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In Singapore, thread lifts are one of the sought-after cosmetic treatments for a wide range of skin conditions as well as for its aesthetic purposes. There are many things to consider when picking a clinic for your thread lift – materials used, specific techniques, overall procedures, etc. Even patients who have gone for thread lifts rarely understand the pertinent aspects of these differences.
Based on my many years of experience, there are patients who had bad accounts of their thread lift procedures that were very painful. They even developed swelling and bruising afterwards. Painful thread lifts are one of the major concerns that patients raise during consultations and one of the factors that patients consider before committing to the treatment.
Over my many years performing thread lifts for all variety of patients, I’ve encountered first hand many of the concerns that inevitably arise during such a procedure. I’m writing this in hopes that I’ll be able to clear up many of the clarifications that patients commonly have and help demystify this particular procedure for all of you guys.
What are thread lifts?
Thread lifts are non-surgical, minimally invasive cosmetic treatments that use dissolvable sutures or “threads” that slightly pull the skin back thus creating a visible “lifted” or a tightened appearance on the skin. These threads also increase collagen production in the target areas where the threads were inserted resulting in tightening and rejuvenation of the skin.
This cosmetic procedure has become increasingly popular because it saves you a lot of procedure and recovery time. Compared to surgical facelifts, thread lifts are:
- More cost-effective – Surgical treatments require general anaesthesia and extra care from your doctor, which translates to higher costs
- Safer – By nature it is a non-invasive procedure which does not require going under the knife.
- Produces more natural-looking results
What do thread lifts treat?
Although there is a wide range of skin conditions that are treated with the use of thread lifts, one of the most common conditions is saggy skin. These skin condition may be caused or influenced by a lot of factors such as:
- Weight Loss
- UV rays from the sun
- Unhealthy lifestyle practices
- Pollution and other factors from the environment
Usually, thread lifts are the top choice for patients who do not want to go under the knife. In addition, thread lifts also tend to be more effective than Thermage, HIFU and Ultherapy treatments that are machine assisted procedures.
What are the different types of thread lifts that are available in Singapore?
In Singapore, there are several types of thread lifts available. Depending on the type required or the available type used by your doctor, the threads can be barbed or non-barbed.
Threads can also come in different thickness and length—all these qualities affect the strength; effectiveness and the cost of the thread lift treatment.
What is the recommended size of threads?
Thread size is highly dependent on doctor preference and size of your brows. Here are some important determining factors -
- Smaller and Thinner Threads
- Can effectively induce collagen production
- Easier to inject because of its size
- May only require numbing cream to ease discomfort
- Minimal downtime and aftercare is needed
- More number of threads are required to achieve the desired results
- Can not be very effective in lifting skin with heavy sagging
- Larger and Thicker Threads
- Can be effective in lifting skin with heavy sagging
- Minimal threads are needed to lift the skin
- Can be combined with threads with barbs and hooks for better strength
- Can cause dimpling and tethering if not inserted correctly
- May damage the deeper layers of the skin because of deep placement
- Requires proper anchoring technique from the doctor
Important to Know:
Different types of threads may be applicable to patients and most of the time may vary depending on your doctor. The key is to have a proper consultation with your doctor so he/she can assess your condition properly.
What is the best thread lift material for me?
Typically, threads are made from different materials such as Polydioxanone (PDO), Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA), polycaprolactone (PCL). These materials are biocompatible with human tissue and can be easily absorbed by the body over time.
- Polydioxanone (PDO)
PDOs have similar material with sutures—the threads used for stitches during surgical operations. Therefore, PDOs are safe and have been used and tested for many years already. From experience, PDO threads can effectively and safely improve the contour of the face, lift the skin in the face, jowls, neck and also increase collagen production in the injected area.
- Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA)
PLLAs are made of a biodegradable material that can be easily absorbed by the body making them a medically safe option. PLLA is a newer option for thread lift material and from experience, I have not really seen a lot of PLLA thread lifts studies and clinical trials yet.
- Polycaprolactone (PCL)
Similar to the other two materials, PCLs are also easily absorbed by the body therefore can be safely used for thread lift procedures. Like PLLA, this material is also a relatively newer option and there have not been a lot of reports to support its effectivity to compare with the well-established material like PDO.
Personally, I advise my patients to go with the more established and scientifically proven material like PDO as their top choice for their thread lifts. Practice-wise, there is more familiarity with PDOs compared to newer options therefore, best results can be achieved without the risk of complications.
How are threads injected into the skin?
Typically, your doctor injects the threads into the skin (usually the face) with the use of a:
- Sharp long needle
- Blunt cannula
- Cannula with a rounded tip
What to expect during a thread lift procedure?
The procedure aims to lift the skin and add contour to the face. A general step by step thread lift procedure are as follows:
- First, the treatment area will be carefully cleaned, and numbing cream will be applied to the treatment area.
- Then, your doctor will inject localized anaesthetic on the treatment area.
- The thread will then be injected into the subcutaneous layer of the skin under the dermis.
Overall, depending on the number of threads to be inserted, the whole procedure takes less than an hour to be completed.
Are thread lifts painful?
Even though it just really comes down to a person’s individual pain threshold, I personally do not recommend general anaesthesia for thread lift procedures because of the inevitable risk profile involved with GA, not to mention the costs.
Generally, an injection of local anaesthesia is sufficient for a painless and comfortable procedure.
When will I see results?
An immediate facelift result can be observed right after the procedure—a similar outcome without going into surgery in an operating theatre and general anaesthesia at a fraction of the price and with zero to minimal downtime.
Optimal results can be observed a few weeks later after the procedure to give time for the new collagen to be produced. Best results will give you a tighter, firmer and rejuvenated skin.
How long will results from thread lift last?
The visible effects of the thread lifts can last from 6 months up until 2 years and it is advisable to undergo thread lift treatment again when you start to feel the effects wear off as your skin will continue its natural ageing process.
How much does thread lift cost in Singapore?
Typically, the cost of thread lifts in Singapore can range from $1,500 - $4,500.
The cost thread lift treatments may vary depending on different factors such as the type and brand of threads, the material of threads, number of threads required to achieve the desired results, doctor’s professional fee and post-treatment medication.
How do I make the best of thread lift treatment?
- Combine Thread lifts with other non-surgical procedures.
Due to the fact that thread lifts are so low-risk and have zero to minimal downtime, they can be combined with other non-surgical procedures to achieve over-all, satisfying results. Ask your doctor what other safety procedures can be used in combination with your thread lift without having to endure the recovery time brought about by surgery.
- Pick the right doctor.
In Singapore, there are a lot of doctors and clinics that offer thread lift treatments. Before committing to one, make sure you are well-informed about the procedure and the doctor has a credible background and extensive training on the procedure. Keep in mind that the success of your thread lift procedure depends mainly on your doctor’s skills and expertise.