Thread lifts

Published by Sarah Horrocks
Published on 6 November 2007

A thread lift (also called a feather, silk, contour or Russian lift) is a non-evasive surgical procedure that reduces wrinkles and sagging but isn't a face lift and doesn't require hospitalisation. It involves inserting threads under the skin to correct sagging and make the face look younger. Here's our guide...

How it works
Our skin sags naturally as we age. Threads, or sutures, can prevent your skin from going southwards and firm your face, literally by holding it up. There are different types of threads which work in different ways: gold, suspension or smooth threads, which are just like ordinary prolene or nylon stitches; and resorbable/non-resorbable, free-floating, cogged or barbed contour threads made of clear polypropylene (such as APTOS®). Suspension or smooth threads have to be suspended from good anchoring points on the scalp or face. Barbed or cogged threads are lifted and suspended by the surgeon to form a support structure for relaxed skin. Threads measure 0.3 - 0.5mm in diameter and are 8 - 20 cm long. Resorbable threads disappear a few weeks afterwards.

The procedure
First of all, vertical skin tension lines are drawn on the face. Then under local anaesthetic (no hospitalisation required), the surgeon inserts the threads with a needle to force the skin to retract in precise directions. A thorough knowledge of facial anatomy is required to carry out this procedure, especially with suspension threads, so that there’s no danger of damaging any nerves or blood vessels and so that suspension threads are attached to good anchor points that will not give way. The threads are cut at both ends once the desired traction is set. Once the threads are in place (2 or 3 areas can be treated at once), ice is placed over the area to prevent bruising. A thread lift takes under 2 hours to complete.

What you need to know
- It’s practically painless. The area treated may be sensitive for some days. You will need to wash your face very gently and carefully for three weeks in order not to affect the quality of the result.
- After the procedure you can carry on as normal, but don’t do any exercise for three weeks.
- Like any procedure that involves inserting foreign bodies, thread lifts have to be carried out under sterile conditions.
- Aside from the immediate effects, the results continue to show 3 months after the procedure and last for at least 7 - 8 years.
- Thread lifts are designed to firm the lower face, cheeks and temples and treat neck sagging. The tissue that is firmed will also restore a more oval face shape.
- Thread lifts are suited to all skin types. They are never normally rejected and they never normally trouble allergies.
- A thread lift costs between £1500 and £2500 depending on the number of areas treated and the number of threads inserted.

Post-procedure
- Thread lifts leave no scarring; however, there may be bruising/slight swelling afterwards.