A thread lift is a non-surgical alternative to a traditional facelift, offering a significantly younger, firmer appearance, without the pain, risks, or recovery time associated with a surgical cosmetic procedure.
Ageing can be a difficult and distressing process, particularly if you look older than you are. After the age of 30, our skin produces less collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid and starts to thin, wrinkle, and sag.
The sun, pollution and day to day life can also cause premature ageing, creating wrinkles, age spots and other unwanted blemishes. All of these factors can contribute to an older, more tired appearance. At any age, unwanted wrinkles or blemishes can knock our confidence.
A thread lift could provide the solution, reducing the skins of ageing and giving skin a fresher, tighter, and smoother appearance.
In this blog, we’ll talk you through the process, tell you a little bit about the history of facelifts, and give you all the information you need to decide if this might be a procedure you could benefit from.
A brief history about the Thread Lift treatment
It is believed the first facelift took place way back in 1901 in Berlin, when an elderly Polish aristocratic woman asked German doctor Eugen Hollander to “lift her cheeks and the corners of her mouth”. Hollander apparently accomplished this by cutting and removing a piece of skin around the ears.
The first full facelift was also performed in Germany, in 1916, by surgeon Erich Lexer. Rajiv Grover, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, calls this the first official facelift as it involved: ‘Lifting the [sagging] skin from the underlying fat, drawing it back, re-draping it and then removing the excess.’
Others surgeons, including the first female plastic surgeon, Suzanne Noël, followed and for more than 60 years, the technique wasn’t noticeably changed. This, despite the procedure producing an unnaturally tight ‘windswept look’, where the ears tended to stick out.
In the early 1970s, Dr Paul Tessier pioneered a new technique – the SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system). This procedure involved tightening the layer of soft tissue under the skin, which sags as we age. By the 1990s, surgeons were going even deeper, but the process was becoming even more invasive, with higher risks and longer recovery time.
As non-surgical procedures such as Botox and fillers became more popular, facelifts became less popular fell out of favour and the thread lift was born. The threads were originally designed to remain in place permanently, but these threads have since been pulled from the market.
These days, the threads are completely safe, dissolving naturally over time, and were FDA approved in 2018.
How it works Thread Lift
The thread lift treatment involves the insertion of suture threads under the skin of the face or neck, using micro-fine needles. These threads then get to work, eliminating sagging and rejuvenating facial tissues, before dissolving and being metabolized by the body.
This procedure is most often performed under local anesthesia. Your clinician may use a marker to outline the proposed location of the threads on your face and neck.
To reduce the risk of infection, your skin will be disinfected and then the local anesthetic will be injected into the area to be treated. You may need a few of these numbing injections to properly prepare the area.
The threads are then inserted one by one via a syringe or cannula and guided into place before the cannula or syringe is removed. This process is repeated for each thread.
There are different types of thread, and they are classified by their absorbability and their texture.
- Smooth/braided threads –these are best for filling lines and are easier to correct after the procedure, they may be inserted in a mesh pattern and used as a foundation for natural collagen development
- Barbed threads – these threads hook into the skin creating more structure under the skin achieve a better lift
Absorbable threads include Silhouette Soft thread (Poly-L-lactic acid), and Polydioxanone thread (PDO), while non-absorbable threads include the APTOS thread, Polypropylene thread, and Contour thread.
Which areas can be treated?
One of the many benefits of a thread lift is that it can be customized to best achieve the clients’ goals. For example, different threads can be used to restore volume to the cheeks, smooth a furrowed forehead, or lift a sagging jowl.
It also has the advantage of improving the overall look of the face and neck, rather than just targeting ‘problem’ areas.
Those in the 35-55 age bracket are the best candidates for this kind of procedure. You also need to be in good health and a non-smoker to achieve the best results.
In older clients, the treatment can be used in conjunction with other procedures, such as dermal fillers and Botox, to improve the overall appearance of the face and neck.
How long does it It take?
The process usually takes less than an hour to complete., Ddepending on the number of threads, its can take as little as often only 30 minutes, up to to 1 and half hours. This quick turnaround, coupled with the fact that you can more or less resume normal activities straight after the treatment have led to it being dubbed the ‘lunchtime facelift’.
What does it feel like having Thread Lift?
As with other aesthetic procedures, you will be offered the option of having a topical numbing cream applied before the injections, to lessen any pain or discomfort you might otherwise experience. Clients report feeling a slight sting or pinch at the injection sites, similar to that of other injectables, such as Botox or dermal fillers.
How long does It last Thread Lift?
Perhaps the only major downside of a thread lift versus a traditional facelift is that while the latter can last up to ten years, the effects of a thread lift are usually only visible for six months to two years. Still, this is a lot longer than some other non-surgical options, particularly when you consider it is all done in less than an hour. You can also schedule your next appointment before the effects completely wear off, if you wish to maintain your desired look.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Although thread lifts are a safe procedure when performed by an experienced clinician, there are still some potential side effects which you should be aware of before you make your decision.
Some redness, tenderness, swelling, or bruising is common following the procedure but should subside in 24-48 hours.
More serious complications that can occur are facial asymmetry, serious bruising taking weeks to heal, the threads or sutures being visible, and the threads migrating or breaking. If you notice any of these symptoms or are at all concerned, please contact your clinician immediately.
In addition, there is a small risk of infection with any injectable procedure.
Downtime & Aftercare
As stated above, you can more or less resume your normal daily activities after having a thread lift treatment. Indeed, this lack of downtime is one of the major advantages of a thread lift over a surgical facelift. However, there are a few dos and don’ts to follow, before and after your treatment, to ensure you achieve the best possible results.
Before Thread Lift:
- Firstly, You should not have the treatment if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Before your treatment (around a week prior) you should avoid alcohol and smoking
- At this time, you should also stop taking vitamin E supplements (speak to your GP if they have been prescribed)
- Don’t take any blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin as they can cause bleeding and other complications (see above)
- Avoid saunas, steam rooms, and rigorous exercise
After Thread Lift:
- Don’t massage or overstretch the treatments area for around two weeks following your treatment.
- This means no rigorous exercise, and you should rest your face if you can
- You should avoid touching your face after the treatment, to lessen the chances of infection
- Don’t wash your face for 12 hours, or exfoliate for around three weeks
- You can ice any swelling or bruising for the first 24 hours after the treatment
- Avoid make up for at least 24 hours unless it is mineral-based and 100% organic
- Avoid chewing gum and very chewy foods for around a week
- Don’t use a straw for the same time period
- You can take painkillers after a meal to reduce nausea (but again avoid aspirin-based medications)
- Sleep on your back and try to keep your head elevated as much as possible
- Avoid any dental treatment for at least a fortnight after the lift
- Follow the aftercare guidelines provided by your clinician, particular regarding the incisions/injection sites
We hope this blog has helped you understand a little bit more about thread lifts and you can now make an informed decision about whether this might be the right option to help you achieve your aesthetic goals.
If you would like to find out more about a thread lift or any other aesthetic procedure please book a free online consultation with one of our experienced aestheticians or contact us on 07305800057 or 020 8286 8858 to speak with a member of our team.