The Thread Lift is a new aesthetic technique that is both innovative and attractive. It doesn’t require any incision. Both Dr. Marlen and Dr. Georges Sulamaridge were behind the development and refinement of the technique of the “Feather Lift.” This technique can be complementary to the classic facelift or a complete procedure in itself.
TENSION THREADS: COLLAGEN BOOSTERS
Polydioxanone threads (known as P.D.O.) are synthetic, medical-grade, bioresorbable threads. They have been commonly used in surgery for more than 15 years. They are made of an inert material, causing virtually no rejection reaction from the tissues.
This new aesthetic technique takes advantage of the collagen-stimulating role of the tightening threads. It should be mentioned that Drs. Marlen and Sulamaridge were the precursors of the use of tensor threads. Since then, this technique has been refined and uses mainly bioresorbable threads (P.D.O.). These come in different shapes, sizes, and lengths, depending on the indicated application.
They can be with or without small hooks, twisted or smooth. These threads will disappear after four months, leaving the skin rejuvenated, a result that will be maintained for about 12 months. These tensor threads stimulate the natural tissue repair mechanisms and cause the production of new collagen, elastin, and also hyaluronic acid. This results in an improvement in skin texture, tone, and elasticity. The appearance of wrinkles and fine lines is also reduced. The treatment will be repeated after three months for more enhanced results or on an annual basis to maintain the obtained effect.
What about the procedure?
The feather lift consists of positioning the polydioxanone threads (P.D.O.) under the skin, using fine needles or cannulas, i.e., long needles with a blunt tip. The procedure is straightforward, safe and requires no incisions or cuts, as it is an injection technique such as for dermal volumizers or Botox®, but leaves a thread rather than Botox®, or a volumizing product. It requires only a simple application of a local anesthetic cream if necessary. The sensation can be compared to that of acupuncture.
HOW DO TENSION THREADS WORK?
Threads with small irregularities are used to allow a better anchoring to the skin to stretch it and support it in an antigravity direction. The procedure doesn’t involve removing excess skin as with surgery. The obtained lifting is the result of the healing mechanisms of the skin that will cause it to contract. This will also stimulate the formation of collagen around the small spicules. This leads to a greater firmness of the tissues and a better tone, hence the lifting effect. Tensor threads are indicated for sagging cheeks, neck, forehead, neckline, but also the stomach, thighs, buttocks, and arms.
Smooth threads can also be used, especially if you want a hammock or support effect, for example, for thin skin that wrinkles due to the dynamism often seen on the cheeks or lips. Neck and neckline, where the skin thins over time, are also good indications. The threads are often positioned in canvas for a more spread out formation of collagen. They are also small calibers (as little as a hair) and placed in larger quantities, between 40 and 50 wires per region.
Twisted threads are used when a volumizing effect is sought, especially when localized defects are involved. They are designed for small surfaces such as post-face-lift correction, lips, and cellulite depressions.
IS THE THREAD LIFT BEST SUITED FOR ME?
The lifting procedure (evolving threads with irregularities) is particularly indicated for people between the age of 35 and 50 years old who have a slight to moderate relaxation of the cheeks, the mandibular rim (jowls), and also the eyebrow. Skin appearance will be firmer, thicker, and more toned. The thread lift is used either as a complement to the conventional facelift or when you want to correct slight sagging of the skin. This procedure could be an alternative to a traditional facelift in the case of the desired improvement without surgery or when there is a contraindication to surgery. These threads can also be used on other parts of the body in the same context when surgery is contraindicated.
Smooth and twisted threads are used at any age when there is a need for tone or volume. They contribute to smoothing and maintaining the skin’s elasticity. The appearance of wrinkles and fine lines is also improved.
WHAT ARE THE CONTRAINDICATIONS?
During the medical evaluation, Dr. Bernier will determine if you are a fit candidate for the thread lift. Some conditions could be detrimental to proper healing and desired outcomes. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, local infection or cancer, a history of diabetes, autoimmune disease, bad scarring, or coagulation abnormalities are some of the contraindications.
Sun exposure is not a contraindication. The thread lift is a procedure that can be done all year round.
WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD BE TAKEN BEFORE A THREAD LIFT?
The same precautions as you should take before volumizing injections.
Have healthy skin, no signs of infection or lesion, no make-up, use an antiviral first if you have a history of cold sores in the area to be treated. Two weeks before the procedure, it is suggested to stop taking drugs, supplements, or foods that can increase bleeding, such as anticoagulants, aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, alcohol, garlic, vitamins C and E, Ginko and primrose oil. A list will be given to you if necessary.
AFTER THE THREAD LIFT TREATMENT
To allow the formation of scar tissue around the threads and to promote their maintenance, excessive chewing movements should be avoided (do not chew gum). Also, avoid manipulating the site, such as applying pressure to the skin or pulling it in the opposite direction. You can apply make-up after 12 hours. Gently remove make-up without excessive friction. Most people who have undergone the procedure will choose to resume their normal activities the next day. There may be some discomfort or stiffness. It is allowed to use Tylenol (acetaminophen); however, anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil (ibuprofen) are to be avoided, as they can thwart the formation of new collagen.
- During the first seven days after treatment, avoid other procedures such as Botox®, volumizing injections, or peelings.
- For two weeks, wash the site gently, without massages or rubbing.
- Avoid stretching the site for a month after your treatment.
- For ten weeks, avoid techniques such as I.P.L., laser, or radiofrequency, as they release heat near the treatment sites.
WHAT CAN THE SIDE EFFECTS BE?
The most frequent ones:
Small bruises (about 10% of cases) and slight swelling (edema) of the tissues may occur. Make-up is allowed after 12 hours.
The most common complication (2.5 to 15% of cases, depending on the studies) is the displacement of the thread through the skin with one end emerging on the surface of it. The thread is then removed. It will be re-implanted at a later date. This occurs mainly with the implantation of smooth threads.
A small bump can sometimes be visible, especially at the ends of the threads with roughness, it will spontaneously disappear.
Asymmetry is possible, especially if it already existed.
It may also be preferable to implant other threads, usually after three months, to complete the process.
Less common side effects:
Infection may occur, but it’s improbable if the care instructions are followed. When redness appears, medical consultation will then confirm the diagnosis, and antibiotics will be prescribed.
More exceptionally, induration (also called granuloma) or nerve damage may occur.
EVOLUTION AFTER A THREAD LIFT TREATMENT
After two to three weeks, you will notice a first visible effect of about 30%. Then the collagen formation process will be completed over three months at the end of which another procedure can be performed if necessary. The effect is long-lasting, up to one year. Follow-Up treatment is suggested annually, as tissues continue to undergo aging processes.
The thread lift is a technique that is both an alternative and a complement to minimally invasive, simple rejuvenation techniques that take advantage of the natural healing processes of the human body.
Contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bernier in Montreal, Sherbrooke, or Val-d’Or.