Although thread lifts have been around for quite some time now, there has been a recent spike in this procedure’s popularity. On the surface, thread lifts may seem like a better option than traditional surgical facelifts, but upon closer inspection, it isn’t always the case.
Many people turn to thread lifts in an effort to turn back the clock without breaking the bank. In addition, this procedure offers little to no down time and is minimally invasive. The procedure consists of inserting absorbable barbed sutures along the face and pulling them to lift the superficial muscles and create a tighter, lifted look. After the procedure, the patient can drive and even go back to work with minimal bruising and swelling. It seems like the perfect procedure, but what happens once the sutures are absorbed by the body and what will the results look later on down the line?
There are very few follow-up studies on patients who have had thread lifts, and the studies that have been conducted all come to a similar conclusion: While the immediate effects of thread lifts and their collagen boosting properties are rewarding, patients do not experience long-term results. Many patients in these studies needed to undergo corrective surgery or required additional non-invasive treatments like filler and/or Botox after their thread lift. Thread lifts are advertised as providing 3-7 years of results, but studies show that only a third of participants retain 70% of the original effects of the thread lift after 1-2 years.
Moreover, thread lifts can’t fix issues like excess skin or lack of volume and can’t prevent wrinkle-causing movements like pursing your lips or raising your eyebrows, meaning many patients are not good candidates for the procedure. The best candidates for thread lifts have strong bone structure, minimal signs of aging, and good skin quality. Patients with thin skin, volume loss, or excessive skin would fare better with surgery or fillers and neurotoxins. At a certain point, all patients become bad candidates for thread lifts because the toll of facial aging overcomes any solution other than surgery.
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With technology constantly evolving, there is a real future possibility of successful thread lifts with long-lasting results, but at the moment, the best options are the Liquid or Surgical Facelift. Although a surgical facelift requires general anesthesia and a longer recovery time, the end result will last much longer and be better tailored to each patient’s needs. A scalpel allows the surgeon to create fine details and make subtle corrections with much more precision than sutures allow. Surgical facelifts are the gold-standard for achieving aesthetic beauty, especially in older patients, because of their unique ability to remove excess skin which would otherwise remain on the face with a thread lift. A surgeon has artistic freedom in their approach to beautifying a patient with a surgical facelift, but a thread lift can only achieve variations of the same look. Thread lifts also encounter limitations that surgery does not, such as not seeing blood vessels and fat pads lying underneath the skin. The non-invasive proponent of a thread lift is appealing, but it also means the doctor has not seen which areas of the face have experienced greater fat and volume loss.
If surgery is too daunting, a Liquid Facelift is an amazing option for patients to consider. A Liquid Facelift uses neurotoxins, fillers, and/or Sculptra in several areas of the face to achieve many of the same results of the surgical facelift and thread lifts. Neurotoxins like Botox, Dysport, Jeuveau, and Xeomin are used to prevent wrinkle-causing facial movements. Fillers like Restylane and Radiesse give definition to any drooping or sagging areas of the face, like the cheeks and jawline, and lift the face. Collagen-stimulating fillers like Sculptra replace lost volume, correct skin elasticity, and provide the same boost in collagen production as the thread lift. Even the fillers that do not explicitly advertise collagen growth properties provide some degree of collagen stimulation; the body perceives every needle prick as trauma and initiates the natural response to wounds, which is to produce collagen to repair it. The benefits of a Liquid Facelift are similar to those of a thread lift, including immediate results and little to no downtime, but the Liquid Facelift also allows your injector to target specific areas of the face to give you the look you want. Not all patients want or need their entire face to be lifted and tightened; in fact, many patients want additional sculpting, definition, and volume it comes to facial rejuvenation. A thread lift is generally less able to provide these types of results. Before resorting to a thread lift, do your research and consider the more effective options: the Surgical Facelift and Liquid Facelift!