Threadlift – Is the Non-Surgical Facelift for You?

Learn About the Lunchtime Facelift

There’s been a ton of hype about the non-surgical procedure known as a threadlift but does it live up to the publicity?

It would seem that opinions by both doctors and patients are mixed on the threadlift and by the end of this article, you’re going to know why.

We’ll touch on how threading works, how long it works, and how well it works. Read on!

What is the Lunchtime Facelift?

Hailed by many of the top news stations and celebrities such as Oprah as a “cutting edge procedure with no cutting edges” when it was first introduced, a threadlift is exactly what it sounds like.

A plastic surgeon inserts a hollow needle into your face, runs in through the fatty tissues, then brings it out near your hairline. He then runs a thread through the needle and removes the needle, leaving the thread in your face.

Depending upon how much lift you need, you’ll get between 2 and 20 threads inserted in your face. The thread has either unidirectional or multidirectional barbs on it that literally grab your tissue and hold it up. The theory is twofold: the thread itself holds your tissue up and takes away the saggy appearance, and when your body surrounds the thread with collagen, you’ll also get a fuller appearance.

History of the Threadlift

Originally created in the mid-90’s by Dr. Gregory L. Ruff of Chapel Hill, NC for use in the facial reconstruction of a crash patient, hand-made barbed sutures were used in several other reconstructive surgeries with good results.

The potential for use as a facial rejuvenation tool became apparent to Dr. Ruff and he introduced the transparent, unidirectional barbed surgical thread under the name Contour Threads. The FDA approved Contour Threads in 2004 for use as a cosmetic aid but revoked their approval in 2009 because of poor results and the high risk of adverse events.

There was another surgeon in Moscow named Dr. Marlen Sulamanidze who was seeking a way to perform face lifts without needing the huge incisions. He came up with Aptos threads which are multidirectional blue sutures. Between the advent of the Contour Threads and the Aptos threads, Threadlifts caught on like wildfire.

It was now possible to literally get a facelift on your lunch hour. Results were instantaneous and recovery was less than a week. Another bonus was that a threadlift cost about half the price of a traditional facelift.

The Study that Stopped Threadlifts

Because the procedure caught on so quickly and received so much publicity, there were no long-term peer-reviewed studies conducted. Nobody knew for sure what the long-term results or complications would be and many surgeons were performing the procedure with no actual training.

In 2009, the Division of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery of Albany Medical College conducted a research project to determine the long-term success of the procedure. The results weren’t good.

As a matter of fact, it was decidedly conclusive that a threadlift alone had only extremely short-term results, many of which may actually be attributed to swelling caused by the procedure. By the end of the blind study, doctors saw no measurable improvement in people who only got the threadlift.

The doctors also concluded that there was a “measurable risk of adverse events and patient discomfort” and thus determined that they could no longer justify use of the Contour Threadlift for facial rejuvenation purposes.

Other procedures that the threadlift was compared to included standard facelifts, lipotransfer, and chemical peels.

Are Threadlifts Available Today?

Yes, they are. The FDA only revoked approval of Contour Threads for elective cosmetic surgery so they’re still on the market for other uses as are the Aptos threads which are legal. There are also newer 24-karat gold threads that are used.

Many doctors continue to perform the procedure but many more do not offer it but elect to suggest alternative treatments such as injectable fillers that they believe work just as well.

Side Effects and Risks

In addition to the standard risk of infection and allergic reaction that accompanies any medical procedure, there are some other possibilities that are unique to threadlifts. They include:

  • Being able to see the thread underneath your skin
  • Being able to see or feel the barbs
  • The sutures may travel from the location that they were placed
  • They may wear out at different intervals, causing an uneven appearance
  • You may get a dimpling effect because of the placement and pulling of the barbs
  • Your skin may have pleats or an accordion appearance because of the extra loose skin
  • You may not see any difference at all

Who’s the Best Candidate for a Threadlift?

The best candidate for this procedure is somebody who hasn’t yet started to suffer from deep wrinkles. It’s used to improve the appearance of facial sagging in the cheek, neck, and brow areas. Patients who report success say that they look 10 years younger without the stretched look that accompanies a typical facelift.

Final Word

Used alone, it appears that this probably isn’t the most effective procedure for your money, especially given the potential for bad things to happen. Some doctors do use it in conjunction with other procedures such as Botox and full facelifts and it works better that way.

Regardless of what procedure you opt for, make sure that you research your doctor thoroughly. Remember that endorsements, before and after photos, and testimonials aren’t always true so if you elect to have any cosmetic procedure talk to actual patients as well as make sure that your doctor is a board-certified plastic surgeon trained in the area that you’re considering.

Given the unreliable results of threadlifts, you may be better off trying a topical product if you don’t want to go under the knife. Products with retinol are particularly effective and we’ve reviewed several.

Click hereto find a great deal on Olay’s Pro-X Deep Wrinkle Cream, one of the best retinol products that we’ve found.

If you’ve had a threadlift, or have decided not to have one, we’d love to hear your story in the comments section below.



One Response to “Threadlift – Is the Non-Surgical Facelift for You?”
  1. Po says:

    I got the thread lift done at cosmetica in Liverpool by Tracy the owner and another nurse, I have seen no results at all and they are trying to fob me off with oh you have to wait 3 months, well it’s been that and still nothing! I met another lady who had it done and shes disappointed too.
    Cosmetica Training Liverpool you should listen to your clients when we don’t have results as our before and after photos clearly show no difference or issue refunds at least.

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