Spotlight on: the thread lift

As we get older, our overall facial balance and symmetry changes, along with the texture and quality of our skin. We may slowly begin to notice loose and sagging skin, along with increased volume around the jowls and less suppleness around the cheeks and eyes. Welcome to ageing.

While there is a wide variety of surgical and non-surgical procedures available to counter the signs of facial ageing and restore a youthful appearance, thread lifting is a unique solution that can achieve great results for the right patient.

“Basically it’s a more modest alterative to a surgical facelift,” explains Dr John Flynn from Cosmedic & Skin Clinic on the Gold Coast. “The procedure is relatively quick and no cutting or incisions are involved. The medical-grade sterile threads are inserted into the skin via the end of a needle. They integrate into the skin’s tissue and are pulled to produce a lifting effect.”

Thread lifting is an in-clinic minimally invasive procedure designed to elevate the central face and redefine the contours with a shorter downtime compared with facelift surgery, almost immediate results and fewer risks. It is particularly indicated for brows, cheeks, jowls and sometimes the neck.

The threads are absorbable and sometimes involve a special anchoring technique with tiny cogs or barbs, for lifting and re-positioning. While facelift surgery is still the best option for lifting sagging skin and reversing the effects of gravity, smaller procedures such as thread lifting can possibly postpone the need for more radical surgery.

“I always tell my patients that a thread lift achieves 20-30% of lift compared with a facelift,” says Dr Flynn. “While it won’t achieve the same degree of lifting as surgery, thread lifting produces a modest lift and a nice result. It is therefore a good option for younger patients who don’t yet need surgical intervention, for example those in their 40s or 50s,” explains Dr Flynn.

“In our practice we use a couple of different brands of threads, one of which is the Silhouette Lift. I find this is a much easier thread to deploy and the procedure can be performed quickly and effectively for a subtle and refreshed appearance. “The Silhouette Lift can last about 12 months, however if a more advanced technique is employed we quite often achieve results lasting three to five years. Many people wrongly believe that threads don’t last very long, however it really depends on the technique.”

Dr Flynn has pioneered the use of thread lifts in Australia and internationally and stresses that while thread lifting procedures are quite common, the results often come down to the experience and technique of the professional performing the procedure.

“It’s important to remember that threads are just a product and what makes the procedure successful is the technique that is used. Even though there are many practitioners performing thread lifts, I pride myself on using a specific technique, which is key for garnering the best possible results for each individual patient.”

An immediate lifting effect is seen after the procedure, and the results continue to improve over time (three to six months) as collagen is stimulated and produced and contracts around each thread, causing even further lifting results.

Wondering if this could be the procedure for you? Dr Flynn says good candidates are those who are noticing mild to moderate facial sagging, but not loose skin, with good skin tone who aren’t ready or suitable for a surgical facelift. Because internal tissues are not separated from each other, there is much less lifting of the external skin. Recovery is typically therefore relatively quick and little downtime is required.

“The Silhouette Lift offers very minimal downtime – there might be some bruising for a couple of days,” explains Dr Flynn. “In terms of more advanced threading, you may be looking at three to four days of downtime.” “I recommend the thread lift to my patients for the effective lifting results they offer and also their excellent safety profile.”

Benefits at a glance

  • No incisions
  • Immediate natural-looking lifting effect
  • Progressive restoration of collagen
  • Lasts one to several years
  • Quick procedure
  • Minimal downtime