Patients today are always on the lookout for the most innovative and minimally-invasive treatments that aren’t only safe and effective, but also provide natural-looking results.
When it comes to lifting the face, the first option that comes to mind is the traditional facelift – an age-old procedure that has existed for over 100 years. However, patients today are far more demanding of the treatments they pick – with many less likely to pick surgery if there are other options promising good results without the need for any incisions.
In a society where social media has magnified the attractiveness and desirability of having a “V-shaped” face – technological advancements have led to what is known as the “lunchtime lift”, aka threadlifts – an increasingly popular skin rejuvenation treatment in Singapore.
The goal of threadlifts
As we grow older, the increasing loss of collagen and elastin resources means that our skin starts to show signs of laxity, sagging, and wrinkles. We also start to look dull and tired – which may not reflect the way we truly are inside.
Similar to a traditional facelift, the objective of a thread face lift is to restore structure to the face by tightening and pulling up the skin for a “lifting” effect. A 2017 study also suggests this, reporting that the primary effects of a threadlift procedure is skin that appears tighter and more defined.
How do threadlifts work?
Just as its name suggests, threadlifts are actually invisible threads that have tiny cones or graspers on them that act as “anchors” to help lift and suspend the skin to desired positions.
Commonly done on various parts of the face such as the eyebrows, nose, cheekbones, jowls, and neck – local anesthesia is first done at various entry points, whereby the threads are then strategically inserted using a large needle or blunt cannulas under the subcutaneous fat layer. The threads are often positioned deep in the fat layers as this is the area where we start to lose fat first, and is responsible for the saggy and droopy jowls that we often notice as we grow older.
The power behind threadlifts is due to 2 different mechanisms of action:
Mechanical lifting effect: threads acts as a scaffolding structure for the tissues within the skin to support its new shape.
Biochemical lifting effect: the procedure triggers collagen production that is able to boost and sustain the rejuvenating and tightening effects of the treatment.
As compared to the permanent, barbed polypropylene threads used in the late 1990s that were prone to breakage and infection – today’s threads are dissolvable and fully compatible with the human body – making it a much safer and more reliable treatment.
In short, these are the effects that threadlifts can do for various parts of your face:
- Eyebrows: raises the outer edge of the eyebrow to give you a more “awake” look without being unnatural. Helps with eyebrow ptosis (sagging skin caused by weakened muscles)
- Nose: gives you a more defined and sharper nose bridge, and even help it look straighter and higher. It can also be used to enhance the shape of your nose tip to make it look smaller and more pointed.
- Jowls/Cheeks: gives you a more defined jawline and overall facial contour that is plump and full. Can also be used to achieve a smaller and sharper face.
- Neck: helps regain texture and tone in the neck region to give it a smoother appearance.
The side effects of the treatment are minimal, with mild swelling, soreness, and bruising that can occur 24 – 48 hours after the procedure. Indentations at the entrance and exit points are also common, but this usually settles within a week.
The threads typically take a year to fully dissolve, and although the results are noticeable immediately – the biochemical lifting effects allows you to continue enjoying further improvements for an additional 3 – 6 months!
A common debate amongst researchers is that theadlifts don’t last. A 2018 study reviewed that the use of PDO threads in 160 patients revealed improvements in facial lifting or contouring that were absent at the 1-year mark. Although the treatment was effective, it seems to last longer in younger patients, where the studied showed results lasting on average 3 to 4 years!
This was further supported by another review that studied previous threadlift literature and discovered that all except 2 studies reported similar findings on the durability of threadlifts.
This is why it is important to understand that not all threadlifts are created equal, and why you need to choose the best threads that fully matches your goals and expectations.
In general, threads differ in their length, thickness, material, tensile strength and design.
PDO vs PLLA threads
The 2 most common types of threads that are used today are the PDO (polydioxanone) and PLLA (Poly-L-Lactic Acid) threads.
Although all these threads are made up of bio-compatible materials that have been long used in various surgical applications – they all come with a unique and distinct set of properties that can completely change the results of your treatment.
As mentioned earlier, threads often differ in terms of their length, thickness, material, tensile strength, and design. The type of thread you choose will also determine the longevity of your results.
Threads can often be classified based on the type of “anchors” they have – and whether or not they are smooth or barbed. Smooth threads tend to be better for facial rejuvenation, while barbed threads work better for doing both rejuvenation and lifting.
In fact, recent developments in threadlifting have shifted away from the traditional monofilaments (smooth) to barbed threads to induce a higher inflammatory reaction and trigger more collagen production during the healing process.
PLLA threads often use cones instead of barbs which is touted to be much gentler and less painful than the thicker PDO threads. However, the PDO threads are often the preferred choice due to its tensile strength and reliability, and how they provide a stronger lifting effect for those with heavier skin.
Due to their properties, PDO tends to provide better lifting results, while PLLA is often ideal for volumizing. Depending on the specific technology and design of the threads by different brands, the best way to pick is to break down the individual specifications of each thread and determine if they are able to achieve the effect you want.
Since both PDO and PLLA each serve different but synergistic purposes – there are instances where both types of threads can be combined in a single treatment!
There are also the new PCL (Polycaprolactone) threads that aren’t yet extensively studied as its predecessors.
In terms of longevity, While PDO fully dissolves between 6 – 9 months, PLLA take 12 – 18 months – making it much more desirable for those looking for a longer-lasting solution.
Silhouette Soft & MINT Lift: our threads of choice
Silhouette Soft is an FDA-approved treatment that we like to use at our clinic as it has been extensively studied and supported by multiple peer-reviewed journals as an extremely safe and effective procedure.
Silhouette Soft uses PLLA threads that in inserted on each side of the face. Its unique, bidirectional movable cones are designed to grab tissues and allows the threads to gather and compress together nicely – allowing doctors to shape the face more effectively.
Another FDA-approved threadlift procedure that we offer at our clinic is MINT (Minimally Invasive Non-Surgical Threads) that uses PDO threads. Originating from South Korea, the difference in MINT threadlifts are its patented molding press technology and unique 360-degree helical barb design that is able to achieve much more powerful and longer-lasting results than other PDO threads currently on the market!
The molded barbs around the threads help to secure the skin in place from all directions – creating a beautiful and natural, 3-Dimensional effect. A 2017 study conducted with 6 patients with mild-to-moderate sagging in the face was treated using MINT, where the procedure was concluded to be safe and showed improvements in the immediate postoperative period.
Which one should you choose?
Ideally, always look for a doctor who offers both PDA and PLLA threads so that they can customize a treatment according to what you need and want to achieve.
Just like with any other procedure, threadlifts requires a doctor with years of experience and in-depth knowledge on facial anatomy, as well as a thorough understanding of muscles and tissue composition under the skin in order to insert the right type and number of threads to maximize your results.
Having a good anchoring technique is also important, as threads need to be inserted in the most optimized way possible in order to achieve maximal lifting and sustain its shape for longer periods of time.
At The Clifford Clinic, we offer a wide range of threadlifts that customers can tap into – including the Ultra V Hiko Nose threadlift, PDO threadlift, Silhouette Soft and MINT, in addition to dermal fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm, Rejuran, and Profhilo. Remember: threadlifts simply provide the structure, while fillers help to fill it in.
In order to achieve flawless and younger-looking skin, this also means addressing other issues such as acne, age spots, and pigmentation – all of which can pop up as part of the natural aging process. This is why we also offer solutions such as acne treatment and a range of acne scars laser that has made us one of the best acne dermatologist in Singapore!
If you wish to achieve a more beautiful, proportionate, and well-defined face that you can be proud of – contact us to begin your journey today!
1. How many threads will I need?
The number of threads that you will need is largely dependent on the area that you wish to treat and the severity of skin laxity you have.
This ranges from as little as one suture or up to three for larger areas such as the jowls on each side of the face, where the number of threads inserted can range anywhere from 5 to 30.
2. What treatments can I combine with threadlifts?
At The Clifford Clinic, we are huge advocates of using combination treatments to achieve better results for our patients.
For total skin rejuvenation, tightening, and lifting, we highly recommend patients to combine their threadlift procedure with other ultrasonic or radiofrequency treatments such as HIFU Sygmalift and Secret RF – all of which are non-invasive treatments that have little to no downtime at all!
3. Who is the ideal candidate?
Men and women who are currently experiencing mild-to-moderate signs of aging and have relatively thick and good skin quality are ideal candidates for a threadlift procedure.
Patients who are currently facing acne, skin infections, or pregnancy may not be able to undergo treatment, but not to worry – we have a list of other treatments that may be more suitable for you.