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. If by putting 3 fingers on either side of your face and pulling your skin towards the hairline, you have bunching of your skin, then you may need a surgical facelift, as a threadlift may disapppoint.

I admit that even I had hoped threadlifts would be an alternative to a facelift (which cuts away redundant skin), but it isn't. Once you delve into the anatomy and science behind threadlifts you will understand that one is not an alternative for the other. However, I think it completely reasonable to use threadlifts to support the tissue in the earlier stages of ageing and using a combination of modalities (such as dermal fillers), you can achieve very nice results.

The other misconception people have is that you will only need 1 or 2 threads per side to lift your tissue. In truth, each drooped cheek/jowl will require multiple cogged threads. A thread lift is great for a mild/moderate droop but the number of threads to get that lift will range from 6 to 12 per side. This results in a fantastic lower cost, lower risk procedure than surgery and you will achieve a nice lifted and younger shaped face with fresher skin.


What can be treated with a MINT thread lift?

Thread lifts can elevate the eye brows, lessen folds from corners of nose to mouth (nasolabial lines) and folds from mouth to chin (marionette lines), lift mid cheek sagging, lift jowls, contour jawlines, lift sagging skin under the chin, treat sagging skin on the neck and much more. 


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 drop a little over the coming weeks (see question on dropped threads below). Over time your body produces it's own elastic scaffold (collagen) around the thread and this is what gives your thread lift its longeviity.

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 MINT, Silhouette Soft, Aptos and Intraline but these are all variations of different types and shapes. In my clinic I use MINT threads as they are outstanding in quality, lifting capacity and are FDA approved in the USA. This means they are extensively studied and shown to be safe and very effective.

The most popular threads are made from PDO (MINT threads are PDO threads) and this is what we have been using in dissolvable stitches in the NHS for many years. They can also be made from PLLA and PCL but tend to have less lifting capacity than MINT threads. 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 a lot 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 threads by hydrolysis (C02 & H2O) over time.


How long does a thread lift last?

Again this depends. PDO threads tend to give an aesthetic improvement lasting 9-12 months (although they are physically present for about 6 months) I have seen them give an aesthetic improvement for 2 years and more. However the longevity of your results depends on your rate of ageing as your bones, soft tissue and skin will continue to age as the months and years march on. 

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 6 MINT multidriectional cogs per side and this would be around a £1,500 investment and the procedure takes about 60 mins.

It's certainly worth it if you are a suitable patient, as the repositioning of the facial structures creates a youthful face shape and you can return to work the following day.

A 60 year old heavy set lady may require 12 cog threads per side along with some dermal fillers and a repeat treatment 3 months later and this may cost £4,000. 

Dr Kenningham also treats patients who have previously had a facelift with threads and fillers. Please bear in mind, as all good facial surgeons will tell you, facelifts do not last forever. This is because your face and neck will continue to age, so non-surgical tweaks between facelifts are a viable option.


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

There are different types of PDO threads out there. There are cutting cogs and moulded cogs. MINT threads have moulded cogs and so have lifting capacity X4 that of cutting cogs. With MINT threads there can be a small drop a few weeks later but in my experience it is a lot less drop compared to some other high end quality PDO threads I have used in the past. However, 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, just like face lifts don't last forever, neither will threadlifts. It is helpful to understand that even if the natural scaffold promoted by the threads are still there, the neighbouring skin, muscles, fat pads and skeleton have aged with the passage of time so repeat non-surgical adjustments are often desired to maintain a more youthful and fresh appearance. 

Sometimes thread lifted patients require a top up of threads at 3 months. This then improves the longevity of your results. 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. 


Can a MINT thread lift be used with fillers and Botox?
Yes, absolutely. Think of a thread lift like helping the facial ligaments re-suspend the face. Fillers are used to mimic the bone loss, deep fat pad loss and skin hydration. Botox and other toxins are helpful in reducing the lines created by repeated muscle activity. So yes, a multi modality approach is often recommended for the best outcomes. Dr Maeve believes using the combination of threads and fillers means she can keep the front of the face as petite as possible as less filler volumes are required to create an aesthetically beautiful and natural looking result.


How painful is a thread lift?

With every procedure done in clinic, a whole range of pain relieving methods, such as injectable local anaesthetic, local anaesthetic cream, ice, vibrating tools, ultra fine needles and cannulas are used to minimise any form of discomfort. As injectable local anaesthetic is used throughout the procedure, a MINT 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 may wish to take the rest of the day off after the treatment. It’s really very tolerable with most patients saying how surprisingly relaxed they were. Discomfort is often rated about 2 out of 10 in our clinic. 


How long does it take to have a thread lift?

The injectable process usually takes between 30-60 minutes, it depends on where on the face it is preformed and the number of threads needed.


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. Make sure you get an out of hours phone number to call. 

Also it is important to note not all those who offer thread lifts are on a medical register and they are not breaking the law by offering these procedures, even if they report to be "training" clinics. 
Be careful and make an educated and sensible decision as to who you will trust your face with. Aesthetic Doctors have training that enables them to ascertain what is a medical complication and what is not. Please do not have this procedure done by someone who have not got the capacity to diagnose and treat a medical complication. Please make good choices. 


How do I book in for my assessment?

All services are provided by me, Dr Maeve Kenningham, I’m an experienced dermatology doctor and have worked in aesthetics for 10 years. I have a beautiful relaxing clinic in North Wales, 5 miles south of Chester, just off the A483. I will assess your concerns and give an honest discussion about your suitability for a thread lift and your expected results. There is an easy to use electronic booking from the “contact me” section of the website, here’s a link:

Alternatively please call the clinic on a Tuesday, Thursday or Friday and we will book you in. 



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