Patients who are concerned about facial aging and do not want a full facelift often ask about thread lifts. Thread Lifts have been performed for a number of years in the United States. Similar to a facelift and neck lift, the goal of a thread lift is to tighten the face to result in a smoother and more youthful appearing face and neck.
One of the reasons why people ask about a thread lift is that it appears to be a less invasive alternative to a facelift.
What is a Facelift?
A standard facelift surgery is usually reserved for patients over the age of 50, although this varies depending on the skin and signs of aging. Dr. James Bonaparte often sees younger patients about facial aging, particularly the neck and jowling, who are looking for options. Many people are interested in a facelift but we often discuss alternatives. However, Dr. Bonaparte has performed facelifts in patients as young as 40 years old. The benefit of a face lift and neck lift is that the results can be dramatic and are permanent, however the skin and face will continue to age over time and patients can start to notice new age related features.
A number of procedures can be used as alternatives to a facelift. Dermal fillers like Juvederm are often used for this purpose. Fillers can have dramatic effects and can have great results, however the results are temporary (1-2 years). Fillers however are an excellent alternative to a facelift in many patients.
Another option is a “thread lift.” A thread lift has been appearing in the news more and more these days. It is considered a less-invasive alternative to a facelift. In the 1990’s, thread lifts relied on permanent material that was placed under the skin. The issue with this, was that long term complications can occur and they can be very difficult to repair. In addition to this, infections were common and could result in considerable side effects. Surgeons turned to absorbable threads similar to absorbable sutures. The problem with the absorbable sutures is that the results typically last up to 6 months only.
Published research looking at thread lifts is also critical. A study in The Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery (2009, Abraham et al) evaluated the long term effects and demonstrated no real improvement in the signs of aging. In fact, many surgeons believe the changes are not due to the threads but the swelling that comes along with the threads after surgery.
What are the Differences Between a Facelift and a Thread Lift?
- Healing Time – 2-4 weeks with long term healing taking up to 1 year
- Permanent results
- Surgical Procedure
- Can take 2-3 hours to perform
- May require general anesthesia
- Results can be dramatic
- Healing time: 2-3 weeks
- Results last 6 months
- Non Surgical
- Less than 1 hour procedure time
- Does Not Require General Anesthesia
Facelift or Thread Lift?
All patients would like the easiest, least invasive procedure with the greatest effect, however a facelift is still the best way to achieve these results. Although a Thread Lift may seem like a good idea, the outcomes are poor and likely not to last. In fact, a thread lift lasts less time than fillers like Juvederm. As a Head and Neck Surgeon Practicing Facial plastic surgery, Dr. Bonaprte is an expert at the facelift procedure and other forms of facial rejuvenation. A consultation will help determine the best solution for you.