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Thread Lifts; Myths, Risks and Alternatives

Debunking the myths behind Thread Lifts and discussing safer alternatives.

Tagged: Skin Rejuvenation

Date: 17th February 2023

Medically Reviewed by:  Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396)

Last reviewed: 18th October 2023

Thread lift has become a buzzword in the world of aesthetics, touted as a less invasive alternative to surgical facelifts. With promises of a quick fix and minimal downtime, it's no wonder that this procedure has skyrocketed in popularity recently. But what are the risks, and why are many doctors encouraging for the procedure to be banned? Are there alternative options that can achieve similar or better results?

What is a thread lift?

A thread lift, also known as a feather lift or the lunchtime facelift, is a non-surgical facelift procedure that involves inserting dissolvable threads into the skin to lift and tighten sagging skin. The threads are made from a biocompatible material that is absorbed by the body over time. The procedure takes around 30 minutes to an hour, and results can last for up to two years. 

After local or topical anaesthetic is applied, the threads are inserted into the face using needles, into the areas you are looking to tighten. Painless barbs grab on to the tissue to tighten and lift your skin. The threads also stimulate your body’s natural healing process increasing collagen. This gives your skin a more plumped appearance. 
 
The downtime is minimal, and you can expect any swelling or bruising to resolve within 2 weeks. 

 

Who is suited to a thread lift?

Thread lifts are best suited for those with mild to moderate skin laxity, in their 30s-50s, or those who are looking for a non-surgical alternative to a face lift. It is also important to remember that the procedure is not painless. 

Dangers of thread lifts

Unfortunately, thread lifts have a high risk of complications in comparison to other procedures. A 2021 study shows in a group of 190 patients, 40.5% experienced skin dimpling, 16.8% had irregular contouring and 2.1% had hyperpigmentation. There Medical complications included 8.9% who had infections, 5.3% who experienced thread extrusion and 2.6% who had facial paralysis.  
 
The risk of infection in thread lifts, in comparison to alternative procedures is a serious downside. The insertion of the threads can create an entry point for bacteria, which can lead infection. The multiple entry points heighten the risk of infection. In some cases, infection can be severe and require further intervention. 
 
The threads can also migrate or break, which can result in uneven lifting or visible threads under the skin. In some cases, the threads can cause an allergic reaction. 
 
One of the main reasons thread lifts have such high risks attached to them, are that they are often performed by unqualified practitioners. If you are considering a thread lift, make sure you consult a fully qualified surgeon. 

Alternatives to thread lifts

There are several alternative procedures that can achieve similar or better results than a thread lift, without the risks. If you’re open to surgical options, consider a mini facelift, which involves a small incision and the removal of excess skin to lift and tighten the face. This can also be combined with fat transfer to keep skin looking plump and youthful. 
 
If you’re looking at non-surgical options, there are a few treatments. If your concerns are fine lines and ageing, consider injectables such as Botox, Sculptra, and Profhilo. If you’re concerned about slack skin, Morpheus 8 or Neogen can both tighten and lift the face and neck, without being invasive as either a thread lift or a facelift. 
 
While thread lifts may seem like a quick and easy fix for sagging skin, the risks should not be taken lightly. It's important to understand the procedure and its potential drawbacks. Alternatives such as a mini facelift or injectables may be safer and more effective for treating your concerns. Always consult with a fully qualified cosmetic surgeon before making any decisions about your appearance. 





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