Until recently, the only way to address problems caused by facial skin laxity-such as jowls and drooping cheeks-was facelift surgery. After all, while skin resurfacing treatments can help to restore some degree of firmness, once loose skin is present, only a scalpel can truly remove it. However, while the approach of relying on injectable compounds and skin resurfacing until facelift surgery becomes absolutely necessary works for many patients, not everyone is willing or able to have surgery. If you're in this group, you'll be happy to know that a new type of procedure has been developed to fill in the gap between noninvasive facial rejuvenation
A thread lift is a type of procedure wherein temporary sutures are used to produce a subtle but visible "lift" in the skin. Instead of removing the patient's loose facial skin surgically, the cosmetic surgeon simply suspends it by stitching up portions of it. This has the effect of pulling the skin back slightly and therefore lifting and tightening the face. In addition to being ideal for lifting the skin, threads combat aging in another way: by provoking the body's "healing response" and causing the body to direct large surges of collagen to treated areas. This is important because of the vital role collagen plays in the aging process.
Collagen helps support "growth factors" that greatly influences the condition of our skin. In addition to being used for wound healing, collagen helps to keep our skin strong, voluminous and supple. As we get older, our bodies gradually produce less and less collagen, which leads to an 80% reduction in skin thickness by about age 70. This loss of volume and strength is a large factor in the creation of excess skin and wrinkles. As the skin grows weaker, it's no longer able to support the tissues beneath it adequately, meaning that gravity pulls it downwards and stretches it. Infusing the skin of the face with fresh collagen when the signs of skin laxity are still mild can help to both reduce looseness (by thickening and hydrating the skin) and prevent it from getting worse (by strengthening the skin).
For many patients, the biggest advantage of having a thread lift rather than a facelift is the greatly reduced recovery time associated with thread lifts. When a patient has facelift surgery, he or she must be heavily sedated; as such, the patient must arrange for someone to drive him or her home from the hospital. Most facelift patients also require around the clock assistance from a caretaker for at least three days after they have surgery. Furthermore, if the patient still has children at home, childcare aid may also be needed. Facelift patients usually need to take one to two weeks off of work, too, in order to heal.
Recovery from a thread lift, on the other hand, is comparatively easy. Thread lifts can be performed under local, rather than general anesthesia, meaning that thread lift patients can drive themselves home and look after themselves immediately after having their procedure. While some patients will experience a little bit of soreness, redness and swelling after having a thread lift and therefore wish to take the rest of the day off, most can return to work immediately. Strong pain medication is seldom needed after having a thread lift, making it easier for patients to return to their normal routine. This procedure is therefore ideal for people who have children at home or those who have busy, demanding careers.
While thread lift recovery is not particularly intensive, patients will still have to take a few minor precautions while healing. It's important to make sure that you don't rub your face vigorously while cleansing it or applying moisturizer for at least a week after having threads placed. You should also try to prop your head up slightly so that you don't roll over directly onto your face while sleeping.
NovaThreads and Silhouette InstaLift threads have both been approved by the FDA for the purpose of lifting facial tissue. However, while these procedures rely on a similar mechanism of action and both produce excellent results, there are some key differences between them that patients need to be aware of. Below, we'll explore how these two procedures compare to one another.
NovaThreads are sutures that are made from a biocompatible material called PDO, which has been specially designed for safe re-absorption by the body. NovaThreads remain in place for about four to six months, after which point they slowly dissolve. Patients can, however, expect to keep seeing the results of their NovaThreads lift for a year or more after their treatment. This long-lasting effect arises from the lingering improvement in skin condition that results from collagen infusion.
NovaThreads come in several different varieties: Barbed sutures, which are ideal for gathering skin (and therefore producing more lifting action) and straight or curved smooth sutures. Smooth sutures produce less of a lift, but they are excellent for collagen stimulation. Patients often have smooth sutures placed in strategic locations around their face (such as the corner of the mouth or along the brows) in order to target common problem areas where the signs of aging become particularly apparent. Barbed sutures, on the other hand, are placed near the hairline in order to gently pull back the skin and lift the cheeks and jowls.
Like NovaThreads, the Silhouette InstaLift relies on the use of biocompatible temporary sutures to lift the face. The Silhouette InstaLift is more focused on lifting the skin than stimulating collagen production (though it will accomplish both objectives, of course), so the threads used during this procedure are designed somewhat differently. Rather than being smooth or barbed, they contain a number of sutures interspersed with tiny "cones" that are adept at grabbing tissue. This allows the threads to gather more skin, producing a more noticeable lift to the cheeks and jowls. Silhouette InstaLift threads are designed to create fairly long-lasting results as well; patients can expect to enjoy the impact of their Silhouette InstaLift for one to three years.
Having a Silhouette InstaLift takes about 45 minutes on average and can be performed under local anesthesia. A specially designed thin needle is used to insert the threads into the skin, minimizing patient discomfort. Patients sometimes experience mild soreness and swelling for a few days after having this procedure, but it can usually be managed with over the counter pain relievers. As such, if you have a Silhouette InstaLift, you will probably be able to return to your normal activities immediately afterward.