Thread lifts involve the implantation of threads into the skin that result in sagging tissues being pulled up mechanically. Fibrosis (scar formation) further supports the rejuvenation effects. There are numerous types available, with a multitude of different cog or barbs that help the tissues remain in the lifted position.
Thread lifts are ideal for early skin laxity and can be used to lift the brow area, increase cheek volume, lift jowls and to some extent, lift sagging necks. This thus produces a minimally invasive face lift effect. Some swelling and bruising is to be expected after the treatment, but this generally resolves within a couple of weeks, as compared to 3 months which is necessary for recovery after traditional face lifting. The results generally last a couple of years, following which, additional threads can be inserted.
A trocar is pushed into the skin, deep into the subcutaneous tissues. The thread is then inserted and trocar removed, leaving the thread in place. This is done under local anaesthesia. Complications include infection, asymmetry, threads snapping. Severe fibrosis has also been reported with some thread procedures, so lines of scar tissue are visible to the naked eye.
With the exception of Gold Threads, none of the other thread types have significant effects on skin quality. The “traditional” thread types include: APTOS, Feather and Contour threads. Most are made from surgical suture type material, so the threads can remain in the body safely for life. With Gold Threads, pure 24 carat gold is inserted into the skin, and the body slowly produces new collagen in response. There is also a whitening effect, as well as obvious improvement in skin quality and decrease in pore size.
Threads have also been used for breast lifting and buttock lifting.