A thread lift, as the name suggests, is a cosmetic procedure that quite literally ‘stitches-up’ the facial skin (or even some parts of the body) so that it’s drawn taut. But don’t be alarmed! This non-invasive treatment does not require you to go under the surgical knife. Local anesthetic will be injected into the area of concern and during the procedure you will only feel a tightening sensation but shouldn’t feel any sharp pain.
Basically, during this treatment, a medical-grade suture material is inserted under the skin – using a blunt cannula or very tiny needles – to tighten the targeted area. These threads do not only pull your skin in place, it also helps stimulate collagen production resulting in long-term improvement of the firmness and texture of the skin.
According to Dr Isaac Wong, founder of The Artisan Clinic in Singapore, and a winner of the Sinclair Combination Therapy Award in Barcelona in 2018, a good candidate for a thread lift is someone between their late 30s (that’s just starting to notice signs of aging) to someone in their early 50s. As an aesthetic physician for over 8 years, he recommends this treatment as an alternative to surgical face lifts as there is little downtime, and you can get back to your daily routine immediately!
What are the different types of thread lifts available in Singapore?
In recent years, thread lifts have become more popular because the treatment causes far less trauma to the skin and has quicker recovery time. With this progression, there has also been improvement in the medical based threads used for this procedure. It has even moved beyond the treatment of the face and neck, onto other body areas such as the arms, thighs, abdomen and even the buttocks.
The basic threads used for this treatment is usually made of one of 3 different types of materials; Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA), Polydioxanone (PDO) and Polycaprolactone (PCL). Here are the main differences between the first two, which are more popular in Singapore:
1. Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA)
Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA), is most commonly used as stitching suture in surgeries and is effective at stimulating collagen production. This thread has a lifespan of 2 years or more and dissolves into harmless substances within the body.
PLLA can function as a volumiser and is able to stimulate the production of Type 1 and Type 3 collagen. It is often used as an aesthetic treatment to achieve the unmet needs of fillers and Botulinum toxin (botox). While fillers are used to restore the volume of your skin and botox to relax the muscles, the PLLA threadlift has double the benefits in repositioning your loose skin tissue by lifting the sagging fat beneath the skin as well stimulating collagen production.
2. Polydioxanone (PDO)
Another material often chosen for surgical sutures is PDO thread, which is also a popular choice in Korea. The effects of polydioxanone (PDO) threads can last between 6 to 12 months. The threads also completely dissolve in the skin after 6 months, and it can help stimulate the production and synthesis of collagen in the skin for up to a year.
Many studies have proven that PDO threads not only strengthens the skin dermis, but it also eliminates visible pores and fine wrinkles, lifts the forehead and neckline areas, as well as eliminates folds. Extra fatty cells have also been observed to dissolve in treated areas, so if administered correctly, it can be very effective in face shaping, contouring and rejuvenation. This makes it an ideal treatment option if you’re concerned about sagging skin in your neck and jowl regions.
Besides the differences in materials used, thread lifts also vary in design of the suture.
The table below gives you a clear idea of the 3 main suture designs that are generally used for thread lifts:
The cones function is to lift the sagging fat beneath the skin. There is only 1 superior design of cone suture in the world that is now available in Singapore. This cone design has a bigger surface area than barbs suture which gives a stronger holding strength.
The barbs suture is the most common design in the market, and the function of the barbs is to hook the skin and provide the holding strength to tighten the skin
The last kind of thread is a totally smooth thread that doesn’t have any hooks or barbs, they are merely for collagen stimulation and volumisation without any lifting effect.
Dr Isaac Wong generally uses the PLLA material with the Cones suture for the thread lift treatment at Artisan Clinic.
One main benefit of using the PLLA-cone suture method over PDO threads and the barbs or smooth suture, is that it causes almost no or only a small amount of inflammatory reaction to the surrounding tissues, yet delivers long lasting results.
Here are the other benefits of PLLA threads over PDO:
- Longer lasting results of up to 18 months (PDO usually don’t last as long)
- The collagen stimulation effect can last up to 24 months if PLLA threads are used
- The cones suture design has a bigger surface area than the barbs suture design as mentioned, and has better holding strength than barbs
So, what are the benefits of getting a thread lift, particularly for my neck?
As mentioned, thread lifts are a safe alternative to treat sagging skin, in the neck and jowl areas as well as other parts of the face and body. This non-invasive treatment also has many benefits beyond just tightening your skin and defining your facial contour.
Some of the benefits of a thread lift include:
- Tighter skin with less sagging
- Enhanced production of collagen and elastin
- Skin renewal and a more youthful appearance
- Improved skin elasticity
- Improved skin and facial contour
- Smoothening of scars and stretch marks
What should I expect from the initial treatment and how do I prepare myself?
Most people who have a face and neck thread lift are in a practitioner’s office for not more than 30 - 45 minutes. Dr Isaac and his team are very professional and he explains to us the basic steps of the procedure that his patients usually go through;
To begin, the clinic’s nurse applies the treatment area with numbing cream. After the cream is washed off, Dr Isaac then injects local anesthetic in order to make you feel comfortable during the treatment. Since the needle used to insert the threads are very fine and blunt, you do not need to worry about feeling any pain throughout the procedure. He then ensures that the targeted area is treated well before completing the process.
There is minimal downtime for the thread lift procedure, of about 2-3 days. Once you walk out of the Doctor’s office, you can continue with your daily routine, but you may have a little bit of swelling or redness in the areas where the threads were inserted. This should subside within a weeks’ time.
There's not much preparation that needs to be done for the PLLA thread lift treatment either. Though it is highly advised to avoid vitamins and supplements that may increase bleeding, like gingko, ginseng, vitamin A, vitamin E. Dr Isaac also advises to avoid caffeine and smoking at least a week before the treatment as this dehydrates the skin and could impede the effects of the anesthetic. After treatment, it may also be wise to avoid high-intensity workouts or visiting a sauna.
Besides this, Dr Isaac stongly suggests that you perform thorough research and google about the physician’s reviews in regards to the thread lifting treatment offered by the clinic, before you consult your chosen physician to assess your neck and skin condition. You should also ask to see the clinic’s before and after results during your consultation to get a better idea of what to expect once you’ve undergone the treatment.
If you’re keen to give this a try or you’d like to know more about thread lifts - whether for the neck region or other areas – we recommend that you read more about it on The Artisan Clinic’s official website. Or book an appointment with Dr Isaac Wong and his team for an expert consultation now!
Have you heard of neck or facial thread lifts? Do you know what it entails? Read more about this non-invasive treatment on Artisan Clinic’s official website now!