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What Is A Thread Lift?

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A thread lift is a non-invasive aesthetic treatment that can achieve a more youthful facial appearance, without requiring a complex procedure. 

In this article, we will share with you everything you need to know about thread lifting treatment, from what the procedure is, to its recovery time and how long it lasts.

What is a thread lift?

A thread lift – also known as a barbed suture lift – tightens and lifts the skin, combatting signs of ageing in your face and neck. It is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure that is suitable for people in middle age who have loose skin around the neck, jawline, jowls, cheeks, or eyebrows.

The painless procedure involves the threading of dissolvable sutures underneath the skin, allowing the skin to be pulled up tight around the neck, forehead or torso. Invisible barbs will grab onto the skin, gripping the thread to the tissues and muscles underneath. After the barbed thread has been inserted, a healing response is triggered naturally. 

Collagen production is stimulated when the body detects the suture material beneath the skin. The collagen – which is a protein that helps keep the skin supple and strong – fills in the gaps at the treated areas, which contributes to a more youthful facial appearance. Local anaesthetic is administered during the procedure. 

Thread lift results

Thread lifts are effective in increasing the tightness and structure of the skin. The procedure is favoured for its quick recovery time compared to surgical procedures, with minimal discomfort being experienced during and after the treatment. Thread lifts also offer immediate results compared to invasive procedures such as facelifts.

By increasing the suppleness and strength of the skin, thread lifts can offer a more youthful appearance thanks to the stimulation of collagen production. Wrinkles and lines can also be combated, as the threads pull the skin on the face and neck tightly, restoring tone and firmness, contributing to a smoother facial look.

How long does a thread lift last?

Results of thread lifts can last up to 18 months, however, research has demonstrated that a rejuvenating effect may be seen for three years after the procedure, or more. How long results are visible can be influenced by factors such as the patient’s skin type, age and lifestyle. 

Even after sutures dissolve, the skin can continue receiving the benefits of a thread lift as collagen production is stimulated and the healing process continues.

Thread lift vs facelift

A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a surgical face slimming treatment that pulls back and lifts up the skin, giving the face a smoother and tighter look. A facelift can offer more significant and longer-lasting results than a thread lift. However, it is an invasive procedure that takes two to three hours, requires an overnight stay in the hospital, and is performed under general anaesthetic. 

It involves incisions being made above the hairline, from the temples down to the front of the ear, allowing the removal of surplus skin and then pulling back, and up, of the remaining skin. Facelift recovery time can be two to four weeks, compared to little or no recovery time after a thread lift.

Due to the non-invasive nature of a thread lift, in some cases, people may choose to have additional treatments such as dermal fillers to augment the results. In terms of risk, there is more chance of complications when having a facelift than there is when undergoing a non-invasive procedure such as a thread lift. Facelifts are also typically more expensive than thread lifts. 

Botox vs thread lift

Botox, or anti-wrinkle injections, is a procedure that involves injections of Botulinum toxin, resulting in relaxation of the facial muscles and smoothing out of wrinkles and lines. It does this by blocking chemical signals from the nerves. 

Unlike a thread lift, Botox doesn’t increase the elasticity of the skin. It works by preventing the facial muscles from moving, reducing the likelihood of getting wrinkles. For this reason, while it is a suitable treatment for dynamic wrinkles (those caused by facial movements), unlike a thread lift, Botox is not effective in treating sagging skin.

While the results of a thread lift can typically be seen for a year or more, Botox results usually last for between three to four months. Like a thread lift, Botox requires less recovery time than more invasive procedures. However, you might feel a ‘heavy’ or ‘tight’ feeling in the face for a week or two after the procedure. 

Thread lift side effects

A thread lift is a low-risk procedure, but there is potential for side effects and complications. Common side effects include: 

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Pain at the treatment area

According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, around 15% of people who have a thread lift will have complications of some sort. But these are typically not serious and can be corrected easily. These complications include:

  • Bleeding behind the skin
  • An allergic reaction to threading material
  • Lumps or bulges as a result of migration of the threads
  • Dimpling where threads are inserted
  • Pulling of threads
  • Discomfort as a result of a thread’s awkward position or a thread being too tight

Infection at the treatment area is rare. You should seek immediate medical attention if you have swelling for over two days, discharge, fever, or persistent headaches. However, these adverse effects usually only happen when the procedure is performed by inexperienced or unqualified practitioners. 

At PICO Clinics, all of our practitioners are fully registered GMC doctors. They undergo constant training to stay up-to-date with the latest aesthetic medicine techniques. This is to ensure all of our patients receive the best possible treatment and care.

Dos and don’ts after thread lift

After a thread lift:

Do:

  • Apply antibiotic cream to the treatment site
  • Attend your follow-up appointment a few weeks after the procedure

Don’t:

  • Get a facial massage
  • Sleep on your side or stomach
  • Engage in intense physical activity
  • Wear make-up
  • Drink or smoke

Thread lift recovery time

There is little to no recovery time following a thread lift. You will be able to go about your daily activities immediately following the procedure. Try to follow the aftercare tips outlined in the section above, to avoid affecting the results of your thread lift. 

If you want to find out more about thread lifts, you can book a consultation online with one of our experienced practitioners at PICO Clinics. We can help you through each step of the process and help you to achieve your desired look so you can feel confident in your own skin.

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