The thread lift is a minimally invasive procedure where stitches are placed under the skin to reposition droopy or loose areas of the face. No skin is cut away, so there is no real surgery. There are new barbed threads called Contour Threads The stitches are made of nylon material and are left permanently under the patient’s skin. After a few weeks, the body develops a tissue reaction around the stitches, which holds the skin in its new position.
The thread lift is not like a face-lift as it does not involve cutting and removing skin, and is not a substitute for a face-lift. The procedure is often useful for patients who have previously had a face-lift, but have a few residual loose or droopy areas – it can tidy up these areas. The thread lift procedure is also useful for younger patients who are not ready for face-lift surgery, or for those who do not want the scars which may result from surgery.
The stitches can last for years, but they may loosen with time. The face may also continue to droop with age.
The thread lift procedure can be performed either under local anaesthesia or light sedation. A small puncture is made in the skin either behind the ear or in the hairline and a long needle with a suture is threaded directly under the skin until it reaches the area that is droopy. The stitch is then fixed in this position and the needle returned to the original puncture. The stitch is then tied and buried under the patient’s skin. Several stitches are used to keep the skin in the correct position.
You may be a little swollen after the procedure especially on the outer cheeks. Bruising may occur in some people, but not in most cases. Swelling in most people is mild and usually lasts about 10 days. There may be some irregularities in your skin which may last for a few days or even weeks.
During the thread lift there should be no pain as local anaesthesia is used. After the procedure there is often some pain behind the ears, so painkillers should be used. This usually settles after 24 hours.
Because only small punctures are made in your skin, and no skin is removed, there is usually no visible scarring.
The stitches reposition the skin, so there may be a slight pucker in front of the ear initially, which usually settles. If it does not settle, collagen induction therapy may be used to tighten the skin.
The stitches may initially feel too tight, but they will loosen to some extent after a few weeks. If they remain tight, the stitches may be removed and replaced with other looser stitches.
If the stitches are too loose, further stitches can be placed in the skin, which are tighter.
If you don’t like the look, the sutures can be removed altogether or replaced with other stitches. This is best done in the first 4 weeks after the procedure before the stitches become fixed in the skin by the tissue reaction.
The thread lift procedure can be performed on someone who has had a previous face-lift, to touch up any droopy areas.
The thread lift is a relatively non-invasive procedure, so there are few risks associated with it. However, with any procedure there are some potential complications. These include: •Sutures too tight If this occurs, the sutures can be removed and others put in their place. •Sutures too loose If this occurs, the sutures can be removed and others put in. •Breakage of sutures If sutures break, new ones can be substituted. •Infection Infection is rare, but can be treated with antibiotics. •Bleeding Bleeding and bruising may occur. Avoiding aspirin and vitamin E may minimize this risk. •Asymmetry This can be corrected by adjusting the sutures on one side. •Bunching of skin When the sutures lift your skin up and back, there may be some bunching of the skin near the ear. This usually settles with time. •Fullness in the cheeks There is usually some fullness in the cheeks, which lasts for a few weeks. •Feeling the sutures Occasionally it is possible to feel the sutures behind the ear. It is rare to feel the sutures on the face. •Seeing the sutures It is rare to see the sutures as they are placed deeply in the patient’s skin. •Not liking the end result If you do not like the sutures, they may be removed. This is best performed within the first few weeks after the procedure, before the tissues have “fixed” the sutures into position. •Skin irregularities These are usually temporary but may last for a few days or a few weeks.