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As you grow older, your body’s collagen production slows down, which in turn causes your skin to loosen and develop wrinkles. These are especially noticeable in the facial area, which can make you look less attractive to your peers.
Just a few years ago, the only solution available to rejuvenate and tighten your skin was to undergo facelift surgery. Although injectables exist that help in tightening the skin, these are not effective long-term solutions. Surgery was the only choice for people that needed a semi-permanent solution, and not a lot of people were willing to go under the knife.
Thanks to medical research, a non-surgical face lifting solution has been developed with long-term effects and little to no downtime – thread lifts. To know more about thread lifts, keep reading and determine if this is the right procedure for your needs.
What are Thread Lifts?
A thread lift is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure where temporary sutures (or “threads”) are inserted under the skin to create a tightening effect or “lift” on the skin tissue. Unlike facelift surgery, where the surgeon directly cuts off the loose skin, thread lifts elevate the loose skin by stitching parts of it together. This gives the skin a tighter, firmer look by pulling back the skin.
Thread lifts also leads to a large amount of collagen to the target skin are and stimulates an increase in its production. Collagen is the main structural protein of the skin and is responsible for a lot of factors that keep the skin looking young, firm, thick and strong. The increase in collagen production rejuvenates the skin and gives it a younger look. It is also used by the body for healing wounds and helps strengthen the form of the skin. This is one of the main reasons that wrinkles and loose skin develop as we get older. The skin grows weaker which in turn makes it harder to support the tissues underneath. Gravity pulls the skin downwards and creates loose skin. Thread lifts help prevent this event from progressing further and would give a lifting effect that lasts for a long time.
Good Candidates for Face Threading
The best way to determine if you’re a good candidate to undergo a facial thread lift is by visiting your doctor and getting a full consultation and checkup.
In general, though, a good candidate for the procedure is someone who:
- Have had the same procedure before and whose effects are starting to wear off
Thread lifts have long-lasting effects but are not permanent. If you have had face threading before, it is standard to undergo it again after 1 or 2 years to keep your skin tight and firm.
- Has minimal signs of ageing
Thread lifts are recommended if the patient has only a slightly saggy or droopy skin in the neck, cheeks, jowls, or brows. The procedure is a good choice for men and women aged 40 to 60 years old.
- Desires a more youthful, rejuvenated look
If you work in entertainment, the media or another industry where your looks are important, then thread lifts are a great option for you. Not only does it give your face a more youthful appearance, the procedure has almost no downtime and you can resume work in just a few days.
Advantages of a Thread Lift over a Facelift Surgery
Here are some advantages of a thread lift procedure has over traditional facelift surgery:
- Dramatically reduced recovery time
Facelift surgery has a long recovery time (around two to three weeks) since it is an invasive procedure and would take time for the incisions to heal. A lot of facelift patients also need constant assistance from a caretaker for at least 2 days after the surgery. Patients also have to miss at least one or two weeks from work for recovery.
On the other hand, thread lift patients have very little downtime after the procedure. Since the procedure is done under local anaesthesia, instead of general anaesthesia for facelift surgery, a patient can look after themselves after. While there will be some redness and soreness, this wears off after a few days and will not interfere much with your normal activities. There is no need to take pain killers as the pain is bearable compared to facelift surgery.
- Lower risk of complications
Since thread lifts are non-invasive procedures, there is very little risk of bruising, bleeding, scarring and other complications. If ever irritation or infection does occur, the sutures can be easily removed by the surgeon.
When undergoing any kind of surgery, there will always be some risks of complications such as infection and hematoma. If you want treatment with minimum risk, thread lifts are your best option.
- More affordable
A thread lift is a less complex procedure compared to facelift surgery. This makes it also a less expensive procedure for the alternative. There is also less anaesthesia needed as well as aftercare.
How Thread Lifts Work
Thread lifts utilize threads that have barbs or cogs and are inserted in a specific trajectory to create a lifting effect on the skin. These threads also stimulate collagen production and improve the firmness of the skin.
There are different types of thread lifts available in Singapore – most common of which are the PDO and Silhouette thread lifts.
The threads used in these procedures are made of one of three materials:
- PDO – polydioxanone, the most common material used in sutures and have long been used for their reliability and safety.
- PLLA – Poly-L Lactic acid, which is a desirable material for a support structure of the skin
- PCL – Polycaprolactone, a relatively new material that are supposedly stronger than PDO threads. These are currently being limited for use only in nose thread lifts.
What to Expect
Before the procedure, a thorough checkup is first done by the doctor to ensure that the patient is ready and prepared for the thread lift. The doctor would also take some “before” pictures for reference and comparison.
The doctor then uses a marker to indicate the points of insertion of the threads. A local anaesthetic is then administered on the facial area to numb it, and to prevent the pain from the procedure.
Using a needle, the entry points of the threads are created, after which each thread is inserted carefully to lift the skin and fat tissue. After all the threads have been inserted, the excess threads are trimmed, and the procedure is finished.
The whole procedure should take around 25 to 35 minutes to finish. Depending on your pain tolerance, there may be very little to no downtime at all after the thread lift. Several patients of mine even had the procedure during their lunch breaks and come back to their jobs immediately after.
Expect some soreness and swelling around the entry points but these should disappear in a few days. The effects of a thread lift can last for up to 1 or 2 years and a follow-up thread lift is recommended after.
Since thread lifts are minimally invasive procedures, there is a relatively fast recovery period. Swelling and bruising might occur directly after the procedure, but these usually go away after a few days. Pain killers can help to manage the aching but are not necessary.
There is also no need to follow a diet and exercise regimen, and effects can be observed as fast as a week after the thread lift. It is also advised that the patient undergo a follow-up assessment and consultation with your doctor to ensure that no complications occur. Your doctor may also advise you to have a follow-up thread lift or another similar procedure for better results.
The threads left under your skin will dissolve naturally after a few months so a follow-up procedure to remove them is not needed. It is generally safe to leave the threads inside although there may be a rare chance of having complications. From the follow-up consultation, your doctor will inform you if there are any complications, such as:
- Asymmetry – this happens when there is an uneven or irregular insertion of threads which could result to one side of the face becoming more tighter than the other side.
- Infection – the risk of infection is very low as long as proper aseptic technique is observed by the doctor during the thread lift.
- Puckering and Rippling – rippling might occur on the skin if the threads are inserted unevenly, although it might also be caused by overtightening. In the case of over tightening, the issue should go away in a week.
- Granuloma – this happens when the thread is placed too close to the skin surface and might stick out or irritate the skin. Consult your doctor or clinic if this happens so that corrective measures may be undertaken.
Thread lifts are a very popular option for Singaporeans when it comes to rejuvenating the face and achieving a more youthful appearance. Since it is a non-invasive procedure, people are more willing to undergo it in contrast to traditional facelift surgery. Faster recovery time is another important factor that makes it a more appealing option for a lot of Singaporeans.
There is still a chance for complication though, so always remember to visit your doctor and ask for a full checkup before the procedure. Be sure to choose a doctor or clinic that is trusted and have a good history of satisfied customers.
For a full-face threadlift, expect to pay anything in the region of $2000-5000.
The cost depends on several factors, such as:
- The type of thread used
- Your skin laxity
- The doctor or clinic offering the thread lifts