Signs of ageing don’t necessarily mean a full-on facelift. As Dr Lisa Chan explains, there’s a more subtle and natural-looking alternative: a threadlift.
Given enough time and gravity, age begins to show on our faces in the form of loose skin, sagginess and loss of elasticity. Procedures such as skin resurfacing and filler injections can combat some of these issues early on, but sometimes a surgical facelift may be required to get the desired results. In between lies a relatively newer procedure: the threadlift. Instead of a full-on surgical approach where loose skin is removed and sutured for a tightening effect, patients who want more subtle and natural-looking results may opt for a threadlift. This procedure utilises absorbable medical-grade sutures to mechanically anchor and lift up sagging skin. As the threads dissolve over the next few months, they initiate a healing process within the body that increases the amount of collagen in the treated areas.
More collagen strengthens the skin, improving its elasticity and reducing wrinkle formation. Various types of sutures are available depending on the area being treated and the required degree of lifting: mono, screw and cog. Mono and screw sutures promote collagen formation and are usually placed in wrinkle-prone areas such as the forehead, around the eyes, upper cheeks, lip corners, and neck, while cog sutures tend to lift up the skin better and are inserted near the hairline to tighten sagging cheeks and jowls.
A typical threadlift procedure is done under local anaesthesia, and will last 30 minutes to an hour. In addition to an immediate tightening and structuring of the skin, gradual improvement in elasticity and hydration can be seen over the next few months. Since the sutures are relatively small, healing of the insertion sites usually only takes a few days. Most patients can go back to work straight after the procedure.
With any injection procedure, swelling and bruising as well as pain may occur. As there’s a risk of suture migration with excessive facial movement, patients are advised to sleep on their backs and not to rub the treated areas vigorously over the next few weeks. There’s also a risk of infection, and care must be taken to keep the treated areas clean. Signs of infection include redness, swelling and fever, and you should notify your doctor immediately.
The threadlift is suitable for patients who have mild to moderate skin laxity, which usually concurs with patients in their late thirties to fifties. Results are less dramatic than a surgical facelift, and can last from one to three years.
In patients who desire not just a lifting effect but also wish to improve volumisation, reduce wrinkles and smoothen out skin tone, other modalities such as injectable fillers, botulinum toxin and light-based therapies may be used to achieve the desired results.