Threadlifting vs Facelift? Which one is better? How do they compare?

The trend of thread lifting or placing “threads” to lift certain areas of the face is not a new concept. Variations of threading technique have been around for over 30 years as patients began looking for less downtime options. Some of these techniques being touted as “lunchtime lifts”.

So what is thread lifting? Why has it seen such a boost in popularity recently? And how does thread lifting compare to facelifting? Let’s take a look.

Thread lifting is attempting, quite simply, to use threads to lift the soft tissues that are sagging. There are no skin incisions, no removal of skin. It uses needles to pass sutures through the skin, attach to soft tissues, and suspend them in a more superior location. The types of sutures range from absorbable (prolene) to non-absorbable (PDS, PLLA), most have small barbs to catch the soft tissues.

The number of threads impacts the final results. Typically 3-5 sutures are used per side (total 6-10). Thread prices vary greatly between providers but may range from $150 – $400 per thread. Depending on the type of thread, quantity of threads, and location one could expect results to last anywhere from a few months to a year.

So why has thread lifting seen a surge in popularity? Like many techniques in plastic surgery, popularity may wax and wane, but due to social media, thread lifting has seen quite the resurgence. Patients are always looking for quick fixes to problems. I believe that due to the over-use of fillers, patients are more conscious of the unwanted “over-filled” appearance and thus looking for other alternatives.

Lastly, how does deep plane facelifting compare to threadlifting? Quite simply, threadlifting does not come close. The biggest reason is that with surgical deep plane facelifts, the sagging layers (SMAS) are actually released and repositioned to their original position. The release of the SMAS is what allows it to move freely. Thread lifting provides no release of these deep layers and therefore the movement in limited, or very temporary in its improvement in patients with a heavy or tethered SMAS. The second reason threadlifting cannot compete is that there is no skin removal when performing threadlifts. Much of the skin laxity can only be addressed by actually removing the extra skin that is present. Otherwise, which we sometimes see, threadlifts can cause bunching of skin or puckers. (See this video on threadlift puckers)The way many try to compensate for the inadequacy of these threads is to combine them with fillers at the same time to enhance the effects of treatments.

Photo taken from Wang et al. “Complications of thread lift about skin dimpling and thread extrusion”

So who is a candidate for a facelift vs threadlift? Patients that have extra skin sagging and starting to see jowling, would benefit from an evaluation by a facial plastic surgeon. They would then determine whether they are ready for a facelift or not. Rather than spending the $3000-$5000 for a temporary fix, many of my patients are opting for better results that would be a permanent fix. Check out the facelift page for more information on that procedure and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

2 months after a surgical facelift, upper and lower blepharoplasty with Dr. Rihani

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Dr Jordan Rihani is one of the best surgeons for facial plastic surgery, as well as facial cosmetic enhancements, in Texas.

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