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The Truth About Thread Lifts

Posted: 12:01 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019

By Anita Mandal, M.D.
Question: I’m in my 70?s and have a lot of sagging in my neck and lower face. I really don’t want the risk and downtime of an aggressive operation such as a facelift. The new thread lifts on the market sound quite appealing? What kind of results can I expect from thread lifting?

Answer: The idea of thread lifts for the face is nothing new. These lifts originally came out over 10 years ago and involved passing a long suture under the skin to lift sagging tissues. Thread lifts rose quickly in popularity but also went off the market just as fast. Failure of thread lifts in the past was not just due to inadequate results, but also from complications such as skin bunching and, even worse, extrusion of sutures out through the skin.

While thread lifts have made a comeback using “new and improved” sutures, there are some important facts one should know before making a decision to have a thread lift.

Many of the latest thread lifts are designed to restore lost cheek volume rather than lift sagging. However, these thread lifts are not significantly better than volumization fillers. On top of this, although minimal, thread lifts are mini-surgical procedures involving penetration of deeper tissues. With injectable fillers, the injector has more control and can sculpt the cheeks with greater precision, whereas thread lifts have more anatomic restrictions in terms of placement.

Some thread lift companies promote their product as a lifting device. It’s important to understand that these threads are placed superficially in the tissues. In comparison, a facelift or mini-facelift involves dissection into deeper tissue planes, extensive tissue repositioning and suturing to hold sagging tissues in place. A patient with mild to moderate sagging may gain some temporary benefit from threadlifts. However, a patient with moderate or greater sagging is much less likely to be satisfied with a thread lift.

Thread lifts generally last 6 to 18 months, in the best of cases. They are also quite costly since one needs up to 3 threads per side, totaling up to 6 threads for the entire face. A 5-year injectable filler like Bellafill can be more cost-effective for facial volumization than a thread lift. Also, unlike a thread lift, Bellafill can be used in a broader range of facial areas. In terms of tissue tightening and lifting, Infini RF, minifacelifts or my Whisper Lift can often give similar or better results than a thread lift and last longer.

Seeking a consultation with a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon who is skilled and knowledgeable about the various surgical and minimalinvasive facial rejuvenation procedures is the first step.


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