Demystifying Threadlifts

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Threadlifting for the face has been getting increasingly popular in the recent years as a soft approach and an alternative to invasive facelift surgery. This is amongst other non-surgical procedures such as radiofrequency, HIFU, and 4D laser facelift… the list goes on. In my experience, I personally find threadlifts to have the greatest outcome, amongst those mentioned earlier.

 

So How Does It Work?

 

The most common question I get from my patients is “how does threadlifting work?”

As we age, our skin experiences the collapse of protein fibres and thinning of connective tissue, similar to how a mattress lose its spring and cushion after prolonged use. Threadlifting can help to reduce the signs of aging, in a more natural and gradual manner. Common areas that are treated with threadlifting generally include cheeks, eyebrow, jawline and neck.

Threadlifting works by:

  1. Engaging the dermis when the thread is inserted and pulled upwards, thus lifting sagging skin, similar to reinstalling new spring mechanism into an old mattress.
  2. The tiny barbs in the thread stimulates production of collagen in the deep dermis to make up for volume loss, resulting in the face’s gradual tightening over the course of 4 – 6 months, just like restoring the cushion in an old mattress over time.

 

 

Types of Threads – A Brief Summary

 

There are many different types of threads available in the market, I will briefly mention the two main types of threads here to provide an overview.

Uni-directional Barbed Threads –

e.g. Silhouette Soft Thread – made of Poly L-Lactic Acid (PLLA), a dissolvable material and a key material for surgical sutures. These threads dissolve safely in our body after approximately 12 months.

Bi-directional Threads –

e.g. PDO Thread – made of Polydioxanone is also a material used in many surgical sutures. These type of threads has shorter longevity than Silhouette soft threads as they dissolve after about 6 months.

 

 

Am I Suitable?

 

In my practice, there are many patients who enquire about threadlifting. However, some of them are deemed unsuitable, for instance: if they are too young (e.g. early 20s), or if they have unrealistic expectations (to reverse age from 70 to 20). I will briefly illustrate some of the commonly seen patients who are suitable for threadlift.

  1. The patient who is keen for non-surgical facelift, but not keen for dermal filler. Threadlifting is a suitable alternative.
  1. The patient who had dermal fillers done, but would like to have further facelift enhancement. Both dermal filler and threadlift can work synergistically to enhance both facelifting and skin rejuvenation through collagen stimulation.

Fillers work by filling in areas with loss of volume and secondarily, by enhancing the deflated support system caused by aging. Threadlifting, on the other hand, works by the mechanical lift primarily, and collagen stimulation secondarily, to restore volume loss. This illustrates the advantage of having a multi-modality approach to non-surgical face lift and youth restoration.

 

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A Run-Through of the Procedure

Contrary to popular belief, threadlifting is less intimidating than it sounds. It is a fairly safe and short procedure in the hands of experienced doctors. Comparing to traditional surgical facelift which is more invasive and longer recovery period, threadlifting does not involve cutting of the skin, and therefore minimal downtime. Local anesthesia (numbing of the area) is administered to the area of treatment and the procedures takes approximately 30 minutes, depending on the area of treatment and the amount of threads inserted.

 

 

Worried About The Risks Involved?

 

This is usually the part where you get nervous and not to worry, let me try to put you at ease by helping you anticipate some of the things that might follow after the procedure.

Soreness and mild bruising may occur and it is natural and usually temporary. Rippling and dimpling can occasionally occur too, but they also resolve in a few days. And even if they persist, it can be corrected with manual manipulation at the doctor’s.

It is advisable to avoid facial massages and rigorous physical activities for 1 – 2 weeks after the procedure. Sleeping in supine position (face-up) is also highly recommended as sleeping on your sides might add unnecessary pressure on your face. A weekend retreat to Bali or Bintan would be discouraged post procedure.

 

 

To Sum It Up

 

Threadlift is certainly an option worth exploring as a means to restore youth, with minimal downtime and relatively short procedure as opposed to traditional surgical facelift.

I hope this article is useful for you, and that’s all for today. Till next time.

 

 

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Dr Vincent Tan

 

 

 

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2 comments

  1. sonia says:

    Is it painful? How long can last?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sonia,

      Thank you for your question.

      Prior to the procedure, local/regional anesthesia is administered and therefore the pain will be minimal, if any. The longevity depends on the type of thread used, but generally they last for about 1 – 1.5 years, depending on individual. Hope that answers your questions and feel free to drop in a comment should you have other questions.

      Have an awesome day ahead!

      Best,
      Vincent

      Like

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