The thread lift is a non-surgical procedure in which specially designed threads are strategically placed beneath the skin in order to “lift” it without surgery. Ideal for rejuvenating the mid-face and lower face – a problem area for so many people – a thread lift can be performed alone or combined with other non-invasive modalities for a truly fantastic result. Dr. Sean Doherty of Boston discusses Nova Threads and why this procedure is such a nice addendum to a plastic surgeon’s tool box for turning back the clock with very natural looking results.
What is Thread Lift?
Threads used in a thread lift, made out of a suture material, are precisely placed beneath the surface of the skin in order to lift any sagging without surgery. “Threads are an old plastic surgery concept that have been given a rebirth,” explains Dr. Doherty. Around since the late 1990’s, the old version used permanent sutures. This limited the kind of outcome that a plastic surgeon could achieve. Today’s threads are made out of a suture material that has been used in the operating room for decades without complications.
The sutures are constructed of a biodegradable polymer that dissolves with time. Furthermore, the Nova Threads are barbed. This allows the surgeon to place the threads without having to anchor them into the scalp, temple and brow. It also gives surgeons the flexibility to lift the skin in two directions, or vectors, which delivers a much more natural looking result.
How Nova Threads Work
Nova Threads look like a very fine piece of sewing thread only with small barbs attached at evenly spaced intervals. They are placed underneath the skin through an injection, similar to what you would get with fillers or Botox. The barbs then attach themselves to your sagging tissues, promoting a subtle “lift.” The placement of the threads also “injures” the skin. Anytime that this happens, it causes inflammation. The body’s natural response is to heal this inflammation by producing more collagen. Over time, the threads themselves dissolve, and you are left with nothing but your own collagen. This what has a lasting rejuvenating effect on the face.
Who is the Best Candidate for a Thread Lift?
The ideal candidate for Nova Threads is someone who:
- is interested in non-invasive facial rejuvenation
- doesn’t smoke
- is in good overall health
- has mild to moderate skin laxity
Someone who has moderate to severe laxity or loose skin “is not the best candidate and probably needs a surgical procedure, so a facelift,” explains Dr. Doherty. Younger patients who are interested in specifically improving or lifting the lower part of the face are excellent candidates for a Nova Threads lift.
Benefits of a Nova Threads Lift
There are definite benefits to getting a Nova Threads lift as opposed to a surgical facelift. These include:
- instant, visible results
- no general anesthesia
- a thread lift is performed in the office, not a hospital
- longer lasting results than most injectables
- no downtime
Threads are mainly used for treating the mid-face and the lower face. Nova Thread’s barbed sutures, when placed in the proper vector, allows for a “lift”of the underlying skin and tissue. However, this is a subtle lift. A lift that is significant is going to require a surgical facelift or neck lift. It is important that patients be educated so that their expectations are reasonable. This is the key to any successful outcome.
Thread Lift Recovery
The thread lift procedure is quick. The procedure itself only takes about half an hour, allowing patients to schedule one on their lunch hour.
The recovery from a Nova Threads procedure is minimal, reminiscent of the recovery from a fillers procedure. You can expect to have some swelling in the treatment area, but that’s it.
Unlike fillers and Botox, however, the results from a thread lift are immediate. “It’s quite satisfying for patients” says Dr. Doherty. They also last anywhere from 10-12 months. A thread lift is a really nice “in between” procedure for patients who have moved past injectables alone, but are not quite ready for a surgical facelift.
Thread Lift Better When Combined with Other Modalities
Nova Threads is good as a stand alone procedure, “however, like anything non-invasive, I think that when it’s combined with other modalities, patients have a fantastic result,explains Dr. Doherty. For example, the combination of a thread lift with fillers, especially in the mid-face, can deliver truly superior results. And proper skin care will improve the outcome of any aesthetic procedure because you are literally smoothing out the “canvas” of the face.
When threads are placed along the jawline or lower face, Dr. Doherty will often combine it with an energy based modality and/or microneedling. This allows him to literally achieve a non-surgical facelift in the right patient. While Nova Threads are used most often on the face, Dr. Doherty will also use them on the neck to improve laxity at the top of the neck/jawline juncture. Furthermore, he’s had great success using them off the face for lifting crepey skin in problem areas such as the legs, arms and buttocks.