The Thread Lift procedure, also called "one-hour facelift" by the operation’s time, is a facial plastic procedure that is performed by using a small incision with different types of thread barbs in order to pull the muscle underneath the skin. The most common areas used with thread lift are the brows, jaw line and nasolabial folds.
There are two main thread lift procedures that are being used in the U.S., The Contour Thread Lift (unidirectional section) and The Feather Lift or Optos (bidirectional section). Both of these procedures are being performed in a one hour or less of operating time by using a local anesthesia while the traditional facelift uses general anesthesia or deep sedation. Facelift requires the surgeons to remove excessive fatty tissue or skin for a better overall look while the “lunch break” thread lift does not require that extensive work and its marketers claim that due to a shorter operating time it is a less invasive and guarantee a faster recovery.
Our doctor, a New York based double board certified facial plastic surgeon questions the validity of some of these claims. The procedure itself provides a short-term improvement and is less sustainable comparing to a real facelift procedure. Although it is relatively cheaper than a full facelift surgery, thread lift carries more complications, risks and post-operative side effects that may more than balance the price difference. For example, some of the threads have many small barbs along the main string. When the surgeon inserts them underneath the skin to the preferable area(s) the barbs will hook to whatever they can while the muscles are being pulling back (usually along the temple line). Over time, this can change the desirable degree of lifting and create an asymmetrical look. It sometimes even relocates itself as a result of the patient’s ongoing facial expressions. Patients often feel a dull headache or tension in face (cheeks) or in the temporal areas. Some develop a chronic pain or headache. The small improvement is not worth the price and problems you may experience from a thread lift surgery.
These are the possible risks and complications of the Thread Lift:
- The sutures can brake inside the skin.
- The barbs might scratch the facial nerve(s) creating pain and numbness sensation.
- Excessive bruising and swelling.
- The threads become visible through the skin.
- Recovery time may take much longer than expected due to the complication(s).
- It can attribute to post-operative edema and inflammation.
- High chance of collagen scar tissue formation around the barbs/hooks.
- High possibility of tissue damaging if it is necessary to remove the barbs and/or redo the procedure.
Since this procedure created post-operative risks and complications, the Contour Thread Lift procedure is no longer being used in the U.S.
All the different types of thread lifts are going out of fashion because the complication rates are too high and the unnatural appearance of tension lines along the direction of pull is reason enough not to use them, not to mention the possibility of nerve injury from the hooks as this is essentially a blind insertion of the barbed wire or thread without direct visualization of the tissue. Our doctor has many better options with high definition 3D facelifts and rapid recovery lifts which have long lasting effects, are safer than traditional older facelift techniques and most importantly look natural.
For more information on 3D high definition facelifts, see the other sections of this website.