A suture lift or thread lift is a form of non-surgical ‘mini’ facelift performed delicately by a cosmetic surgeon. A thread lift is a less severe or invasive form of facial skin lift, bringing facial skin backwards and upwards to give the impression of a more youthful skin tightness. This is particularly useful for sagging around the chin and jaw, laxity around the mouth, and for cheeks that may droop to make prominent jowls.
How is a thread lift different to facelift surgery?
Facelift surgery is a very invasive procedure that actually cuts your skin and reattaches it to tighten skin. A thread lift merely uses what’s already there and lifts it, providing surgery-free facelifts. This may suit many people far better than facelift surgery.
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Facelift surgery requires longer recovery times, as skin is cut and removed from near your ears, and muscles are tightened at the same time. Risk are always higher with any surgery, and facelift surgery is no different. Facelift surgery are very useful in certain circumstances, but typically for anyone who has previously had a facelift and wants to tighten the remaining skin, or for anyone who isn’t ready or able to undergo facelift surgery.
The thread lift provides a viable alternative to a facelift surgery with just two incisions in the skin, near the back of the ears in a crease, where they are virtually invisible. Recovery is therefore far shorter and more comfortable with a thread lift, and results are still excellent, reliable, and consistent.
How is a thread lift performed? – Melbourne clinic
A thread lift is performed using a type of thread known as prolene. This prolene thread does not absorb moisture, is completely synthetic (so it won’t break down in your skin), and made of polypropylene. It is not reactive or an allergen, and is very durable, allowing the thread to stay inside your skin for long periods of time, years sometimes. Prolene thread is used to close skin and soft tissue during other types of surgery, so is well understood and commonly used.
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The skin grows around the thread and holds it in place, in theory for a long period of time, though this may not always be the case. No skin is actually removed, very little skin is penetrated, and you can’t see the threads. Only local anaesthetic is required for the procedure, however a general anaesthetic can be used if required. General anaesthetic is always a bit riskier. A thread lift takes about an hour.
First, two small (about 1cm) incisions are made behind the ear, and a long needle (just like a needle and thread type thing, but a larger needle) with the thread is threaded through your facial skin on the inside. When the area that is sagging is reached, the thread is then attached with small grippers, and then it is pulled towards the ear to provide the lift. The thread is tied, a couple of stitches are made behind the ear, and the thread lift is complete.
Dissolvable stitches are then used to close the incisions behind the ear, which will close up and heal as per normal stitches, with virtually no scarring.
Can you see a thread lift? – Melbourne clinic
The only sign of a thread lift is – if someone was looking for it – a small fold or wrinkle in front of the ear caused by the pulling of the skin, though this tends to settle over several months. This is easy to cover with hair.
Recovery time for a thread lift – Melbourne clinic
You can resume normal daily activities the day after your thread lift. Some bruising and swelling is normal, and some discomfort may be experienced, but you will be prescribed some painkillers if you need them.
Adjunct treatments to the thread lift – Melbourne clinic
Having more than just the thread lift can really boost the results, for example having laser treatments to boost collagen and elastin in the skin, and activate your skin cells, can make a huge difference. These extra (and ongoing anti-ageing) treatments can make your procedure results last much longer.
What are the risks of a thread lift? – Melbourne clinic
The thread lift is generally thought to be safe, well tolerated and recovery tends to be swift and relatively painless. The most likely and common outcome is slight bruising and swelling. Risks include the small wrinkle/fold at the ear, and sometimes pain can be felt in or around the ear. Sometimes, we need to do another procedure to retain the benefits.
How long does a thread lift last for? – Melbourne clinic
A thread lift can last for a long time, years, but over time the thread will shift and become looser. We can’t stop ageing either, so further sagging will continue to occur. This means other treatments are useful in the interim, but another thread lift may be required a few years down the track, and sometimes sooner.
Sometimes the skin will even stay lifted, as it heals into the uplifted position, but this isn’t the norm. Top-up treatments are less cost than the initial procedure.
What if you don’t like the result of the thread lift? – Melbourne clinic
If you don’t like the results or something irregular occurs with healing, the threads can be adjusted easily within the first month. If there is a need, the threads may need to be removed and replaced.
At ENRICH, we’re very experienced at the thread lift, and having to redo a thread lift is extremely rare, however sometimes the skin has a mind of its own when it comes to how it heals and adjustments may be required.
Why we love the thread lift mini face lift:
- Low risk
- Fast recovery
- Reliable results
- More youthful appearance
- Tighter-looking skin
Good candidates for thread lift mini face lift– Melbourne clinic
- Anyone looking for a temporary minor face lift
- Those who can tolerate the very minor healing required
- Those with jowls, loose skin on the neck
- Those with sagging skin
- Anyone with a lot of wrinkles
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You can tell if your face would benefit from a thread lift in the mirror at home. Pull your cheeks up towards the ear – this will show you what the change could be. The way one person’s face looks after a thread lift may vary considerably to another person’s, so photos aren’t always the best way to determine how you will look before and after a thread lift. The best way to know is to make an appointment to have a skin consultation with your dermatologist. They know exactly how much lift can be achieved and in what ways.
What other names are there for a thread lift?
You may see a thread lift being called by several other names, which could be confusing. A thread lift may be called:
- Thread lift mini facelift
- Suture face lift
- Non-surgical face lift
- Suture lift
- Stitch lift
- Safe lift
- Skin stich
- S lift
- Feather lift
- Hollywood lift
How much lift can I get from a thread lift? – Melbourne clinic
A thread lift can offer about 20 per cent that of a surgical facelift, so it’s not a complete switch of one procedure for the other. Your face will look natural, but more youthful – you won’t have a dramatic shift where people notice you have had something change on your face. You will look well and rested, and people will say so.
What you can expect from your thread lift – Melbourne clinic
Once you have had a thread lift, you can expect about a week of recovery time, though sometimes it can take up to four weeks. This will depend on your particular healing rate and other factors.
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You can get back to normal activities immediately, though naturally being cautious with your new stitches. You may not wish, for example, to get your hair bleached immediately afterward! (It’ll sting like crazy.)
Thread lifts can really make quite a dramatic difference to the face, but not in a really obvious way. It’ll simply make you look younger and healthier, especially when combined with other treatment strategies like facial rejuvenation and laser treatments. A great complexion wedded to lifted skin is a winning combination.
Thread lift mini facelift at ENRICH – our Melbourne clinic
Taking the guesswork out of anti-ageing treatments is what we do best at ENRICH, with our Melbourne clinic being a global leader in cosmetic dermatology practices. Dr Michael Rich is a leader in his field, and runs the clinic with only the highest quality in mind. He only appoints the best dermatologists we have on offer, with a variety of experts available for dermatological consultation.
Thread lifts are gaining in popularity because they offer a viable alternative to the facelift, accessible by many more people for a fraction of the cost. The thread lift works well in men or women. Starting while we are younger is also a useful strategy when using the thread lift, since the younger you start, the less dramatic the differences, and the greater the results over time.
We do beautiful thread lifts.
*Results may vary from person to person