A thread lift is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to lifting and tightening the skin of the face and neck, giving a more youthful appearance.
It is hard to look yourself in the mirror and start noticing a little wrinkle here and there. Before you know it, you get jowls, drooping cheeks, and low self-esteem. Of course, we all know that the aging process is something natural, and we must accept it. But there is nothing wrong with wanting to age gracefully and trying to hold on a little longer to your younger self.
Until recently, the only way to put a stop to aging signs and sagging skin problems was facelift surgery. Also, there are non-invasive treatments that can give you a skin-tightening effect and erase fine lines and wrinkles.
However, you might find yourself in a sort of “in-between” where you are not wrinkled enough to consider facelift surgery, but non-invasive options might be a little ineffective. If you’re in this group, you’ll be glad to know that the thread lift is a good option that fills in the gap between facelift surgery and non-invasive facial rejuvenation.
Typically performed on the face and known as a non-surgical facelift, a thread lift is an alternative to a traditional facelift or neck lift, which are more invasive procedures.
Recently, this technique has been used on other areas of the body (off label-use), including the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, breasts, and waistline. However, the thread facelift is still the most common thread lift procedure.
So, are you feeling a little curious? Want to undergo an effective, safe, and painless procedure that could turn back the clock five years or more? Keep reading.
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The threads used in this procedure are made from surgical-grade material and are the key to the treatment’s success. PDO (polydioxanone) are the most common. They are specially designed for safe re-absorption by the body after a period of time. They remain in place for up to six months and then slowly dissolve, leaving no trace behind.
The length, shape, and thickness of PDO threads are crucial to the result of the thread lift as they all serve a unique purpose.
More than one type may be used in a PDO thread lift treatment, depending on the desired cosmetic goals and the preference of the administering practitioner. There are barbed sutures, which come with little cones along their length that anchor to the soft tissues under the skin. They are ideal for gathering skin, therefore producing a more lifting effect.
Barbed sutures are inserted near the hairline to gently pull back the skin and lift the cheeks and jowls in a graceful manner. On the other hand, there are straight or curved smooth sutures. Smooth sutures, without cones, produce less of a lift, but they tighten the skin and are excellent for collagen stimulation.
Your doctor may place smooth sutures in strategic locations around your face (such as along the brows or the corner of the mouth) to target common problem areas where the signs of aging become particularly apparent.
How Does a Thread Lift Work?
Threads are inserted under the skin and perform several functions.
1: Primarily, they lift sagging skin. This is carried out mechanically by the practitioner. The threads have invisible barbs or cones that anchor to the underlying tissues below the skin. When they are pulled, they lift the skin to minimize the signs of aging.
2: The barbed threads trigger the body’s healing response. This is because the body detects them under the skin, and even though they are not causing injury, they stimulate collagen production in the affected area.
Collagen forms a supporting matrix under the skin that stops skin sagging and restores elasticity for a more youthful appearance. Hence, patients will notice a slow and steady improvement in their skin’s firmness and tone over time.
3: Collagen production has a thickening and tightening effect on the connective layers in the skin. Consequently, this leads to fat tissues becoming less visible beneath the strengthened dermis layer of the skin.
Hence, a thread lift provides ongoing and progressive rejuvenation of your facial complexion, including a slimming effect.
What Areas Can Benefit from a Thread Facelift?
Drooping skin on the face and neck, fine lines, and wrinkles can all be improved with a thread lift, as well as:
- Under-eye area
- Nasojugal groove
- Nasolabial folds
- Crow’s feet
- Marionette lines
Who is a Suitable Candidate for a Thread Lift?
Thread lift can offer subtle changes to the signs of aging and will benefit individuals with mild to moderate rather than severe sagging.
The procedure has been used since the 1990s. Due to its non-invasive nature, it is becoming increasingly popular in the field of anti-aging treatments.
For those who feel a surgical facelift is too risky because of medical or anaesthesia concerns, a thread lift is considered a safe and effective alternative.
Typically, suitable candidates for the treatment are in good health in the mid-30s to mid-50s age group. Most patients over 55 will probably benefit more from facelift surgery.
To decide if you are a candidate for the procedure, many factors need to be considered.
This includes your skin laxity, age, medical conditions that might increase risk during and after (such as blood clotting disorders), weight changes in the past six months, and your family history.
It’s important that any decisions are made with the advice of a skilled practitioner who has experience in the field of cosmetic dermatology.
Things To Avoid Before Treatment
Give your body a helping hand so that it is fully fit, which will speed up your recovery and give you the best outcome.
You should avoid:
- Smoking and alcohol for a week before treatment. They dehydrate the skin, which can affect the anaesthetic. Plus, they can impede the healing and recovery process.
- Aspirin-based products as these can cause bleeding.
What Happens During a Thread Lift Procedure?
First of all, local anaesthetic and a topical numbing agent are applied to the treatment site to prevent any discomfort or pain. Treatment begins once the anaesthesia takes effect.
Before inserting the threads, your doctor carefully traces the path that the sutures will follow, considering strategic points of entry and treatment areas.
Your doctor will use a sharp-tipped needle or cannula to minimize patient discomfort. Then, the polydioxanone threads are inserted under the skin.
Lifting the skin is achieved by gently pulling them and cutting off the excess threads. This treatment uses the “hammock effect” to re-suspend and effectively lift the skin.
The thread lift procedure takes up to 30 minutes, depending on what area is treated. Once complete, the cannula or needle is removed, and you are free to leave. You may feel slight pressure or tightness under your skin, but this is perfectly normal. Also, you may feel the threads deep underneath, but they shouldn’t be visible.
How is The Recovery After a Thread Lift?
Downtime after a thread facelift is minimal, and side effects are mild and temporary.
You may experience some swelling and bruising. Thus, it may be best if you do not schedule any important social engagements immediately after the treatment for a couple of weeks.
Generally, you can resume your normal day-to-day routine.
However, you should avoid rubbing your face vigorously or sleeping on your side for a week or two. It is better if you skip your daily moisturizer for the first few weeks after a thread lift.
Although gentle exercise, such as walking, is acceptable, avoid strenuous exercise, saunas, and facial beauty treatments during the first week or so.
How Long Until I Can See the Results from a Thread Facelift?
Visible lifting is immediately noticeable following the procedure. You get a subtle yet visible “lift” in the skin.
Although the threads are non-permanent and dissolve in around six months, the lifting effect induced by the production of new collagen can last for between 1-3 years—particularly if the procedure is combined with other anti-aging treatments.
Hence, to make the results last longer, you may need dermal fillers or other non-invasive treatments that cost additional time and money.
Benefits of Thread Lift Vs. Traditional Facelift
While a thread lift certainly produces visible changes, it’s important to note that it will deliver natural and subtle changes that do not compare to the dramatic results achieved from a surgical facelift.
A thread facelift will generally only lift the face by a few millimeters.
However, if you have realistic expectations, a summary of the thread lift benefits include:
- Lower risk of complications than facelifts
- General anaesthesia is not required
- No scarring
- Results can be enhanced with additional treatments, such as dermal fillers
- Virtually no downtime
- The temporary nature means you don’t have to live with the results forever if you don’t like them
- Costs significantly less than a facelift
- Most patients cannot feel their sutures once the skin has completely healed around them
- Low-risk way of seeing how a permanent procedure may look
Macro Beauty Interview- February 2021
Because the thread lift procedure can be performed under local anaesthetic, many people who have medical conditions that make them unfit for surgery (like type two diabetes or high blood pressure) can safely have this treatment.
What Are the Risks of a Thread Lift?
Thanks to their non-invasive nature, thread lifts are safe and effective. They do not carry risks, such as scarring, bleeding, severe bruising, and other complications that facelift surgery does.
However, you can expect some known side effects, such as discomfort, pain, bruising, swelling, and soreness.
You will be given information on how to manage these side effects in the days following your treatment.
In rare cases, complications may develop, which include:
- Haematoma—caused by blood leaking into the surrounding area when the practitioner accidentally damages the wall of a blood vessel.
- Facial Asymmetry may be caused by several factors, including inadequate lifting on one side, inherent facial asymmetry, or the use of anaesthetic.
- Migration of threads may be due to weak barbs or if the thread overlays an area of excessive movement.
- Dimpling may occur if the skin is too thin, by excessive facial expressions or in a sunken cheek.
- Visible threads may be seen if they have been inserted superficially or the skin is too thin.
A Final Word
Despite the complications that may occur with this procedure, thread lift is one of the safest and most advanced anti-aging procedures, provided it is performed by a practitioner who is skilled in performing it.
At Antiaging Group Barcelona, we have a full team of specialists, including plastic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists, who have extensive experience in facial and body aesthetics.
They will provide a thorough examination of your problem areas, evaluating your goals, medical history, and the condition of your skin to ensure the treatment is suitable for you.
We want you to feel confident about any procedure you have with us and ask you to get in touch with us if you have any questions or would like to find out more.
If you’re bothered by the effects of the aging process on your skin, a thread lift can rejuvenate your face and give you a more youthful, confident outlook. You deserve the best, so book an appointment with us and let us help you achieve your cosmetic goals.
How Much Does a Thread Lift Cost?
A thread lift is customized to your unique skin type, texture and aesthetic goals. Every procedure is personal to you and to your needs, and so is the cost.
Since we know that cost is important, we welcome you to visit our facilities for a free, no-obligation visit. You’ll have time to consult with the plastic surgeon, ask questions, and talk about any concerns. We’ll identify the best solution and the best price for you.
We’re so glad you asked! With over 20 years of experience, Antiaging Group Barcelona is a leading clinic in thread lift treatments.
Doctor Jesús Benito is a member of many international plastic surgery organizations, has won numerous awards, and is dedicated to his patients. His world-class medical center in Spain is sought out for its excellence and state-of-the-art procedures. A highly trained team supports Doctor Benito and provides superb care for every patient.
Doctor Laura Salvador
Specialist in face and body cosmetic medicine.
Cosmetic medicine with laser techniques (IPL, QSwitch…)
Bibliography & Publications:
- Absorbable screws in endoscope-assisted forehead lifting. Benito J, Camargo VJ, Torres A.Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2003
- Lifting medio facial. VI Reunión de la Sociedad de Cirugía Plástica, reparadora y Estética de la Comunidad Valenciana. 28-29 de octubre de 2005. Valencia
- Are lifting techniques for midface rejuvenation outdated? Congreso de EASAPS, Madrid 28 y 29 de noviembre de 2014.
Do you want more information about thread lift?
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Antiaging Group Barcelona
Ronda del General Mitre, 84, 08021 (Barcelona, Spain)
Nearest Metro Stations: Les Tres Torres / La Bonanova