As we age our skin loses collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. The result is fine lines, wrinkles, and laxity or “loose skin.” Areas like the cheeks, eyebrows, jowls, and neck can be strongly affected by sagging skin. Loss of fat pad volume in the mid face further compounds the problem, leading to an overall worn and fatigued appearance to the face. While it might seem like sagging facial areas can only be treated by major, invasive surgeries, having a thread lift is a great alternative for those who aren’t ready to “go under the knife.” Because it’s noninvasive, the thread lift is also a great opportunity to maintain the results of a facelift or neck lift that may have diminished over time.
So, How Does a Thread Lift Work?
A thread lift procedure is performed by inserting state-of-the-art absorbable sutures under the skin using a fine needle or cannula. A thread lift can perform a wide variety of rejuvenation treatments:
- Lift sagging eyebrows
- Lift sagging skin on the cheeks
- Soften deep nasolabial folds (the furrows between the mouth and the nose)
- Soften smoker’s lines (the vertical lines above the upper lip)
- Enhance lip volume
- Lift sagging tissues around the jaws
- Lift sagging tissue on the neck and in some body areas as well
There are different types of absorbable threads used for the thread lift, discussed below. All of the threads at Renew MediSpa are completely absorbable, and they’re composed of materials that stimulate collagen growth and skin healing. A thread lift requires no incisions, and there are no scars that develop afterwards.
Dr. Vuich was trained in thread lifting initially in the United Kingdom by Professor Bob Khanna, a leader in the field of facial aesthetics and the President and Founder of the IAAFA (International Academy of Advanced Facial Aesthetics). Dr. Vuich was also trained in the United States by the American Institute of Aesthetic Medicine. Renew MediSpa offers several types of threads, sometimes used in combination: EuroThreads®, NovaThreads®, and the Silhouette Instalift® sutures.
NovaThreads® and EuroThreads® are two brands of PDO Thread available for use in the United States. They can be used to improve skin laxity on the face or body with a basic, in-office procedure which is quite safe and has negligible downtime. NovaThreads® and EuroThreads® are made out of a dissolvable material called PDO (polydiaxanone), a substance which has been used surgically in the United States for many decades. PDO is widely considered to be one of the safest materials to be implanted in the body.
There are two types of PDO threads: Smooth and Barbed. The smooth PDO threads are placed often in a mesh pattern in the skin, much like a net. This mesh serves as a foundation for new collagen production, allowing the skin around the area to be naturally rejuvenated. The barbed threads also stimulate collagen, but they additionally have an irregular surface that “catches” the skin and is able to reposition it. With barbed sutures patients can have instant results which then improve further as collagen forms around the threads.
EuroThreads also offers a twist suture made of PLLA (poly-L lactic acid)- a potent collagen stimulator which is the same material used for Sculptra® injections.
The thread lift results can last up to a year but possibly longer with the Silhouette InstaLift® sutures. Overall, duration of effect will depend on many factors including
- the number of threads inserted
- the degree of laxity and collagen loss
- the individual patient’s rate of collagen loss/aging- which is dependent on lifestyle, age and genetics
In general, you should expect to need to maintain your results in the same way that you maintain dermal filler and neurotoxin results, for example, with regular adjustments over time according to your aesthetic goals.
Using NovaThreads®, EuroThreads®, or Silhouette InstaLift® sutures doesn’t prevent a surgical option in the future, but it also can be a forerunner to other surgical and non-surgical techniques.
Is Thread Lifting Safe?
The original thread lift came out in the late ’90s and was performed up until the mid-2000s. The procedure fell out of favor due to inferior technology and complications. The biggest problem with the older thread lifts was that they had to be anchored into the scalp, temple, and brow region. The knots for anchoring had to be tied carefully in order to not have the suture release from the anchor site, and the suture was permanent, making any further surgery later in life more challenging. Newer technology utilizing absorbable PDO threads and Silhouette InstaLift® PLLA sutures does not require anchoring to deep tissue structures.
Another challenge with older thread lifts was that the skin could only be pulled in one direction, which made the results appear two dimensional. The older procedures also required over-pulling of the skin to get a good result, making the downtime more significant. The techniques now employed in placing newer threads or sutures leads to a more natural look, with gentle skin repositioning and ongoing collagen stimulation.
Does a Thread Lift Replace Dermal Fillers?
Thread lifts won’t be replacing dermal fillers, because they cannot volumize as much as dermal fillers can. However, using Novathreads®, Eurothreads®, and/or Silhouette InstaLift® sutures in addition to dermal fillers can create a look that is both natural and long lasting.
“Trying to lift ‘too much’ with volume is what creates those big, overblown, unnatural looking upper faces you may see around town or in the media.” says Dr. Vuich “Novathreads®, Eurothreads® , and Silhouette InstaLift® sutures give us the ability to reposition skin gently, without adding unwanted volume. Combined with the judicious use of dermal filler volume in areas such as the mid cheek for example, we are able to provide that immediate gratification of lift and volume along with ongoing collagen stimulation that can lead to improved results over time. When we want to take this to an even higher level, we add platelet rich plasma (PRP) to the mix for what we call the Idun Lift. It’s another way in non-surgical aesthetics that we utilize combinations of procedures to achieve maximum results, without a knife.”
Silhouette Instalift® Sutures
The Silhouette InstaLift® procedure is performed at our Windham center under local anesthesia. This means that small amounts of lidocaine are injected into the skin in the area to be treated, to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. The sutures are carefully inserted into the deeper layers of the skin (the target depth is roughly 5mm). Once those sutures are in place, Dr. Vuich can massage and lift the skin thanks to the bi-directional cones located along the suture. On average, this thread lift takes less than an hour to perform.
The Silhouette Instalift® is a little different from the Eurothreads® and NovaThreads® technique. Although both use absorbable threads, Silhouette Instalift® has absorbable trumpet-shaped cones configured to grab and engage tissue, allowing the sutures to create a lifting and volumizing effect. These bi-directional cones are designed specifically to latch on to tissue effectively.
Silhouette InstaLift’s sutures encourage the production of collagen, giving patients a one-two punch of rejuvenation: the mechanical lift from the suture and the restorative powers of PLLA- (poly-L lactic acid)-a potent collagen stimulating material which makes up about 87% of the suture’s structure. PLLA is the same material that Sculptra® aesthetic is composed of.
How Do I Decide Which Procedure Is Best?
Dr. Vuich will consult with you on which procedure will align best with your goals and expectations. At Renew MediSpa we understand that it can be very confusing when you look at all of the options available for facial rejuvenation. We are experts in helping you navigate your choices and make the best decision you can. Some of the factors taken into consideration in selecting your best course of action include:
- Your personal preference and your past experience with procedures
- Your goals and expectations, which need to be realistic. We have some amazing procedures which can produce “near surgical” results, but we are not surgeons.
- Your anatomy and the degree of sun damage and/or age-related changes and volume loss that you have
- The body region of concern
- Your timetable- how quickly do you need to see improvement
- Your budget
- Any associates medical issues or restrictions you may have
- Your tolerance for “downtime”- things like swelling, bruising and soreness, for example
Recovering from a full facelift surgery can take several months, while recovery from a thread lift can be much shorter. Side effects like swelling, bruising, and tenderness from the thread lift should dissipate after a week.
Dr. Vuich will provide complete post procedure instructions to make sure you have a successful recovery.