A thread lift is a minimally invasive cosmetic enhancement technique that lifts sagging skin on the face and neck using surgical suture threads. A thread lift is not a substitute for a facelift; it provides modest and subtle changes rather than dramatic results. It also helps people buy time before a face and neck lift may be needed. The biggest advantage of a thread lift is the absence of visible scars and the very short downtime from routine activities. It is common to combine a thread lift with other non-invasive procedures such as anti-wrinkle injections, laser treatments and facial peels that help improve skin texture. Liposuction can be performed at the same time, to improve the contours of the face. Thread lifts cost less and require less downtime for many people. A thread lift is generally treated as a “lunchtime” or “weekend” procedure. It usually is performed in about one hour.
Thread Lift Basics
In a thread lift, barbed sutures (threads) are used to lift sagging eyebrows and eyelids, deep naso-labial folds (those furrows between your nose and the corners of your mouth) or aging neck tissues. A thin needle is used to insert the sutures under the facial tissues. The barbs on one end of the thread grab and lift the sagging skin, and the teeth on the other end anchor the skin to the underlying facial tissues. No incisions or stitches are required, and no scars are produced. Additionally, barbed sutures can be used as an adjunct to a more traditional facelift.
AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THREAD LIFT?
Ideal candidates for thread lifts include people with minimal signs of aging who need just a small to moderate lift. Most people who undergo thread lifts are aged between 35 and 45 years. They choose a thread lift because they have begun to see more prominence of the jaw, a relaxed (or minimally sagging) mid-facial appearance or slight bags under the eyes or on the neck. Older people may undergo a thread lift during a more aggressive face lift procedure to provide additional support for the soft tissue area that was elevated in the facelift. Other thread lift candidates include those who have had some relapse from a previous plastic surgery procedure such as a facelift or neck lift. Many physicians combine thread lifts with other procedures, such as chin lifts, neck lifts and brow lifts, for a customized approach to facial rejuvenation.
If you are in good physical and emotional/mental health, have realistic expectations, no serious health defects, have reasonably normal skin thickness and have the desire to rid yourself of loose sagging tissue of the face and neck, you may be a good candidate for a thread lift. Those with considerable laxity of skin may opt for a face, brow and neck lift instead. Also, if you are considering losing weight you may want to wait until after your desired weight is met. You may need additional lifting or skin removal surgery to alleviate excess skin after you have lost the desired weight.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR CONSULTATION
We give utmost importance to patient confidentiality and take strictest care to ensure your privacy. The staff at CPLSS understands that it can be difficult for a patient to make enquiries about such a delicate matter. It is their aim to make you feel as relaxed, comfortable and fully informed about the procedure as possible. Our staff will be happy to help you make an appointment with Dr. Viral Desai.
Dr. Viral Desai will discuss your expectations from thread lift and will advise you as to whether your expectations are realistic. During the consultation, there are several points that Dr. Viral Desai will need to know about you, including:
- Your complete medical history and any medications that you are taking (if you suffer from diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure)
- Your current weight and your intentions to lose any weight in the future
- Your skin texture and elasticity
You will discuss what areas will be lifted- brows, cheek, jowl or neck. Not everyone will need to lift all of these. A full set consists of 18 APTOS threads. A full face lift requires all 18 although not everyone may need a full lifting procedure. The threads required per area would be 2 for each brow, 3 for each cheek, 2 for each jaw line and 2 for each side of the neck totalling 18 threads.
You will also have photographs taken. You should expect to be in your consultation with Dr. Viral Desai for at least 30 minutes.
PREPARING FOR THREAD LIFT
- You should stop smoking (including the use of nicotine patches), intake of any blood thinning tablets (i.e. aspirin/disprin), intake of vitamins and intake of caffeine at least two weeks prior to surgery
- Make arrangements for someone to drive you to and from your procedure. The medications and the procedure will make you drowsy and dizzy. You most likely not be able to drive yourself home after your procedure.
THE THREAD LIFT PROCEDURE
During the procedure, Dr. Viral will make small incisions in key locations and insert a threaded needle to lift the subcutaneous tissue and suspend the lift with the thread. The barbs on these threads will lock in place and encourage collagen formation upon insertion to lift very specific areas.
Several variations of the technique exist. In general, the “closed” technique involves molding the soft tissue over the suture in multiple location points until it catches in the appropriate location to provide the best result. During an “open” technique, Dr. Desai will use instruments under the skin to create a raw surface so that when the sutures are pulled up, the lift is more likely to remain in the appropriate position.
Dr. Viral has developed a combination technique that uses sutures at multiple tissue levels to catch all the barbs and create a suspension that cannot be accomplished with a non-barbed suture. Depending on your needs, the number of threads used can range from two to 20.
Thread lifts are often performed in an outpatient medical surgery center or hospital. Because the procedure is minimally invasive, general anesthesia is not required, so you can remain awake. One benefit is that Dr. Viral can give you a mirror as the thread is pulled back, allowing you to give feedback. Usually an oral antianxiety medication, along with local anesthesia, is all that is required. Most people tolerate this well and avoid any “post-anesthesia hangover.”
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AFTER MY SURGERY
Results are often immediate; however, the results continue to improve over a three to six month perioddue to the collagen synthesis and lifting/bunching effect.
Excessive movement can dislodge the intended placement of the threads, altering the desired result. Although not as invasive as other lifting procedures, thread lift may cause swelling and possibly bruising. You should avoid making exaggerated facial expressions, massaging the face, rubbing the face in any manner, sleeping on the face or disturbing the face. Any of the above may disturb the placement of the threads. You can resume normal activities (light walking, sitting up, watching television, computer, etc.) within the hour and are told to take it easy during the first few days. This means no exercise, no sexual activities, no excessive talking or exaggerated facial movements, again no facial massage, no shaving of your face, scrubbing, rubbing, chemical peels, harsh cleansers or facial sleeping for 1 week.
RISKS, COMPLICATIONS AND SIDE EFFECTS
The most common risks include an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic, hematoma, seroma, infection, palpability of the APTOS threads resulting in a tell-tale line. Sometimes, the end of a thread may poke through the skin. All these are extremely rare and reversible.
YOUR NEW LOOK
If you’re like most patients, you’ll be very satisfied with the results of your thread lift treatment. You may be surprised at the pleasing results that can be gained from this procedure.