When people in their late-thirties are asked what they consider are their two main signs of facial ageing, most agree itssagging skin and wrinkles. This is because as we get older our facial skin gets less elastic, muscles become weaker and gravity pulls it all down.The old-fashioned nip and tuck facelift used to be the default procedure to roll back the years andrestore a younger appearancebut nowadays knife-based treatments are perceived to be excessive and can leave many patients with taut overstretched faces. For the last few years, the treatment of choice for people that wanted to reverse the signs of ageing and rejuvenate their face it without looking like they’ve been through a wind tunnel was threadlifts. Thread lift treatments became very popular when GwyenthPaltrow endorsed the procedure on her online newsletter, Goop. The treatment, which involves elevating different parts of the face using special threads without having to make surgical incisions, is available under a variety of different names. Two main types of threads or sutures are used, suspension threads which are anchored to a stable structure of the face or scalp and floating cogged or barbed sutures, which are like porcupine quills, that do not need to be suspended.
The latest breakthrough in the technique is the Silhouette thread lift, which uses bidirectional absorbable thread cones. With the procedure’s previous incarnation, the cones only pointed downwards, embedding themselves into the facial tissue to keep the thread in place, and at the same time causing inflammation beneath the skin to stimulate production of collagen. The latest version uses threads that are dotted with cones pointing up and down. As well as stimulating collagen production, the upward ones push into facial tissue, making skin tauter and giving more of a lift.Effects are meant to last around 18 months, at which point the threads and cones — which contain polylactic acid, the biologically-compatible substance used in suture threads and orthopaedic pins — biodegrade and are absorbed into the body.Once the suture is applied, the polylactic acid acts on the deeper layers of the skin and helps increase the volume of saggy areas, restoring shapeliness to the face gradually and perfectly naturally.The lifting effect is immediate and discreet as it is the result of compressing and elevating tissue at the time of adjusting the suture. After inserting the suture, the doctor applies slight pressure on the treated area. In this way, the doctor reshapes the surface of the skin and makes it visibly smoother. Thread lift treatments are most effective around the cheeks and lower jaw, as well as the neck. The non-invasive procedure can be performed with only a local anaesthetic to numb the treatment area and prevent pain.Bruising and swelling are temporary, usually lasting up to a week. Although infection is very rare, a prophylactic anti-biotic treatment can be prescribed. Numbness in the area can sometimes be felt but this usually settles once the thread is encapsulated in scar tissue.The visible aesthetic benefits last for up to 18 months. Results are immediate and long lasting. Thread lift treatments can also be used to complement other cosmetic treatments, such as hyaluronic acid and Botox.