Are you contemplating giving your face a lift? Thinking about undergoing procedures such as a face-lift, thread-lift or something similar can be very confusing. There are some treatments that are able to restore firmness to loose skin, but only face-lift surgery can properly correct it. (Read A Face-lift at 30? It's Trending and Smashing the Stigmas.)
But since not everyone wants to undergo surgery, a thread-lift is a minimally invasive, non-surgical alternative that people may consider for themselves instead.
What to Consider When Comparing a Face-Lift Vs. a Thread-Lift
During the thread-lift treatment, temporary sutures are used to create a subtle but visible lift. The loose skin is re-suspended by stitching up the addressed facial areas with threads. These threads have small cone-like structures, or graspers, on them that are passed under the skin with a needle.
This lightly pulls the skin back, while lifting and tightening the face to a more youthful position. This will cause boosts of collagen in treated areas during the healing process, which provides continuous and gradual skin rejuvenation to the face. Those who undergo a thread-lift to stimulate collagen usually recognize a moderate improvement to their facial tone and firmness.
Some surgeons emphasize that the first experiences expressed from those undergoing a thread-lift treatment have been really good, but only for a short period. In regards to maintaining those results, this could be anywhere from 6 months to a year. Eventually these threads can’t hold anymore because the area addressed is a living muscle that moves our facial animation.
Furthermore, the threads can only apply to small areas of the face. While thread-lifts do produce obvious results, they usually only lift the face a few millimeters, and there are only a limited number of threads that can be used. This treatment creates more subtle changes compared to face-lift surgery, and are recommended for patients with mild to somewhat moderate signs of skin laxity.
Different Types of Thread-Lifts
There are two types of thread lift procedures known as Nova Threads and Silhouette InstaLifts.
Nova threads are made from a biocompatible material called PDO, and are smooth sutures that produce a lesser lift but encourage stronger collagen stimulation. These results will last for about 12 months.
Silhouette InstaLifts are made of temporary biocompatible sutures that create a better lift, and should last around 1-3 years.
Comparing Face-Lift Vs. Thread-Lift Recovery Times
During face-lift surgery, general anesthesia is used and heavy sedation requires patients to be driven home from the operation. A caretaker (medical, family member, spouse, etc.) is required for face-lift patients the first few days post-surgery. They also need to take about 1-2 weeks off from work.
The biggest perk of undergoing a thread-lift instead of a face-lift is the lessened recovery time. In comparison, thread-lifts can be performed under local anesthesia. This gives patients the opportunity to drive home and to take care of themselves right after the treatment. It also gives them the possibility of returning to work immediately. The downtime is usually around 2-3 days because of facial swelling.
While healing, there are a few things to remember, such as don’t actively cleanse or apply moisturizer to the face for about a week, and keep your head elevated while sleeping. Since a thread-lift is a low-risk, non-invasive treatment, there’s no scarring, bruising, bleeding, etc.
Are There Any Risks Associated With a Thread-Lift?
Some rare but possible complications include irritation, infection and suture visibility. Although thread lifts are easier to perform, don’t involve incisions or deep tissue alterations, and are more affordable, they still can’t achieve the same extensive or long-lasting results of a traditional face-lift.
Who's an Ideal Candidate For a Thread-Lift?
The ideal candidate is a patient who's in their late 30s to early 50s. Thread-lifts don't produce permanent results, and even though face-lifts are more permanent and create optimal changes, you'll still continue to show signs of aging.
Getting the Most Out Of Your Procedure
Both face-lift and thread-lift procedures can be combined with different surgical or non-surgical treatments. These combinations are known as facial rejuvenation, and can usually produce more extensive and noticeable results.
These procedures can be or are usually combined with the following surgical and non-surgical treatments:
• Laser treatments
• Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery)
• Surgical and Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty (Read 5 Things to Ask Your Doctor Before Considering Rhinoplasty.)
How Much Do These Procedures Typically Cost?
The cost of these procedures really depend on certain factors, such as the surgeon you choose, the extensiveness of the treatment, or if it’s done in combination with other treatments. A thread-lift can range from $1,500 to $4,000 (US), while a face-lift can range around $7,000 to $10,000 (US).
Realistically, the surgical route is sometimes the most viable and cost-effective decision.
Keep in mind, it is good to go to a plastic surgeon who specializes in these types of procedures, such as one who knows and is extensively educated in the facial anatomy (e.g., platysma bands, neck deformities, etc.). It is also very important to choose your surgeon based on their quality, training and experience.
A mistake that some patients seem to fall for is making a decision based on the cost of the procedure. When choosing a plastic surgeon, always research their background and credentials. There are a few credible online sources that can greatly help in doing so, such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and RealSelf.