Thread Lifts – Just the Facts
The mantra that “less is more” pervades our society. We are always trying to get maximum results with minimum effort. Plastic surgery is no different and as the trend towards less invasive techniques has grown, it is important to ask the question: Is less really more?
Threads are basically barbed sutures attached to a needle. They are passed under the skin usually under local anesthesia. As the suture is then pulled upwards, the barbs catch on the deeper tissues, lifting them in the direction the suture was passed. There are different brands of threads. Contour threads became FDA approved in September 2004 with the indication of elevation of the midface, brow, and neck. Aptos threads (also known as feather lifts) hail from Russia and were FDA approved in March 2005. The difference in the design is that the barbs on the Contour threads are unidirectional whereas on the Aptos thread they are bi-directional. The advantages to the technique are that it does not require general anesthesia, has little to no incisions, and has a much shorter recovery with less swelling. The disadvantage is that the results are not long lasting, typically between 4 and 18 months. The risks of the procedure are visibility of the sutures under the skin, infection (not common), and thread breakage. The ideal candidate is someone with minimal signs of aging, with women ages 35-45 statistically the most common demographic.
So in the end, we can conclude that thread lifts are not and should not be claimed to be equal to their surgical counterpart. However, for patients who aren’t emotionally, psychologically, or financially ready for the surgeries, thread lifts are beneficial as long as the patient understands that the results are not long lasting. So sometimes less is more, but sometimes less is less.