Last updated: November 2021
What is a thread lift?
A thread lift uses a thread placed just under the skin to lift and reposition the skin, effectively reversing any sagging or drooping. The goal of a thread lift is to pull the skin back slightly in order to tighten the face and create a more youthful appearance. The threads also stimulate collagen production in the skin, which helps to return volume to the skin.
The term ‘thread lift’ can be used interchangeably with ‘suture lift’ or ‘stitch lift’. Thread lifting is not new, but has gained popularity over the past few years with the development of new absorbable threads. Plastic surgeons Des Fernandes, Greg Ruff and Nicanor Isse all independently pioneered the thread lift in the nineties. The original methods used non-absorbable threads or suture material to lift the face.
The newer threads are resorbable and have barbs or cones along their length that help to pull back the skin when the thread is retracted and positioned. Three commonly used threads are; PLLA or poly L-lactic acid sutures, PDO or polydioxanone sutures, and PCA or polycaprolactone sutures.
All are resorbable. Resorbable means that the threads are able to be broken down and then absorbed by the bone structures in your face.
The immediate effect of a thread lift procedure is the lifting of the skin and soft tissues of the face. In the longer term, the sutures are resorbed and new collagen production is stimulated, helping to improve the quality and thickness of the skin. Thread lifts provoke the body’s healing response, which is what causes the skin to produce more collagen and strengthen itself. Furthermore, the fibrosis the threads cause helps to further lift and tighten the skin in the long term.
Who is the ideal thread lift candidate?
As we get older, our skin produces less and less collagen and loses a lot of its thickness. As the skin grows weaker, gravity pulls it down and stretches it out. Thread lifts can be used as an option to delay or prevent this process, or to alleviate it.
Suitable candidates are those who require lifting of the skin and soft tissues and do not want a surgical facelift. Both men and women are suitable for the procedure. It is suited to those requiring improvement in the facial shape and contours, lifting of the cheeks or jowls, and improvement in the definition of the jawline. It may also help to improve nasolabial folds or marionette lines (mouth corner folds).
Thread lifts may be suited to those who are not ready for a facelift, or those who would prefer to avoid facelift surgery altogether. Although a thread lift does not create as much change as a facelift, this may be advantageous to those who prefer to look ‘refreshed’ rather than have significantly noticeable or dramatic changes.
It is important that the candidate for a thread lift has realistic expectations about the procedure. A thread lift will not produce the same results as a facelift, so you should consider which treatment is right for you before making a decision.
What areas are treated?
Thread lifts can be done on the forehead, neck (or jowls), under eye area or eyebrows. You can have a thread lift performed on multiple areas of the face and neck or just one.
Thread lift procedure
A thread lift can be performed in the clinic setting without the need for general anaesthesia. Injections of local anaesthetic are placed in the patient’s face along the lines where the suture material will be placed.
Silhouette threads are a brand of threads that are attached to a long needle. This needle is passed through the face in the vector of the desired retraction. The needle is then cut from the threads and the end of the thread retracts back under the skin.
Mint threads are a brand of threads that are inserted via the use of a blunt cannula containing the thread. The time it takes to perform the procedure may vary depending on the number of threads used, but usually takes between 1 to 2 hours.
Usually, it is possible to resume most of your daily activities immediately. You should be able to return to your normal routine. Vigorous exercise and swimming are to be avoided for a few days and make-up is to be avoided in the first 24 hours.
It is common to experience swelling, bruising and some dimpling on your skin in the first week after threads. There may be a feeling of tightness in the face, especially on opening and closing of the mouth. Tenderness of the face is common, but not usually pain. This procedure will not leave any visible scars, and should require minimal recovery time.
There is a much lower risk of complications involved with a thread lift than a traditional facelift, but it is still possible. Potential complications include:
- Swelling and minor bruising
- Visible stitches
- Hematoma (if the wall of a blood vessel is damaged)
- Snapping of threads
- Hair loss
Swelling and bruising are quite common for most patients after the procedure, and can be managed by applying ice and avoiding sleeping on the face, shaving, using harsh cleansers or doing strenuous exercise. Visible stitches are also common in people with particularly thin skin. The other complications are very uncommon, but can be treated with the help of your doctor.
How long do the results last?
Immediate results are seen post-procedure, with gradual improvements over 6 weeks to 6 months as the collagen-stimulating properties of the threads are realised. The results last between 12-18 months, although this varies with different individuals and other ongoing ageing factors such as genetics and environmental factors such as sun exposure, smoking, and weight.
How much do thread lift procedures cost?
The cost of a thread lift will vary depending on which area you are having lifted and how many threads will need to be used. Your doctor will discuss this with you in your initial consultation.
Thread lifts are considered cosmetic procedures and are not covered by insurance, but they are guaranteed to be cheaper than a traditional facelift. You will also not have to take any time off work.
Your doctor may also recommend other products or cosmetic procedures to boost the effects of your thread lift, so you should factor in the cost of these as well.
How long do thread lifts last?
The results of a thread lift will last between 1-3 years, but you can have new stitches put in once the old stitches have gone.
What is the difference between a thread lift and a face lift?
A thread lift is a minimally invasive treatment that requires no downtime and will result in a natural looking rejuvenation for your face. Thread lifts last between 1-3 years and are a fraction of the price of a face lift.
Facelift surgery is a cosmetic surgery that requires a more intense treatment process, but will last up to 20 years. A surgical facelift involves making incisions, removing excess skin and/or fat, significantly tightening the muscles and then stitching the skin back together. It may take a few weeks for you to fully recover from a surgical facelift.
A thread lift may be better suited to someone younger who is hoping to prevent the development of fine lines, loose skin and the need to have surgery in the future; while facelift surgery would be suited to someone who already has extensive sagging or deep creases. A thread lift may also be beneficial for someone who has already had a surgical facelift, and is looking for a non-invasive procedure to provide extra rejuvenation.
Can a thread lift help sagging skin?
Yes, a thread lift can help to improve the appearance of sagging skin. A thread lift will lift and tighten the skin and stimulate collagen production, making the skin stronger and more flexible.
Why choose us to do your thread lift?
At Victorian Cosmetic Institute, Dr. Aliaa Yusof is our thread lift expert and has performed a large number of thread lifts. We have both the Silhouette threads and Mint threads available to you.
Dr. Aliaa Yusof combines both her technical and aesthetic skills to help provide you with the best outcomes for your thread lift.
Speak with one of our professionals about a thread lift by clicking the “book online” button above, and filling out the form. Alternatively, you can call us on 1300 863 824