I have recently been asked whether or not I do “Thread Lift” facelift procedures. The short answer is no, but in light of recent renewed interest in these procedures, it warrants a more complete answer.
The “thread lift” techniques involve tunneling a suture under the skin and using this to pull the skin up, creating a more lifted appearance. The attraction of these procedures, as compared to more conventional surgical lifts, is that they involve minimal surgical scars, shorter operative time and recovery, less cost and, theoretically, fewer potential complications. These procedures first came on the scene about 20 years ago. At that time, permanent suture was being used to lift the face and/or brow. Early results seemed promising, and I was seriously considering offering these procedures as well, until it became apparent that many patients were suffering complications, such as dimpling or distortion of the skin, erosion of the permanent sutures through the skin, and infections, to name a few. The results also were very short-lived in spite of the permanent suture, with most benefits fading away by one year after the surgery. Within 10 years of the procedure first hitting the market, it had basically disappeared from most physicians’ practices.
More recently, two companies have tried to resurrect the thread lift procedure, introducing their own proprietary thread lift products – the Nova Threads and the Silhouette Instalift. Both of these products are variations on the old thread lifts, but now using absorbable suture material as opposed to the permanent sutures. Both companies claim their products initially lift the skin, but then cause tissue reaction that results in new collagen formation, extending the efficacy of the lift up to 3 years.
Now personally, I am not at all convinced that people will see lifting effects that last up to 3 years. We will see, as patients undergo these procedures, if there will be another wave of complications from them. Will the results diminish to nothing by one year post-procedure? Time will tell. But until I am more confident that these procedures are actually safe and effective, I won’t be offering them.
What I will do is continue to offer the best, most natural-looking results I can achieve with surgical facelifts and mini-lifts. For patients looking for non-surgical options, we can consider fillers, either with hyaluronic acid based fillers, or with natural fat. We can also perform various types of laser or chemical resurfacing to improve the texture and appearance of skin. Many options are available, and those can be discussed and an individual plan made, based on each patient’s individual anatomy and goals, during a consultation.
If you have more questions, please contact Dr. Wilke and the team at 952-925-1765.