Thread-lifts are gaining more popularity – if you’re reading this then chances are you’ve come across the idea and are at least slightly curious. This is a rapidly growing treatment in Australia, becoming more popular each month.
They started out in South Korea (like many cosmetic treatments today) and are spreading like fire. The first threads ever used were permanent; they lasted a really long time but any side effects were also long lasting. Today only biodegradable threads are used – they are the same materials that absorbable surgical sutures (or stitches) are made from.
Even within the cosmetic industry there is a lot of confusion, misinformation and false promises about threads. This guide was put together to clarify what is and isn’t possible with threads, hopefully dispelling some myths.
A thread lift tightens loose or sagging skin. It can also provide temporary vertical lift to sagging skin. Thread Lifts are a very popular solution to jowls. They also do an impressive job of skin firming & tightening. The PDO threads stimulate your fibroblasts to create new collagen and elastin around the thread. Once the thread dissolves, in about 9 months, the collagen will continue to provide skin firming benefits for up to 3 years.
There are essentially 2 types of threads – lifting threads or mono (smooth) threads. Lifting threads have cogs or barbs along the length of the thread. These attach to soft tissue and allow skin to be physically pulled up. The lifting effect lasts for the life of the thread material. Lifting threads also stimulate significant amounts of collagen production.
Volumizing or smooth PDO threads have no cogs or barbs. All those pretty pics on Instagram with dozens of threads poking out represent smooth mono PDO threads. They may be a single strand of PDO thread (mono) or there may be a spiral of strands. There is no physical lift with mono threads. Mono threads work by stimulating collagen production. There will be initial skin tightening due to the inflammation from their insertion but the actual results will not be seen until at least week 8. The body will take at least 8 weeks to start producing significant amounts of collagen. For best results with mono PDO threads, a second session at 6 months is recommended. Mono PDO threads are a lot cheaper than lifting threads but the results are not nearly as impressive. Mono threads can result in significant bruising as well (less common with lifting threads).
Common side effects are bruising, discomfort and tenderness over the thread
Threads can often cause temporary puckering of the skin which fades over a few days
Thread may be visible under the skin, especially with certain expressions, this fades over 6 to 12 weeks
Inflammatory nodules may form around the end of the thread – these will fade over 6 to 12 weeks
The end of a thread may come loose and project upwards, forming a bump under the skin – this will fade in 6 to 12 weeks
As threads are temporary the effects & any side effects will fade over time. Heat can be used to dissolve PDO threads if they are causing issues – this can be done via radiofrequency device or HIFU or fractional laser. Some threads can also be unzipped and left to dissolve without causing harm. If there is a persisting bump or show of thread through the skin your doctor can treat this via subdermal subcision to release the threads from the skin. Subcision is a skin surgical technique often used in treating scarring or acne. It is wise to ensure your treating doctor is able to manage the complications of thread lifts and perform subcision.
Mono threads can be used almost anywhere in the face or body where skin tightening is your goal. Lifting threads are usually only successful in certain areas of the face. The most common area is the mid face – a thread lift to the mid face can fix accordion lines (radial cheek lines), improve thin/crinkly skin, reduce nasolabial folds, and reduce marionette lines. The lower face is also a popular area (frequently performed along with the mid face thread-lift. A lower face thread lift will help reduce the jowls, and give a tighter jawline, it also helps with marionette lines (from the mouth corners downwards).
The fox-eye or lateral brow thread lift is used to elevate the tip of the eyebrow. This is a slightly controversial treatment, popularized by Bella Hadid. It is worth noting that Bella Hadid did not actually have a thread lift but more likely an endoscopic surgical brow lift. The main down side about thread brow lifts is that they are unpredictable and do not last very long. Once swelling settles, the amount of brow elevation is usually only 2-3mm. The effect is gone in most people by 3 months. This is due to the brow anatomy. Even a surgical brow lift will only last about 5 months on average. We advise first trying a tox (anti wrinkle) brow lift first – it is much cheaper, more reliable and lasts a similar amount of time. We do offer brow thread lifts but it is important to have realistic expectations and an acceptance that the result may not be everything you hope.
Yes it often works a lot better on younger faces due to having thicker skin with more soft tissue.
Many people will go back to work the next day but everyone will have a very different recovery experience – some may feel almost no pain, while others may feel uncomfortable for a few weeks. Expect to feel uncomfortable during the first 2 weeks and even be annoyed at your doctor (or yourself) during this time – don’t worry it gets better. Your doctor should be able to prescribe you pain killers if necessary. There will be puckering around the thread entry points which will take a few days to go down. Swelling will be present from the anaesthesic fluid – most of this will go down in a few hours but there is often some mild background puffiness for a week or so. Bruising may last around 1 week on average.
As long as you don’t move your face muscles or jaw excessively it is okay. Most people should try and take a week off of intese exercise as a precaution.
We use local field anaesthetic so having the threads inserted is quite tolerable for most people. Having the anaesthetic fluid put in will sting for a few seconds. We also subcise any deep folds to release the tissue and allow a better lift. The more uncomfortable part is having a tender face once the anaesthetic wears off.
If you are anxious about the procedure we can prescribe a sedative for you to take before your thread lift procedure.
If you have this you will not be able to drive home – so please ensure you organize a lift home.
Thread lifts generally range from $1200 to $5000 depending on where you live, how many threads are used and your provider. The cost per lifting thread can vary from $250 to $500 each. A midface thread lift will use 6-8 threads for a good result. A lower face thread lift along the jawline will use about 6 threads between both sides. Less threads can be used but the results will be quite subtle and not last as long.
Our price for a PDO thread lift is $300 per thread or $1800 for a mid face or lower face thread lift. To have both is charged at $2900. We offer brow thread lifts for $900.
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