The magic thread lift15/02/21
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 behind threads I knew this was unlikely. 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 4 to 8 per side. I must stress thread lifts are not a substitute for a surgical face lift where excess skin is surgically removed, however it is a fantastic low cost, minimal downtime tweak that results in a lifted and younger shaped face with fresher skin.
What can be treated with a MINT thread lift?
I can elevate the eye brows, create "fox eyes", 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, create lift and recontour a bumpy or droopy nose 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.
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 these 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). PLLA/PCL threads can last longer. However this depends on your rate of ageing as your bones and soft tissue continue to age as 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:
- The degree of strength in the skin (older skin needs more rejuvenation and therefor more threads, than younger skin)
- The area that needs treating (jowls may need repositioning and require 6-8 cog threads per side).
- The number and shape of thread needed (1 PDO cog thread is longer and has had more costly engineering than 1 short smooth mono), so 4 cog threads will cost more than 10 smooth monos.
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 nose MINT thread lift costs on average £800 as less threads are needed and the procedure time is around 30 mins.
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 PDO threads. 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 treads 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 thread lifts can be used alongside fillers and Botox as it will create the most natural and impressive final results.
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 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 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 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. Wouldn’t you rather have a doctor 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? 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. Be careful and make an educated and sensible decision as to who you will trust your face with.
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.
FIND OUT MORE FROM MY YOUTUBE VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE