Staying at the forefront of scientific development and innovation with the treatments we offer is our thing—it’s why our stellar team is made up of MDs, RNs, RPNs and medical aestheticians. When it seems like new technologies crop up every week, we have to strike the right balance between providing state-of-the-art treatments to our patients and taking the time to ensure that what we offer is backed up by scientific evidence and guaranteed to deliver results. Basically, we didn’t come here to play.
That’s definitely the case with thread lifts. You might have first heard about this treatment a few years ago when it was endorsed by Gwyneth Paltrow (seriously though why is it literally always Gwyneth?). Her vocal support was met with a lot of skepticism not only in the press, but from beauty bloggers and medical professionals alike. There were questions about side effects at the time, including scarring and splitting sutures, that left a lot of surgeons wondering if it could really be an effective treatment.
Fast forward a few years and, thanks to more development in treatment protocols, we know now that thread lifting can be a safe and totally successful procedure. Best of all, thread lifts are really versatile and can do everything from lifting sagging skin, to shaping the eyes, the brow, the jaw and more. Our resident thread lift expert Dr. Chbat started performing thread lifts this month and the results have been pretty amazing—more on that below.
It used to be the case that when we were looking to create lift non-surgically one of our tools was dermal filler. And in some cases, filler can still be a great option for patients who want to create a bit of lift and are also looking to address volume loss in the face, which happens naturally as we age.
So what’s the deal here? Does this mean a thread lift is always better than filler? Now that we have thread lifts are we turning our backs on filler, our ride or die partner for so many years? Could we really be so cruel?
Of course not! Nothing in life is that simple. Here’s what you need to know about these different treatments and what they can do for you.
How a Thread Lift Works
A thread lift is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses PDO threads under the skin’s surface to lift tissue on the face and neck. PDO threads are what we use in some of our surgical procedures at The Plastic Surgery Clinic and they dissolve after about 6-9 months as they are naturally absorbed by the body. This is one of the advances that happened post-Gwyneth, whereas the procedure she endorsed used permanent suture materials that are associated with a higher risk of infection (ummm… no thanks).
The threads are carefully and strategically inserted under the skin’s surface and then repositioned to lift the skin, creating the desired look or shape. After the threads have done this actual lifting, your body’s healing response kicks in, stimulating the natural production of collagen that continues for as long as a year after your treatment. While you’ll see an immediate result from the lift of the threads right after your procedure, your full results will be more apparent 4-6 weeks later when that new collagen comes into play.
This also means that even after the threads have dissolved, your results will continue to last. Thanks to the new collagen and fibrotic tissue that your body produces, you naturally maintain the lifted look without even trying. Thank you, science 🧪
Thread lifts are commonly used to reduce sagging in the mid face, especially around the nasolabial folds; create a brow lift; reduce heaviness in the eyelids; sharpen the jawline or reduce sagging or jowling in the lower face; tighten the neck; create a more almond shaped eye; and achieve a “lip flip” look. These are just some of the things we can do, but it really is a versatile procedure, so definitely talk to us if you have another lift-related concern not mentioned here.
What Do Thread Lift Results Look Like?
In a word: incredible. But seriously, they do look great, and best of all they look really natural. Let’s take a look at a couple of cases to see just how natural.
This beautiful patient wanted to soften her nasolabial folds and reduce heaviness in her lower face. She has great skin and amazing bone structure and wanted to accentuate her cheekbones, too. Dr. Chbat achieved this gorgeous result on the same day with a thread lift, and her results will continue to improve in the weeks to come.
The patient below is shown one week after her thread lift to the cheek and jaw area, with a primary focus on the marionette lines around the mouth. You might notice that she still has a little bit of bruising on one side, which is normal and something Dr. Chbat will discuss with you during your consult. Her results will continue to improve as her collagen builds, too, but already you can see how much smoother her areas of concern look.
Okay What About Filler?
We will always love filler for everything it can do. Filler is so great for boosting volume, whether you’ve lost it over time, or you simply want a little more in the lips, cheeks or chin to create a more sculpted, contoured look. And like thread lifts, filler can also stimulate collagen production and can last as long as a year or more.
The fundamental difference is that filler always fills. Yes, we can use it to lift skin in some areas and soften the appearance of lines. But when we use filler to attempt to lift the skin, we want to keep it on the conservative side or else we risk creating a more unnatural, overfilled appearance. So if you’re someone who is looking for more substantial lift, filler alone can’t easily achieve the result you want without also causing a few downsides that you definitely don’t want.
At the same time, thread lifts always lift, but they can’t restore volume in the same way that filler can. They can lift sagging skin and reduce lines and wrinkles, but they can’t soften and plump up the skin the same way filler can.
Check out these natural looking filler results. Notice how this patient’s skin looks fuller, softer and more rejuvenated where she received filler injections. That’s one of the great effects that filler can have, whether it’s a manufactured filler product or totally natural PRF (platelet-rich fibrin) from your own body.
The Best of Both Worlds with Thread Lifts AND Filler
Both of these are great approaches for a number of different concerns. We are big believers in a holistic approach to beauty treatments—they do the most when they work together, and we often see the best results with combined treatments.
It’s very rare that we see someone over the age of 50 who will benefit from one intervention alone. Usually it’s a combined approach that’s going to achieve the desired result. And again, that’s why we’re so proud of our team. They have such an array of expertise and experience that they can put together a fully customized treatment plan for everyone they meet that covers a wide range of options, both tried and true and cutting edge.