Thread lift is a surgical procedure that is designed to produce lifting of the saggy tissue of the cheek and lower face using barb sutures secured to the stable and robust tissue of the temple. The benefit of the thread lift can be seen immediately after the procedure and as this is a minimally invasive procedure, recovery is rapid and time off work is limited to a few days.
The thread lift can be performed under local anesthesia with minimal discomfort. The direction as well as the position of tissues requiring maximal lifting is marked based on the patient’s desired effect. An anesthetic cream is then applied. This is followed administration of local anesthetic in the areas to be treated. Depending on the specific areas to be treated, long (Woffles threads) and/or short barbed threads are then carefully placed. A long specially designed needle is used to precisely guide the placement of the barb sutures. The barbed sutures are then threaded through the open end of the needle and firmly fixed the tissues in a lifted position with removal of the needle. The tissue would be secured in the lifted position by the barb sutures which is suspended to the stable and unyielding tissues of the temple. The number of threads needed depends on the desired correction as well as the degree of laxity of the tissues to be treated. The ends of the threads are cut and buried. No incisions or cutting are needed for this procedure and no scars will be seen. The procedure typically takes 30 to 40 minutes and the effect can be seen immediately.
For optimal results, the thread lift may be combined with fillers and botox. Fillers are used to correct the deflation that occurs with aging and botox to relax the facial muscles that becomes hyperactive with aging. These can safely and effectively be done at the same time as the thread lift.
Expected recovery and post-operative care
The cheeks are lightly taped with transparent tapes for a few days. Antibiotic ointment is applied to the needle puncture sites. Slight surface irregularities may be present after the procedure and these usually spontaneously disappears as the swelling subsides.
Patients may feel that the cheeks are tight for a few days. Patients are encouraged not to forcibly stretch the treated area. Vigorous massage of the cheeks or chewing are to be avoided and patients should not lie on the cheeks for the first 2 weeks after the procedure.
As this is a minimally invasive procedure with no cutting, recovery is quick with minimal down time. The treated area may be swollen for a few days. Bruising is usually minimal and patients are able to return to work and social activities within a week after the procedure.
Thread lifts when done correctly is a very safe and effective procedure. However, there are potential risks. During insertion, the needle may hit a blood vessel and bleeding may occur. This can be treated with pressure at the site of the bleeding and the bleeding usually stop after compression for several minutes. Rarely, minor infections occur and these can be treated with antibiotics. The threads may also be removed in the event of an infection.
Long-term results and longevity of the procedure
The thread lift is a minimally invasive procedure developed to deliver a conventional facelift type results without the need for cutting or surgery. This allows for rapid recovery, which is a key benefit of this technique.
As tissues have not been excised, excess tissues remains and a degree of recurrence of the sagging may occur over an extended period of time. Typically the sagging may recur after 1 to 2 years. When this happens, a touch up can be done and the procedures repeated to maintain the desired results of the procedure.
For a detailed discussion of the procedure as well as to review before and after photos of the procedure, please visit us for a consultation.