A PDO Thread Lift is a minimally invasive procedure. After numbing and infusion of local anesthesia, the PDO threads are inserted via sharp or blunt tip needles (called cannulas) into different layers of the skin. Once inserted, the threads anchor the skin and smooth fines lines and wrinkles, rebuild collagen, and lift the skin upwards. PDO is polydioxanone suture material that resorbs over 2 months period of time and has been used for years for suturing deep dermal layers in general surgery. Benefits of PDO threads include:
Smoother skin helps fine lines and wrinkles
Builds volume from collagen and elastin regeneration
Last around 2 years
Until recently, the only way to address problems caused by facial skin laxity—such as jowls and drooping cheeks—was a surgical facelift. Skin resurfacing treatments, radiofrequency skin tightening, microneedling, and plasmapen treatment, fillers, and neurotoxin (ex: Botox) can enhance facial appearance. Traditionally, these procedures can be used successfully until facelift surgery becomes absolutely necessary, however, not everyone is willing or able to have surgery. If you're in this group, you'll be happy to know that a new type of procedure has been developed to fill in the gap between noninvasive facial rejuvenation and facelift surgery: The "thread lift."
What is a thread lift?
A thread lift is a type of procedure wherein temporary sutures are used to produce a subtle but visible "lift" in the skin. Instead of removing the patient's loose facial skin surgically, the aesthetic medicine doctor simply suspends it by stitching up portions of it. This has the effect of pulling the skin back slightly and therefore lifting and tightening the face, much like a surgical facelift. In addition to being ideal for lifting the skin, threads combat aging in another way: by provoking the body's "healing response" and causing the body to direct large surges of collagen to treated areas. This is important because of the vital role collagen plays in the aging process.
Collagen helps support "growth factors" that greatly influences the condition of our skin. In addition to being used for wound healing, collagen helps to keep our skin strong, voluminous and supple. As we get older, our bodies gradually produce less and less collagen. This loss of volume and strength is a large factor in the creation of excess skin and wrinkles. As the skin grows weaker, it's no longer able to support the tissues beneath it adequately, meaning that gravity pulls it downwards and stretches it. Infusing the skin of the face with fresh collagen when the signs of skin laxity are still mild can help to both reduce looseness (by thickening and hydrating the skin) and prevent it from getting worse (by strengthening the skin).
In other words, this process provides ongoing and progressive rejuvenation for the facial tissues. Patients who have a thread lift for the purpose of stimulating collagen will notice a gradual improvement in their skin's tone and firmness. While their threads are in place, the body's healing response will be constantly activated because the body will want to "heal" the threaded areas.
What are the advantages of having a thread lift instead of a facelift?
For many patients, the biggest advantage of having a thread lift rather than a facelift is the greatly reduced recovery time associated with thread lifts. When a patient has facelift surgery, he or she must be heavily sedated; as such, the patient must arrange for someone to drive him or her home from the hospital. Most facelift patients also require around the clock assistance from a caretaker for at least three days after they have surgery. Furthermore, if the patient still has children at home, childcare aid may also be needed. Surgical facelift patients usually need to take one to two weeks off of work, too, in order to heal.
Recovery from a thread lift, on the other hand, is comparatively easy. Thread lifts can be performed under local, rather than general anesthesia, meaning that thread lift patients can drive themselves home and look after themselves immediately after having their procedure. While some patients will experience a little bit of 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, leading to the nickname “lunch-time facelift”. Strong pain medication are not needed after having a thread lift, making it easier for patients to return to their normal routine. This procedure is therefore ideal for people who have children at home or those who have busy, demanding careers.
While thread lift recovery is not particularly intensive, patients will still have to take a few minor precautions while healing. It's important to make sure that you don't rub your face vigorously while cleansing it or applying moisturizer for at least a week after having threads placed. You should also try to prop your head up slightly so that you don't roll over directly onto your face while sleeping.
Thread lifts are low risk, thanks to how noninvasive they are. There is virtually no risk of scarring, severe bruising, bleeding or other complications after having a thread lift. In rare cases, patients may experience irritation, infection or their sutures becoming visible under their skin. If this occurs, however, the sutures can simply be removed and the patient's face will return to its prior state.
Finally, because thread lifts are much easier to perform than facelift surgery, they are much more affordable.
The ideal thread lift candidate is usually in his or her late thirties to early fifties. Thread lifts can, however, provide a facelift alternative for older patients who are unable to have surgery for medical reasons. Because thread lifts can be performed under local anesthesia, many people who have age-related conditions that make them ineligible for surgery (like high blood pressure, type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease) can safely have this treatment. If you have any outstanding health conditions, make sure to talk to your doctor about whether or not a thread lift might be right for you.
It's important to understand that while no lifting technique can produce permanent results, facelift surgery will usually produce longer lasting results than a thread lift. The results of facelift surgery can last up to a decade, whereas a thread lift will generally last from one to three years. However, because the thread lift procedure is so low-risk, patients who like the results of their thread lift can usually opt to have a fresh set of temporary sutures placed once their old sutures are absorbed by the body.
PDO threads are sutures that are made from a biocompatible material called PDO, which has been specially designed for safe re-absorption by the body. PDO threads remain in place for about 4-18 months based on the type of thread, after which point they slowly dissolve. Patients can, however, expect to keep seeing the results of their thread lift for a year or more after their treatment. This long-lasting effect arises from the lingering improvement in skin condition that results from collagen infusion.
PDO threads come in several different varieties: Barbed sutures, which are ideal for gathering skin (and therefore producing more lifting action) and straight or spiral (screw) smooth sutures. Smooth sutures produce less of a lift, but they are excellent for collagen stimulation. Patients often have smooth sutures placed in strategic locations around their face (such as the corner of the mouth or along the brows) in order to target common problem areas where the signs of aging become particularly apparent.
Barbed sutures, on the other hand, are placed near the hairline in order to gently pull back the skin and lift the cheeks and jowls.
Having barbed threads for a thread lift placed is relatively quick and easy for the patient. First, local anesthesia will be used to numb the areas that are going to be treated, then a small instrument (a thin cannula or needle) will be used to insert the threads below the skin. This entire process usually takes just 30 to 45 minutes, and the patient is free to return to work afterward.
Getting the most out of your thread lift
Because thread lifts are so low-risk and boast such a short recovery time, it's possible to combine them with other nonsurgical procedures in order to create more comprehensive, noticeable results. Once your skin has healed around the threads inserted during an the PDO thread lift we recommend pairing your thread lift with a treatment with other non-surgical techniques. Consult your MedSpa Solutions doctor to see what other procedures will be right for you.