Thread lifts: an overview
Thread lifts are quick procedures with no or minimal downtime, that fill the gap between heavier, elective facelift surgeries and cosmetic treatments such as skin resurfacing and injections of hyaluronic acid gels. They are versatile, and used in different facial areas to address baggy skin, jowls and tissue dropping rather than loss of facial volume.
They are minimally invasive, and in the best cases, make use of absorbable sutures so as to deliver results that are performant and can be fully enjoyed within a couple of months following the intervention, and for up to a couple of years.
The types of threads
There are different types of threads used in these procedures, we shall briefly present them here for the sake of public information. Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) threads and PDO (polydioxanone) threads are both absorptive threads that have been used in cardiac surgery for many years and are safe and reliable, they are completely absorbed by the organism within 6-7 months for PDO and within 12-18 months for PLA. PLA threads are notably more expensive and from our experience, the cost/benefit has not been proven, as the results with PLA threads we have worked with, did not outlast the results with PDO ones, nor did they present better performances.
Polypropylene threads on another hand, are not FDA approved in Thailand, and are problematic in the sense that they are insoluble. This is a non-desirable characteristic if you ever were to seek a future surgical facelift, and because of possible complications induced by the fact that the alien element will never be absorbed and will be treated as a foreign element by the body, with the possibility of an inflammatory response or worst. For these reasons we are not offering any treatment based on these.
PDO threads are called third generation threads, their effects are quick, safe, lasting and able to improve on other aspects in time, as the body responds to the procedure. Immediately after the intervention, the lifting effect can be noticed.
A month afterwards, the tightening, the volumetric effect on the skin, the brightening and the reduction of the pores are visible; within 2 months, the effects of the fibroblast activation due to the reaction of the cells to the procedure, will increase the production of elastin and of collagenogenesis in the treated area. After this, the absorption of the PDO thread would have started to be replaced with new tissue.
The classification of the PDO threads
There are many types of PDO threads, but to be very general, we shall say that they can be classified under two groups: non-barbed, also called “floating”, and barbed, meaning they anchor to the skin thanks to their hook-shaped cogs.
- floating PDO threads, which are smooth and short, can be inserted in a netting/scaffolding pattern right under the epidermis, they help in the rejuvenation of the skin and in lipolysis, they can be useful to get rid of some superficial fatty deposits, for an example.
- barbed PDO threads come in various design, and are serrated and longer. They are meant to pull and lift and the latest generation of barbed PDO threads also have a longer lasting effect. It is paramount for such procedures to be performed by highly trained medical professionals.
Barbed PDO Threads - The procedure
The barbed threads are inserted and placed deep into the dermis via the means of a sterile cannula, under local anesthesia, following a pattern that has been decided by the specialist, in accordance with the desired results .
Once done, they are then pulled up, the barbs and twists ensure the anchoring of the threads into the sublayers of the skin and the lifting effect is finalized with the suturing of these threads. They will remain where they have been installed until they dissolve naturally, at which point, a body response will be triggered into producing more collagen helping with the further firming of the dermis.
As the threading patterns are of utmost importance, It is paramount for such procedures to be performed by highly trained medical professionals. The procedure can come as a combined treatment with other performances such as PRP, dermal fillers, and skinboosters.