avoid exposure to Radio Frequency (RF) or heat-producing device (IPL,laser, etc.) treatments on the inserted area of the thread for at least 2 weeks;
- Sleep face-up in an elevated position and avoid lying on your side and pressing your face;
- Avoid irritating diets like seafood, spicy food, and coffee.
How to Evaluate a Thread Lift Surgery
A thread lift is a minimally invasive procedure which uses special-designed threads to deal with drooping skin and restore natural facial contours under the skin. Modern threads can be absorbed into the body within several months. They promote collagen formation. The effect of a thread lift will last for 2- 3 years and you can achieve the expected results if you consult a board-certified specialist and maintain the good results through regular visits to your doctor for post-thread lift procedures. Unlike a surgical facelift, the results are more subtle and with a natural appearance. You don’t have to do the surgery in a hospital that will take so much time to recover. The surgery only takes 30-60 minutes, and you can return home after that and go to office the next day. However, like other surgical operations, some risks, possible complications and side effects may happen. You need to communicate with your professional dermatologist in detail before the surgery and pay attention to after-care post-procedures.
1. Will it be unbearably painful if I consider the surgery?
Through local anesthesia, you will be lightly sedated, and the face will be numbed. You will be awake during the surgery but relaxed and feeling little to no pain; similar to what happens when one receives implanted fillers in the dermatologist’s office. You may feel strange when the threads are moving under your skin, and the numbing injection may cause great discomfort according to several patients’ treatment experience.
2. How is the whole procedure performed?
It is not a major surgery and most commonly performed at a physician’s office under local anesthesia. There may be slight variations in the details of the procedure considering the type of threads being used and what you wish to achieve. The general procedure is something along these lines:
a- As per the desired effect you wish to achieve with the procedure, a doctor will outline the projected spots on your face with a pencil or marker.
b- The skin around the projected spots will be disinfected, and injectable local anesthesia is then applied to numb the area. Under anesthesia, you won’t feel pain when the thread is being inserted into your skin. In order to have a less painful feeling during the whole process, you may need multiple injections.
c- After injecting the anesthesia, a long syringe needle or cannula that holds the thread is inserted into the skin at the point of entry. The entry point may be near the ears or scalp for such areas are concealed and unremarkable.
d- The needle holding the thread under the skin is removed to reach the endpoint under the guidance of the predetermined lines.
e- Each thread is operated repeatedly following those two essential steps.
f- The whole procedure of the treatment is within 30-60 minutes. It is a real lunch-time facelift, and there is minimal downtime. You can return home after the surgery and resume normal activities the next day.
3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the thread lift?
A thread lift is a minimally invasive aesthetic surgery which is commonly performed in a physician’s office under local anesthesia. The way how it works is that the threads or sutures made from materials used in surgery to close wounds inserted under the right place to tighten and lift loose or droopy areas in various parts of the face and body. The procedure can help to reduce the effects of gravity and ageing, rejuvenate the sagging skin, and maintain a younger look.
Pros and cons for your consideration:
- Minimal downtime
- Immediate visible effects after surgery
- No cuts and dramatic results like a surgical facelift
- Only local anesthesia required
- Cheaper than traditional a facelift
- Moderate and limited improvement
- The results can only last for 2-3 years
- Its ideal effects rely on constant repeated post-procedure treatments
- Not everyone is eligible for the surgery
4. How long will it take to achieve the desired result?
The result is visible immediately after the surgery. You can actually feel your face being pulled back to the right position, and as time goes by, the results get better. There may be instances of swelling after the procedure but it usually subsides within one week. You can see a younger and more firm skin from 2 to 3 months.
5. Will a thread lift cause stiffness?
Just like an excessive injection of hyaluronic acid, if threads inserted exceed the required number, the results may look strange and weird. Take cog threads for example; the distance between each thread should be reasonably arranged, and different effects will be achieved based on different distances. A blind desire to firm skin regardless of the proper number and distance of threads buried under the skin may lead to edema, redness and other problems, making the facial expression stiff and unnatural.
6. What kind of people are not suitable for a thread lift?
- Not everyone is suitable for a thread lift. Groups with the following are unsuitable:
- Thin skin and a subcutaneous fat content that either is too much or too little
- Too much wrinkles and severe droopy skin
- Eczema or inflammation on the face
- Expectations for dramatic effects like from a surgical face lift
- Severe systemic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease
- Those who are taking anticoagulant drugs
- Those with a hyperplastic scar
7. What is the cost?
The cost is based on the areas of the face that are treated and the number of threads and type that is used. The level of experience your dermatologist has and even your location are all factors that affect the overall cost. For example, a full face lift could include threads in the forehead, eyebrows, jowls, cheeks, jawline, and neck, whereas a mini-lift may only include a few threads in the eyebrows. The cost generally ranges from $1500 to $8000.