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Understanding the Risks and Challenges of a Thread Lift

Post written by admin on May 17, 2024

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nerve pain after thread lift

For practices exploring non-surgical facial rejuvenation options, thread lifts offer an alternative to traditional facelift surgeries. This procedure has gained popularity in the cosmetic field due to its effectiveness. However, it’s necessary to understand the potential risks and challenges associated with thread lifts before integrating them into your offerings.

What is a Thread Lift? 

A thread lift is a non-surgical procedure aimed at lifting and tightening the skin on the face. During the procedure, special threads are inserted under the skin using a needle. These threads are gently pulled to elevate sagging skin, resulting in a more youthful appearance. Additionally, the threads stimulate the body to produce more collagen, which helps improve skin firmness over time.

There are different types of threads used in this procedure:

PDO (Polydioxanone)

These threads are commonly used and dissolve in the body over time, usually within 6 months.  Polydioxanone (PDO) threads come in different types, including mono threads for tightening, cog threads for lifting, and screw threads for volume.

PLLA (Poly-L-lactic Acid)

These threads take longer to dissolve, often around 12-18 months, and provide a longer-lasting lift. Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) threads stimulate collagen for an extended period, resulting in gradual and natural-looking improvements in skin firmness and smoothness. They are specifically effective for deeper wrinkles and more significant lifting needs. 

PCL (Polycaprolactone)

These threads are the longest-lasting, dissolving very slowly over 2-3 years. Polycaprolactone (PCL) threads provide a prolonged lifting effect and collagen boost, making them ideal for patients seeking durable results. The slow dissolution process ensures sustained collagen stimulation, leading to ongoing skin tightening and rejuvenation. 

Benefits of Thread Lifts

Thread lifts offer several appealing benefits for patients looking to rejuvenate their appearance:

Immediate Results

One of the most attractive aspects of thread lifts is the quick, visible improvement. Right after the procedure, the patient can notice a lift in sagging skin, giving them a more youthful look almost instantly.

Non-Surgical

Unlike traditional facelifts, thread lifts are minimally invasive. This means no large incisions, less scarring, and a significantly lower risk of complications. The procedure typically involves only local anesthesia and is performed with a simple needle, making it much less daunting than surgery.

Downtime

The recovery period for a thread lift is much shorter compared to surgical facelifts. Most people can return to their normal activities within a few days. This makes thread lifts a convenient option for those with busy schedules who want minimal disruption to their daily lives.

Collagen Production

Beyond the immediate lifting effect, thread lifts stimulate the body’s natural collagen production. This leads to long-term skin rejuvenation benefits, as increased collagen helps improve skin texture, firmness, and elasticity over time. This implies that even after the threads have dissolved, the skin maintains a refreshed and youthful appearance.

Thread Lift Complications 

While thread lifts offer many benefits, it’s important to be aware of the possible risks and complications:

Immediate Risks

Pain and Discomfort

Some pain and discomfort are common during and after the procedure. They can usually be managed with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or medications and typically subside within a few days.

Swelling and Bruising

Swelling and bruising in the treated areas are typical and can last for several days to a week. Applying cold compresses and following post-procedure care instructions can help reduce these symptoms.

Infection

Risk of Infection

There is a risk of infection at the thread insertion sites. It is one of the disadvantages of thread lifts. To minimize this risk, advise patients to keep the treated area clean and follow aftercare instructions carefully.

Signs to Watch For

Redness, increased pain, swelling, or pus at the insertion sites could indicate an infection. If any of these signs are present, advise patients to call for immediate medical attention. 

Preventive Measures

Ensure that the procedure is executed in a sterile environment. Instructing proper aftercare, such as avoiding touching the face unnecessarily and keeping the area clean, is essential.

Thread-related Issues

Visibility of Threads

In some cases, threads can become visible under the skin, creating an undesirable appearance.

Migration or Protrusion

Threads may move from their original position or protrude from the skin, requiring additional procedures to correct.

Asymmetry and Irregularities

Uneven Lifting

There is a possibility of uneven lifting or skin irregularities, which can result in an asymmetrical appearance.

Correction

If asymmetry or irregularities occur, additional treatments or adjustments may be required to achieve the desired outcome.

Allergic Reactions 

Possible Allergic Reactions

While uncommon, some patients may experience allergic reactions to the materials used in the threads, which are among the potential thread lift side effects.

Pre-procedure Tests

Pre-procedure allergy tests can be conducted to prevent allergic reactions. Ask patients about any allergies or sensitivities before undergoing the procedure.

Being aware of these risks and complications can help practitioners like you and patients make informed, wise decisions and take appropriate steps to minimize potential issues, ensuring a safer and more satisfactory outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can thread lifts be combined with other cosmetic treatments?

Certainly, thread lifts can be paired with other cosmetic procedures such as injectables (such as Botox or dermal fillers) or laser treatments to attain more comprehensive facial rejuvenation outcomes.

Are thread lifts suitable for all skin types?

Thread lifts are generally suitable for all skin types. However, before the procedure, help the patients understand if the treatment is right for them and their specific skin concerns.

Are there any age restrictions for undergoing a thread lift?

Thread lifts can benefit patients of various ages who are experiencing mild to moderate signs and symptoms of facial aging. However, healthcare providers must establish realistic expectations and engage in discussions with their patients concerning their goals to determine the suitability of this procedure.