Lately, patients have been asking about a relatively new procedure known as a “thread lift.” Sometimes they ask after reading in a magazine or online how the minimally invasive “lunchtime facelift” can result in a more youthful appearance for less cost than a traditional facelift. When considering thread lift vs facelift, it helps to learn a little about each procedure.
This article is simply for the purpose of consumer and patient education as you weigh your cosmetic options. It isn’t a substitute for individualized professional care from a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Before exploring the pros and cons of a thread lift, it helps to begin with a basic understanding of what a thread lift is as well as some basic information about traditional facelift surgery.
What is a Thread Lift?
A thread lift is a less invasive option than a traditional facelift. Your physician uses medical-grade threading to physically lift or pull the skin tighter in targeted areas. This results in both tighter-looking skin and reduced wrinkles. Areas commonly targeted include the brow line, jowls, under eye, cheeks, and forehead.
Some prefer a thread lift because they want an alternative to the more invasive facelift surgery for a variety of reasons including cost, concern about invasive surgery, or their skin is just starting to show signs of aging. Some plastic surgeons even promote the thread lift as a “weekend facial” or “lunchtime lift” since the procedure is quicker as is the following recovery time.
Another potential benefit to a thread lift is it may promote skin rejuvenation. The “threads” are barbed structures placed into the skin that stimulate collagen growth as they are absorbed. Collagen growth may promote firmer more elastic skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Talk with your physician to better understand what you can realistically expect as it varies depending on your age, genetics, and the condition of your skin.
A thread lift typically lasts anywhere from one to two years depending on the condition of your skin. Many patients get a new thread lift annually to maintain their results as well as the rejuvenation benefits.
Since a thread lift is less invasive than a facelift, a greatly reduced recovery time means results show much sooner compared to a facelift.
Still, a thread lift is a form of minor surgery so it may have side effects. Some potential side effects include:
- Tenderness or pain after the procedure
- Mild bruising
- People with thin skin may experience visible sutures
- Possible infection
- Accumulation of blood
- Snapped threads
- Dimpling of the skin
- Other possible complications, please discuss with your physician.
What is a Surgical Facelift
A facelift is a cosmetic operation that tightens and lifts the skin on the face. People often seek facelifts to combat a loss in skin laxity and elasticity.
During a facelift, a cosmetic surgeon removes excess skin and redrapes the skin. The procedure may target most areas of the face including the neck, jowls, cheeks, brow line, under-eye area, and jawline. It is a permanent procedure lasting as long as 7-10 years depending on your age and skin condition.
Since a surgical facelift is one of the best-known forms of plastic surgery, we won’t cover it in as much detail in this article. Since a facelift is an operation, there are always possible side effects or complications. These include:
- Soreness or tenderness while healing
- Temporary or long-term damage to facial nerves
- Complications or reactions to anesthesia
- Hair loss around the incision site
- Temporary numbness
- For other possible side effects talk with an experienced plastic surgeon
Which is Right for You: A Thread Lift vs Facelift
For many people, a thread lift is ideal for their needs. Some pros for opting for a thread lift include:
- Since there is no incision, people experience less scarring and easier recovery with a thread lift as compared to a Facelift.
- A thread lift is quicker than a facelift often taking around one hour.
- Most find a thread lift less painful.
- A thread lift often has more subtle-looking results which can be great for some people and is one reason the procedure is attractive to people who are just starting to show signs of aging and are not ready for a full facelift.
- A thread lift may stimulate skin rejuvenation.
- Since recovery time is shorter, you can see the results of a thread lift quicker.
Disadvantages of a thread lift when compared to a surgical facelift:
- The results from a facelift last much longer than a thread lift.
- Depending on your age and goals, a thread lift may not be adequate. A facelift may have more impact on older patients or those who may want more dramatic correction.
- Partial or full facelifts are options for people who want to target specific areas or their entire face. Similar is true for threading, but traditional facelift surgery existed longer and is well-tested.
Like any cosmetic procedure, the best option varies by person. Talk with a skilled, board-certified plastic surgeon about your aesthetic goals, the areas you want to change, your overall health, any medications and treatment you are under, and more. Your surgeon should answer any questions, show examples of prior work, and help you understand which procedures may be more appropriate for your needs and what kind of results you may see.
Next Steps: Talk With a Plastic Surgeon
When navigating thread lift vs facelift, always talk with a top plastic surgeon who is knowledgeable about cutting-edge cosmetic procedures and best practices for the classic stand-by options. The first step is a consultation where you receive personalized attention and who will be able to assess which procedures are most appropriate for you.
At Charlotte Plastic Surgery, we have had the pleasure of transforming local residents since the 1950s. Our combined experience results in a practice with a proven track record in classic cosmetic procedures as well as emerging cosmetic procedures.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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