A Thread lift procedure is a shorter procedure type that focuses on targeting the signs of aging on the lower face and involves subcutaneous placement of PDO threads which are pulled to achieve the desired skin lift effect. Although it can address eyebrow sagging and cheek sagging, thread lift often focuses its attention on midface, jowl, and neck-lifting.
Goal of a Thread Lift?
The goal of a thread lift is to reposition skin tissues, thus restoring youthful proportions and appearances to the face, neck, and body. This lifting and tightening are done by a plastic surgeon who inserts a needle into the skin, threading it bi-directionally through the soft tissues of the face, neck or body to grasp, lift and suspend the facial area. Surgeons use a “cross-hatch” or “basket weave” pattern to achieve the desired lifting effect in the targeted areas. The minimally invasive procedure provides immediate results, but its greater purpose is to encourage new collagen production to stimulate long term results and restore a youthful appearance in the treated areas.
Before Treatment Care for a Thread Lift
Although it is always best to meet with your plastic surgeon to determine the best plan of action for your specific skin type, professionals agree that thread lift candidates should avoid all alcohol and discontinue smoking for at least a week before the procedure as these things will dehydrate the skin and interfere with the anesthetic. All aspirin-based products should be avoided as well as cause unnecessary bleeding leading to unwanted complications and side effects. Blood-thinning products include Ibuprofen, Neurofen, and Naproxen/Naprogesic.
After Treatment Care for a Thread Lift
Some thread lift patients might feel nausea associated with the after-effects of the anesthesia or the procedure itself and can sip small amounts of clear liquids until it passes. It is also helpful, especially if your skin tends to swell or bruise, to ice the area for 30 minutes 4-5 times a day for the first 5 days.
Otherwise, limit facial motion for 24 hours, avoid facial creams or makeup for 48 hours, do not drink with a straw, keep the head elevated (including bending lower than heart-level) at a 45-degree angle for 5-7 days, eat soft foods or drink liquids for 7-10 days, avoid chewing gum for 2 weeks, avoid heavy exertion for 2-3 weeks and avoid pulling down on face or massaging it for 3 weeks.
Pros & Cons of a Thread Lift
Quick recovery time
Not as effective as other methods
Does not address excess skin
Lower success rate
Expected Results from a Thread Lift
The majority of people will notice minor immediate results directly after receiving a thread lift. As the face heals, new collagen forms in the treated areas creating a more obvious difference. While the results are more long term than some of the other facial rejuvenation options, such as surgical facelifts, the results are temporary and it is necessary to receive maintenance treatments every 6-12 months, depending on your specific age-reversal needs.
Texturized threads will achieve results more instantaneously than the smoother threads; however, it is important to remember that each thread type aims at producing collagen over a longer period, which is the overall goal of a thread lift procedure.
Side Effects from a Thread Lift
Most of the side effects of a thread lift occur in the first 24-48 hours after the procedure takes place, and will often resolve quickly. Some of the potential problems take a few weeks, or possibly even months, to resolve. These potential side effects include infection, bruising, swelling, tenderness, numbness, and slight asymmetry (small unevenness). Sometimes a suture will show itself just below the skin, as well.
Technical Description of a Thread Lift
Before a thread lift begins, patients will receive local anesthesia in the area where the thread-lifting will be performed—the midface, jowl or neck. A plastic surgeon then inserts a pre-threaded needle into the subdermal level of the facial tissues, which simply means that the needle will go underneath the visible layer of skin. The needle is inserted in a curved direction into the area to be lifted. Directly above this first needle, a second needle will be inserted approximately 1-1.5cm above the existing needle.
The purpose of each needle is to insert bi-directional threads into the targeted areas. These threads are made of polypropylene and are often referred to as PDO threads. The procedure itself is often called a PDO thread lift. The most widely-known PDO threads are Novathreads, but your plastic surgeon may prefer to use another type. PDO threads are equipped with small barbs along the surface that act as cogs (small gears or mechanisms) to grasp, lift and suspend the facial area undergoing treatment. As the needle is slowly withdrawn, it creates a suture lift causing the tissue to “gather” over the thread until the desired effect is achieved and the long ends of the thread can be cut off.
New collagen and fibrous tissue forms around the PDO sutures and continues to hold up and tighten the skin tissue. This growth happens to help naturally heal the treated areas, but because there are threads in place, new growth will take place around the threads in the repositioned areas. This achieves the longer term results a thread lift offers.