Thread Lifting: A Facelift Revolution

Your skin isn’t as firm as it used to be. You’re feeling as your face dropped and you lost the volume. Time for a face lift? Don’t rush to go under the knife. Thread Lifting is a quick, non-surgical way to address loose skin, like jowls, saggy neck or drooping cheeks. Rather than removing loose skin with surgery, threads provide strong and stable soft tissue lifting. The threads gently pull back and reposition soft tissues, resulting in a younger, refreshed appearance. Thread lifting is easy to perform, has very little down time, and is minimally invasive and less expensive than surgery.

How does thread lifting work?

Thread lifting works in two ways. First, the threads, which may have small barbs/graspers on them, physically “lift” the skin. The barbs grab soft tissues from under the surface and pull them to the desired position. Thread lifting offers a subtle, natural looking lift with relatively long-lasting results 

Second, the threads provoke the body’s healing response which stimulates collagen production. Your body sees the threads as a foregin object and sends collagen to “heal” the area and expel the sutures. Collagen, which our bodies stop producing in our late 20’s, is key to firm, even looking skin. In addition to the immediate effects of the physical  lift, you will notice a gradual restoration and improvement in the tone of your skin, elasticity, and texture, as well as defined face contours, and stabilized soft tissue. 


What’s the difference between thread lifting and face lift surgery?

Both thread lifting and facelift surgery improve sagging skin, but they differ in results and downtime.

With thread lifting, there are no incisions and no skin is removed. The whole procedure can be done with local anaesthetic and there is very little downtime. Because thread lifting is a less aggressive procedure than facelift surgery, the results are also more subtle. Thread lifting will provide a natural looking lift and, over time, firmer looking skin, but it will not drastically impact very loose skin or advanced aging. The benefits of thread lifting last anywhere from 1.5-3 years.

Facelift surgery involves making incisions in the skin, removing excess skin, and then lifting the skin before stitching it back in place. The procedure significantly tightens the facial muscles as well, providing a dramatic effect. Facelift surgery is done under general anaesthesia and requires a lengthy recovery period, but the results are bigger and longer-lasting than a thread lift.


What areas can be treated with thread lifting?

Thread lifting can be used to treat a number of different areas. The treatment can smooth forehead wrinkles, lift the brow area, restore volume to sagging cheeks, reduce lines around the mouth, and contour a sagging jaw. Thread lifting also works to tighten loose skin on the neck. 

Along with brow and jaw lifting, The most popular thread lifting procedures are:

Cat Eye or Fox Eye lift: An eye and upper brow lift for a tight upper eyelid crease and a beautiful upward slant of the eye. Search #cateye or #foxeye and you’ll see lots of examples!

Ponytail lift: A centralized lift that tightens everything from the forehead to the cheekbones for a youthful, refreshed look. 


What are the different types of threads and how do they work?

There are many different types of threads and combinations of threads used in thread lifting. I typically use PDO and Aptos threads, so for the purposes of this article, we’ll look at the differences between PDO and Aptos threads. 

PDO threads – These threads, which are traditionally used as surgical stitches, dissolve within 6 months of insertion. PDO threads are best used for clients with milder signs of aging.

Aptos threads – These threads are also absorbable, but  take longer to dissolve than PDO threads—from 1.5-2 years. Aptos threads are better suited to patients with loose skin, heavy tissues as they provide firm long lasting facelift effect and collagen formation. Aptos threads are filled with hyaluronic acid inside which helps to hydrate the skin from the inside and  rejuvenate the area treated. Aptos threads are number 1 threads of choice in antiaging medicine. 

Both types of threads can be barbed or smooth. Barbed threads have tiny cones or barbs which “grab” the skin and hold it in place. They provide a more noticeable lift than smooth threads. Smooth threads are used mostly as support foundation for new collagen.

Essentially, the type of thread affects the degree of lift, the amount of collagen production, and the cost of your procedure. Talk to your practitioner about the best type of thread for you.


What is the difference between lifting and armouring?

Thread lifting involves actual lifting of your soft tissues. For a lifting treatment, threads with barbs facing in one direction are used. After insertion, the barbs on the threads “grab” your soft tissues and move your skin to the desired position. You’ll also benefit from collagen stimulation as your body sends new collagen to “repair” the area around the threads which also stimulates fibrotic tissue formation around the threads. Once your body self degrades and absorbs the threads; the tissue that grew around the threads keeps holding soft tissues up for another 8-12 months.

Skin armouring is performed with smooth threads and or threads with barbs facing each other. These threads are strategically placed under the skin to act as scaffolding for new collagen. Your body ramps up collagen production to repair the skin around the threads, resulting in lifting soft tissues and firmer skin with improved tone. The results from skin armouring thread lift is more subtle & natural looking youthful appearance.

Lifting and armouring threads often used together to treat different stages of facial or neck ptosis. Using a combination of lifting and armouring thread lift methods helps to achieve strong and long lasting results by lifting and supporting soft tissues in layered approach. Often it is advised to do lipolysis (kybella) fat dissolving treatments for under the chin and jowls area prior thread lifting to loosen up heavy tissues and make them lighter which helps to achieve better results and stronger face or neck lift. 


Who is a good candidate for thread lifting?

The best candidates for thread lifting are anywhere from 30-50 years of age, have mild to moderate signs of aging, and are looking for a natural result with minimal downtime. Clients over the age of 50, or those looking for more dramatic results, may benefit more from traditional facelift surgery. 

However, thread lifting is a wonderful option for anyone who is unable to have surgery or who doesn’t want to undergo an aggressive procedure.

Are there side effects?

As with any medical procedure, there are potential side effects. Your practitioner’s training is extremely important in ensuring a good outcome with minimal side effects.

The side effects for thread lifting are typically minimal. They include mild bruising, swelling, soreness, or dimpling of the skin for a few days after the procedure. You may also feel a light sensation of tightness for up to 3 weeks. All dimples, unevenness and or pulling sensation resolves within 2-3 weeks without intervention. One of the worst complications of thread lift procedure is infection which is rare. Thread lift is an advanced aesthetic procedure and shall be performed by highly trained and experienced medical professionals. Ice and Tylenol will help with any discomfort you may experience after treatment. 

Although extremely rare, more serious side effects can occur. These include infection, nerve damage, formation of nodules, and damage to the salivary ducts. Antibiotics are often given for prophylactic purposes after thread lifting if several combined methods of thread lifting are used on that day. 


Before your treatment

Before your thread lifting, you’ll meet for a free consultation. I’ll get to know you and your medical history, and determine if thread lifting is the best option for you. We’ll discuss the areas you wish to have treated so I have a clear picture of the results you’re looking for.

No special preparations are required prior to thread lifting treatments.


During your treatment

Thread lifting is relatively quick and easy. The procedure takes about 1 hour and is done under local anesthesia with minimal pain and discomfort. Using a cannula or needle, I will insert the threads below the skin. Once the threads are in, I will lift the tissues to the desired position, lifting and tightening. The ends of the threads are clipped and I’ll apply antibiotic ointment to the entry and exit points. The aim of the treatment is to recreate a heart shaped face, or ‘triangle of youth’, lift droopy skin, and create a stable nonsurgical lift.


After your treatment

There’s a little bit of downtime after a thread lift. You may have some swelling, unevenness or bruising at the treatment area, but this should subside within a few days to a week. If you’re uncomfortable after your treatment, you can take Tylenol and gently apply ice.

After your thread lift, you should:

• Apply antibiotic cream at the entry and exit points for 5 days
• Apply ice regularly for 2-3 days after your treatment.
• Avoid sleeping on the side of your face for 3 days.
• Avoid rubbing or massaging the treatment area for 5 days.
• Avoid sun exposure for 3 weeks
• Avoid strenuous exercise and excessive sweating for 3 weeks.
• Avoid exaggerated facial movements for 3 weeks.


What kind of results can I expect?


The results from a thread lift are immediate. You will notice lifted, firmer skin right away. The results from this treatment continue to improve for 3 months after the procedure. The results from a thread lift generally last from one to three years. After threads are reabsorbed, the lifting effect stays due to fibrotic tissue and collagen production induced by the threads.

The rejuvenative effects of collagen production kick in after 1-2 months – you will notice better skin texture, lifted, firmer and smoother skin.

Since thread lifting is so low risk, you may choose to have new threads put in once the results wear off. It is advised to combine thread lifting with other treatments such as PRP/vampire facial, mesotherapy and or bio stimulating dermal fillers to prolong the effects of thread lift and achieve longer lasting results.


How much does thread lifting cost?

Thread lifting is priced by the area and the types of threads used during your treatment. The average cost for thread lifting with PDO threads is 600 to 1200$. Aptos thread lift is also priced per area and may vary from $1200 to $3000. Your practitioner will confirm the price once you’ve determined your treatment plan.


Conclusion

Where traditional facelift surgery used to be the only way to correct sagging skin, thread lifting is a fantastic new option. Quick and simple, with few side effects and little downtime, thread lifting is a great way to tighten, tone, and lift various areas of face and neck to recreate youthful appearance. Thread lifting with resorbable threads made a revolution in nonsurgical facelift methods with minimal down time, no risk to your health and long lasting results.