The magic thread lift

15/02/21The magic thread lift

Is it really all we imagine it to be?

A common misconception with thread-lifts is that it requires only a couple threads to completely 'lift' a face. I admit that even I hoped this would be the case, but after delving into the science I knew this was unlikely!  In truth, each drooped cheek/jowl will require multiple threads and 2 or 3 sessions to get a result. A thread lift is great for a mild/moderate droop but the number of threads to get that lift will range from 4 to 8 per side. I must stress thread lifts are not a substitute for a surgical face lift but it's a low cost, minimal downtime tweak that results in fresher looking face and skin.


How do thread lifts work?

This depends on the shape of the thread. There are several types of threads: monos, smooth, barbed, twist, cogs etc. Each shape has an advantage in a certain area of the face, neck and decollete and are chosen when a certain type of rejuvenation is required.

Cog threads work by being inserted from the outer aspect of the face and being tunnelled under the skin to where they need to go. When the cannula is removed a physical lift is seen, however this can be transient (see question on dropped threads below). Your body produces it's own scaffold (collagen) around the thread and so smoother lifted facial contours are seen.

Smooth monos placed under the chin are great for tightening the sagging skin in that area. Like cogs they also produce scaffolding around the thread, which strengthens the skin and reduces sag.


 What types of threads are there ?

There are several companies that manufacture threads and you may be familiar with names like Silhouette Soft, Aptos, MINT, Intraline but these are all variations of different types and shapes. Threads can be made from PDO and this is what we have been using in dissolvable stitches in the NHS for many years. They can also be made from PLLA which is what is sometimes used when hips are repaired. The newest type of implanted thread is PCL and is again used to repair broken bones. All 3 compounds are fantastic as aesthetic implants, as we have used them extensively in medical settings for a long time now, so we know about their safety. They are all very biocompatible (this means that reactions to them are very unusual) and they biostimulate your skin so that your collagen and elastin become more robust and springy, just like young skin. It's reassuring that your body will eventually dissolve and naturally dispose of the thread by-products (C02 & H2O) over time.


How long does a thread lift last?

Again this depends. PDO threads tend to give an aesthetic improvement lasting 12 months (although they are physically present for about 3 months). PLLA/PCL threads tend to give an aesthetic improvement for 2-3 years but the threads are present for 9-12 months, sometimes longer. As you can read the aesthetic improvement outlasts the actual physical presence of the thread.

The good news is you can improve the longevity of your aesthetic result by performing good skincare, keeping out of the sun, eating plenty of fruit and veg, avoiding smoking and by reducing excess alcohol consumption. 


How much does a thread lift cost?

It depends on a number of factors. These include:

On average a 40 year old lady of average weight and mild jowling may require 4 PDO cog threads per side and this would be around a £600-700 investment. It's certainly worth it if you are a suitable patient as you can get really lovely results that last for a couple of years. Some people go straight back to work straight after, although I advise a day off, so there really is minimal downtime. 


How come my cog threads dropped 2 weeks after I had them done???

Cog threads transiently reposition the skin as they hook to the undersurface of the dermis. However, with facial movement these hooks slip and a drop may be seen. But then, over the next 10 days to 3 months, collagen is laid down around the thread and forms a natural scaffold around it. When the thread dissolves, this natural scaffold remains and continues to suspend the facial structures near it, this is why the aesthetic improvements continue even when the threads have dissolved.


Is having a thread lift a one off procedure?

Unfortunately not. It is more usual to have the initial treatment, then 3 months later a few more threads are needed. This then usually gives the 12 month longevity. It is logical that the new collagen that was made from the initial threads are helpful in creating more long term rejuvenation when the second crop are added. You must understand that even if the natural scaffold promoted by the treads are still there, the neighbouring skin, muscles, fat pads and skeleton have aged. 
Also in some cases, when the threads have repositioned the tissue, filler may also be needed to replace lost volume.


How painful is a thread lift?

With every procedure I do in my clinic, I offer a whole range of pain relieving methods, such as injectable local anaesthetic, local anaesthetic cream, ice, ultra fine needles and cannulas wherever possible. As I use injectable local anaesthetic throughout, a cog thread lift is surprisingly tolerable. While some patients will experience a little bit of tightness, soreness, redness and swelling after having a thread lift and therefore wish to take the rest of the day off, most can return to work immediately. It’s really very tolerable and I should know, as I’ve had one myself! 


How long does it take to have a cog thread lift?

The injectable process usually takes just 30 to 45 minutes.


How are threads inserted?

This question is more comprehensively answered if you click the link below that takes you to my YouTube channel. There I have a 10 minute video showing what PDO cog threads look like, how they are inserted and a lot more. 


Is a thread lift safe?

Above all else they are very safe if performed by an experienced and knowlegeable medic. They need to be inserted into the right plane and inserted into the right type of patient. There are risks such as infection, thread extrusion, nerve irritation and puckering. However, you should be advised on how to minimise these risks and who to contact outside of clinic hours if a problem arises. Wouldn’t you rather have a medic dealing with unexpected complications in the comfort of a familiar clinic than have a trip to A&E and wait umpteen hours to see a doctor who may not have medical aesthetic training? Be careful to make an educated and sensible decision as to who you will trust your face with? 


How do I find out more?

Go to the contact me page and there is a booking button. Once this is clicked you'll see the option for booking an appointment, this includes a video assessment as a first step?




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