A thread lift is a minimally-invasive procedure done to correct sagging eyebrows and eyelids, aging neck tissues, and deep furrows between the nose and corners of the mouth, or “nasolabial folds.” It can add volume while elevating certain areas of the face and jowls. The thread lift is sometimes considered a precursory procedure to correct sagging until a standard facelift can be performed, or it can even be used in conjunction with a brow lift, chin lift, neck lift, or facelift to give more support to the lifted areas.
A thread lift can be performed under local anesthesia with intravenous sedation and takes about an hour to complete. A thin, hollow needle is used to place a thread (barbed suture) under the skin and facial tissues. The barbs on the thread snag and attach to underlying tissue in the sagging part of the face and lift the tissue when the thread is drawn up. The upper end of the thread is attached to a higher portion of the face to maintain the lift. Multiple threads are often used depending on how large the area is that needs elevation.
Throughout the procedure patients can give feedback to their surgeons by looking in a mirror and describing if they feel particular areas need more lift. The plastic surgeon can then attach more threads to these areas.
A different form of thread lifts were performed in the early years of plastic surgery but with varying results. Technology has allowed for new developments in the types of threads available, and the contemporary threads provide improved results. Depending on your individual needs, your surgeon will determine the best design of thread to use for your lift.
The three types of thread lifts available presently are the Contour Thread Lift, the Aptos Threadlift, and the Gold Threadlift. The contour thread is made of a clear polypropylene material with tiny barbs that open and grasp the tissue when pulled. A lift with this thread is firmly implanted and stationary to the area it is initially placed. This lift is slightly more limited because the thread can only be pulled in one direction for the surgeon to lift an area of the face. The aptos thread is more versatile for certain applications because it is bidirectional. The gold thread is made of 24-carat gold
Most patients who receive a thread lift are between ages 35 and 45 and desire a facelift but do not have the amount of time off needed for recovery or who cannot afford the standard facelift. Younger candidates may experience sagging in the cheeks and brows caused by weakened muscles. A thread lift is a great alternative to the standard facelift for those with minimal signs of aging such as a more prominent jaw, slight bags under the eyes, and some sagging in the midface. Patients experiencing a relapse from a previous neck lift or facelift may consider a thread lift to rejuvenate their results.
The recovery time for a thread lift is about half the time of traditional facelift procedures and can be as little as two to three days. During the recovery period physical activity should be limited as much as possible to reduce the risk of the threads slipping out of place.
Because there are no incisions made with a thread lift, there will be no scarring on the skin.