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A non-surgical facelift for smoother, tighter skin.
A thread lift, or suture facelift, is a cosmetic procedure that lifts and tightens the facial skin. Sometimes called the ‘lunchtime facelift’, a thread lift is a non-surgical procedure that does not involve any incisions, just the use of needles to insert sutures.
A cosmetic surgeon from Moscow, Dr Marlen A. Salamanidze, first developed the idea a plastic, non-absorbable suture with very small teeth cut into it along its length. He showed how the barbed suture could act as a support to hold up a drooping facial skin. By the late 1990s, barbed sutures were being manufactured specifically for thread lift procedures. More recently, a wider range of barbed and smooth sutures have been developed for use in a variety of thread face lift treatments.
A thread lift procedure offers a subtle and natural looking lift to your facial tissue (unlike a surgical facelift which permanently removes excess skin). The more threads used, the greater the effect of the lift. The threads will not show under the skin and are made from polypropelene, a material that has safely been used in surgery for many years. The resulting smoothing and lifting of your face will be permanent, though the skin will continue to age making future ageing effects inevitable.
Are you a candidate for a thread lift?
As we age the skin and muscles of the face become weaker and slacker. Cheeks sag, folds of skin gather around the eyes and jowls develop around the jawline. Other factors, such as genetics and lifestyle, also determine the appearance of our ageing faces. Initial thoughts may lead to facelift surgery being considered. However, depending on the severity of the problem, a thread lift may be more appropriate. When only moderate restoration work is required, a suture facelift can raise, contour and suspend the sagging tissues of the face and neck without the scars, discomfort and expense of facial surgery.
Thread lifts can be used to treat specific problems, such as sagging eyebrows or to even out asymmetric eyebrows, or to lift a whole area, such as the soft, sagging tissue on the mid and lower face. “My face looked fine except for sagging cheeks that made me look like a bloodhound,” said one thread lift patient. “The thread lift procedure was simple and straightforward. It simply raised the drooping skin from the inside to lift my cheeks and give my face a more balanced, youthful look.” Thread lifts are not advisable for people with excessively dry or thin skin. Your individual suitability for a suture facelift can be discussed during your initial consultation with the practitioner.
Undergoing a facial thread lift
Needles are used to pass the fine, barbed threads from the scalp, through the layer of fat beneath the skin, down to the area of the face that requires the lift. The threads hook onto the surrounding tissue and become fixed firmly in place. The threads are then pulled to tighten the skin and then the top of the thread is secured with a small suture. The procedure takes up to two hours and, because the procedure is minimally invasive, it is usually performed under local anaesthetic. This has the added benefit of allowing the procedure to be performed while you are aware of what is going on. So you can see the effect of the thread lift and provide the surgeon with helpful feedback as the procedure is carried out.
You will be allowed to go home after the procedure. For the first three days after your thread lift there will be some swelling and bruising and antibiotics will be prescribed. During this time it is wise to avoid eating solids and take care when washing your hair etc. You will not be fully healed inside while you still have the stitches in, so continue to avoid eating hard food that requires forceful chewing, such as apples, and avoid wearing make up or even touching the face. The stitches will be removed after one week. As one woman commented after her suture facelift, “There was very little discomfort during and following the procedure. I was prepared for a week of putting as little strain as possible on my face, so it soon passed – and it was well worth it!”
As with all cosmetic procedures there is some degree of risk associated with the procedure. Risks include a loss of facial symmetry or puckering of the skin. In some instances, you may also be able to feel the threads (though not see them). When undergoing a thread lift procedure it is essential to follow the advice of your practitioner to ensure as successful an outcome as possible and to reduce the risk of complications.
Who should carry out a thread lift?
Despite being ‘non-surgical’, only fully trained and qualified surgeons with experience gained in an establishment registered with the Healthcare Commission (in the UK) should perform a thread lift procedure.
Prices for a thread lift vary depending on the extent of the treatment. The cost for treating a single area will be in the region of £1,500. If a thread lift is something that you are considering, you can discuss all of the issues mentioned here in greater depth during a consultation with an experienced practitioner.
Have your say!
If you've had experience with this procedure then why not leave a comment below and share your thoughts and advice with our readers.