Thread Lifting At A Glance
- Best Results1-3 sessions
- Treatment Recovery1-4 days
- Procedure Time30 min
- Skin SpecialistNurse
- Duration of ResultsVariable
- AnaestheticTopical, Gas, Numbing Cream
- Back to WorkNext Day
- Cost$$ - $$$
Mint Thread Lifts
I believe that the newer threads are much better than the initial threads a decade ago. Threads work by stimulating your collagen production naturally. They can be combined with dermal fillers, lasers, RF, ultrasound tightening, PRP & microneedling. Monofilament threads such as MINT threads are one of the most effective (& cost effective) threads on the market. The big advantage of threads is that they provide collagen stimulation & lifting without adding volume (bulk) to facial & neck areas. As with all non-surgical procedures, patient selection is critical.
FactsFacts on thread lifting
- This technique uses PDO monofilament threads in key areas of the face & neck
- Treatment areas include the jowls, cheeks, neck & jawline
- Threads can improve skin laxity, tone & reduce wrinkles
- Threads add lifting without increasing volume
- I frequently combine threads with lasers & lifting devices such as RF & HIFU
- Thread lifting takes 20 to 40 minutes to perform
- The effects are maximal at week 10-12 & last up to 6-12 months
- Monofilament threads are best for patients with mild to moderate laxity, early 20s to mid 50s typically
- The most common thread we use is MINT (Minimally Invasive Non Surgical Thread)
How does thread lifting work?
Neocollagenesis. This means stimulation of your own collagen, as opposed to traditional ‘dermal fillers’ – replacement of collagen with hyaluronic acid. There is an age related decline of collagen starting in the mid 20s. In the late 40s to 50s your skin will lose approximately 40-50% of it’s collagen. This results in wrinkles, loss of elasticity & dermal volume.
Threads work in two ways. Firstly they can stimulate collagen by provoking a low grade inflammatory response in the deeper dermal layers. Patients who have a thread lift for the purpose of stimulating collagen will notice a gradual improvement in their skin’s tone and firmness. The second mechanism is to provide lifting of tissue. This can be achieved with more invasive thread lifting techniques using suspension or barbed threads.
What can treads do that dermal fillers can not?
The main advantage of thread is that they have the ability to lift without adding volume– super important for treating areas such as the lower face, namely jowls, accordion lines, neck & the jawline areas.
In the context of facial aging, adding volume to areas that are already ‘heavy’ & sagging will result in greater bulk. Threads have the potential to lift without adding bulk. This is why I combine threads with energy devices such as HIFU (Ulthearpy), & RF Radiofrequency as these modalities provide tissue lifting in the deeper dermal, fibroseptal & SMAS layers. The use of controlled energy & collagen stimulation from threads gives a synergistic effect.
What aesthetic results can be achieved with thread lifting techniques?
The wish list below. Results are best with combination treatments as indicated.
- Heart shaped, higher cheekbone contour
- Exotic, cat eye contour
- Snatched, defined jawline (best combined with chin – neck liposuction & filler)
- Softer smile lines
- Softer eyebrows
- Smoother neck lines (best combined with filler)
What area can be treated with threads?
Despite what you may see on websites – social media, I confine threads to key areas of the face & neck. The reason is that they have a much higher probability of working in these regions.
I do not advocate threads in the hands, arms or lower extremities as there are many other treatments that work better in these areas.
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How long does it take to perform a thread lift?
This depends on the number of monofilament – PDO threads and the speed of the operator. On average it takes one minute to insert 3 to 4 threads. Hence an average sitting of say 100-140 threads will take about 30 to 40 minutes.
Who is the ideal candidate for thread lifting?
Patient selection is critical for great outcomes. The ideal candidate will have a medium to thick layer of skin (dermis). Thin skin will result in ‘thread show.’ If skin & the associated subcutaneous tissue (fat layer) is too heavy, threads will have limited capacity to lift.
Experience counts when it comes to patient selection. A consultation with my clinical nurses will give you an understanding as to the expected results. In some cases we can compound the effectiveness of thread lifting using energy devices such as lasers, RF or even ultrasound.
The ‘ideal’ profile for thread lifts – age late 20s to early 50s. Medium density skin, medium sag, medium facial fat. Most patients over the age of late 50s will most likely benefit from true surgical face lifting. Thread lifts can, however, provide a facelift alternative for older patients who are unable to have surgery for medical reasons. Because thread lifts can be performed under local anesthesia, many people who have age-related conditions that make them ineligible for surgery (like high blood pressure, type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease) can safely have this treatment.
How does LIFTING benefit ageing & aesthetics?
There are three main factors to address in the context of rejuvenation, namely improving skin quality (texture), tone (lifting- tautness), & volume replacement.
Here is an important concept to understand (if you want to look natural & not OTT or weird).
Thread lifting addresses skin TONE or skin sag. This term refers to the upward and backward movement of loose skin. This ‘vector displacement’ reduces mild jowling, droopy eyelids (to a degree) as well as the lines between your mouth and nose. Lifting does NOT replace volume, nor does it treat skin quality.
Ideally all three factors should be addressed. Skin quality is best treated with lasers or peels. Skin volume by dermal fillers or fat transfer, & skin tone with threads, lifting devices such as HIFU- RF or surgical modalities.
The challenging bit is to provide a bespoke treatment plan based upon the patient’s presentation & also one’s skill sets to give a harmonious aesthetic balance.
How predictable are the results?
If the correct candidate is preselected, thread offers a good to excellent degree of predictability. Results will depend on the clinical findings (degree of laxity, degree of sagging, heaviness of sag, associated sun damage, skin health, internal health), the number of threads & also associated treatment modalities (HIFU, RF, Laser, Fillers).
90% of patients will achieve a pleasing result after threads (provided patient selection is adhered to). Conversely, 10% will not be happy with the end result. In this group, the best treatment is a surgical face lift (either short scar face-neck lifting or a deep plane facelift).
What other procedures are combined with thread lifting?
Thread lifts are best combined with other collagen stimulating procedures. These can be laser based if there are textural changes (for example fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, pigmentation), or energy devices such as RadioFrequency (RF), RF Microneedling or HIFU (HIgh Intensity Focused Ultrasound). Lasers and energy devices can compound collagen stimulation, further improving the results of mono thread lifts.
How long will the results last?
Realistically, 4-6 months. Yes, the information you get from other websites will state up to a year or longer, however the truth is that most cases last around half a year. In some cases it can last longer, in others shorter. It is virtually impossible to pick which patients will have a longer than expected result.
Who performs the threads?
Monofilament PDO threads are performed by my nurses. These threads are not barbed. I perform the more complex suspension – barbed threads as this type of lifting requires a deeper placement of threads.
What threads do I use?
My nurses and I use 7 different types of threads for lifting. The most common thread type we employ is MINT (minimally invasive non-surgical thread). As a guide-
- Monofilament (Mono) single & double helical accounts for the majority of threads we perform. These treads are non-barbed.
- MINT barbed – suspension threads (various).
- Silhouette conical threads (various).
Is thread lifting painful?
Yes, that is why we offer nitrous oxide gas or laughing gas. This makes the procedure tolerable. In some cases we may pre-med you with light sedation.
When will I see results?
4-8 weeks. For the first week you will experience swelling. This will subside after 5-8 days. Collagen stimulation will then follow, maximal at week 8 to 16.
How long will I take to recover?
A few days for swelling to decrease, bruising may take 5- 7 days to settle. The thinner your skin, the higher the chance of bruising. Bruising is almost universally seen if threads are placed in the neck area. We often employ a vascular laser after the procedure to reduce bruising (speeds up recovery by up to 70%).
What are the side effects of thread lifting?
Side effects are very rare following monofilament threads (compared to suspension-barbed threads). These include-
- Swelling (common): Last 1-4 days
- Bruising (common): Can last up to one week, especially neck area
- Asymmetry (mild): Easily corrected. Depends on which side you sleep on
- Dimpling (mild): more common with suspension threads such as Silhouette
- Pain (mild, uncommon)
- Infection (extremely rare)
- Thread show (if you have vv thin skin)
How safe is it?
MINT™ threads are made from a complex sugar polydioxanone or PDO – a safe suture material that has been used in surgeries for over three decades. years. This PDO suture has been cleared by both the FDA in the US, & the TGA in Australia.
Will threads be broken down with lasers, peels or other devices?
No. The melting point of threads is over 110 degrees. Lasers & even the most powerful energy devices reach a maximum of 69.8 degrees, well below the melting point of threads.
The level of thread placement is hypodermis (in the fat layer). In contrast, lasers treat the epidermis & upper dermal layers.
We have noticed that combination therapy gives the best results, as this enables collagen stimulation & contraction to occur via different sources. For example, PDO threads stimulate ‘cold’ collagen production, whilst heating devices such as radiofrequency & ultrasound provide ‘warm ‘(69 degree) collagen stimulation.’ Lasers on the other hand provide remodelling of collagen by cytokine & growth factor release from the upper layers of skin & collagen stimulation in the dermal layers.
My nurses will guide you as to the suitability of lasers, RF and Ultrasound to compound the results of threads.
Can thread lifting replace a face lift?
No. Surgical lifting of the deep plane and SMAS is still the gold standard. I can achieve excellent ‘wow’ results with suspension – barbed threads, but the results will only last a few months. The fundamental reason why treads can never replace surgery is that the plane of lift for threads is in the subcutaneous fat. In comparison the plane of face lifting is in the much deeper plane, namely plication of muscles & SMAS.
I can plicate the proximal threads to more stable areas such as periosteum (bone), however the shift is then on the distal end (in the fat). This is the reason behind the short (6-9 months at most) effects of thread lifting.
What are the advantages of having a thread lift instead of a facelift?
For many patients, the biggest advantage of having a thread lift rather than a facelift is the greatly reduced recovery time associated with thread lifts and the associated costs of surgical procedures. As a guide, proper face lift procedures (deep plane facelift) by a specialist ranges from 20-30,000 dollars. Threads are about one tenth the costs.
The healing time post face lifting ranges from 7 to 14 days. Recovery from a thread lift, on the other hand, is comparatively short, albeit bruising and swelling for a few days.
Thread lifts can be performed under local, rather than general anesthesia, meaning that thread lift patients can drive themselves home and look after themselves immediately after having their procedure. While some patients will experience a little bit of soreness, bruising & swelling after having a thread lift and therefore wish to take the rest of the day off, most can return to work within 24 to48 hours. Strong pain medication is seldom needed after having a thread lift, making it easier for patients to return to their normal routine. This procedure is therefore ideal for people who have children at home or those who have busy, demanding careers.
Thread lifts are low risk, thanks to how noninvasive they are, especially for monofilament Mint threads. There is virtually no risk of scarring, severe bruising, bleeding or other complications after having a thread lift.
Advantageous though thread lifts are, it’s important for patients to maintain realistic expectations. Thread lifts are therefore best suited to patients who are dealing with mild to moderate, rather than severe, signs of skin laxity. Threads do not replace surgery, they are however a cost-effective & effective stepping stone in the journey of anti-aging medicine.
Can I fill & thread lift in the same appointment?
I do perform dermal fillers and threads in the same appointment slot, however I place fillers a minimum distance of 2 centimeters from threads if they occupy the same plane of placement. In some cases I do place fillers BELOW the treated plane of threads on the same day.
In most cases Botox can be used on the same day. The exception is if we anticipate a lot of swelling, as this can lead to diffusion of the injections. Superficial lasers & energy devices can be performed on the same day/appointment as thread lifting.
How much does this procedure cost?
Costing will depend on the area treated & the number of threads used. As a guide, between $800 to $2490 per session. A more accurate estimate can be given after a consultation.
For an obligation free consultation, book an appointment with one of our clinical nurses at Clinic Cutis. My highly skilled nurses perform monofilament threads, I perform the more complex & invasive suspension – barbed thread lifts.
Davin’s Viewpoint no Monofilament Threads & Mint PDO
Monofilaments are underutilized in facial aesthetics. Even though there is a lack of good evidence (big trials, long follow-ups, standardised techniques), it is well known amongst specialists that threads can give good results – providing patient selection is accurate. Thread lifting is not for everyone. You must have dermal thickness that will hide the thread (more important with barbed threads), and the distal area must be pliable enough to lift. For example; heavy jowling will not lift with this method.
Threads are best combined with other modalities such as lasers (for improving surface changes & skin quality), energy devices such as HIFU or RadioFrequency as well as dermal fillers & muscle relaxants (Btx). With combination treatments, a synergistic effect is seen.
A final comment is that the duration of ‘thread lifting’ is not predictable. Maximal collagen stimulation is seen at week 8-12, thereafter there is a time associated degradation of PDO-threads. Even though companies say they last one year plus, in my experience, obtaining 6-9 months lifting is considered good.
In summary, patient selection is critical for predictable outcomes when it comes to thread lifts. They do not replace surgical efforts, however they can be a sensible stepping stone in the pathway of aesthetic dermatology.
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