For a facelift without surgery, barbed sutures are inserted into the face to create a lifting effect or a tightening and firming of the soft facial tissues. This non-surgical procedure is useful for those with flabby faces or aging of the mid-face, jowls, brow and neck. Selective regional lifting is possible. Threads come in various configurations: short, bi-directional threads (APTOS, Feather lift); or long bi-directional slings (barbed suture lift), or long uni-directional threads (contour threads). Different threads create different effects (such as firming or lifting). These threads can be used in conjunction with traditional open facelift surgery or endoscopic techniques.
Approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
Local anesthesia with or without light sedation.
This is a simple outpatient procedure. The patient can leave immediately after completion.
Possible Side Effects
Temporary discomfort and pain in the temples or behind the ear. Post-operative swelling and bruising is minimal. Some patients experience difficulty in opening their mouth widely. Puckering or dimpling of skin and pleating usually fades within two to three weeks.
Bleeding at the time of the procedure causing a hematoma (accumulation of blood) in the temple, infection of the threads, granuloma (suture reaction), snapping of threads, migration, extrusion, localized pain when thread end abuts against underside of the skin (which is easy to locate, shorten ,or remove completely). Collective risk of complications is 15 to 20%, but all are minor and easily corrected.
Patients look presentable after 24 to 48 hours. Occasionally, puckering and pleating may persist for several weeks.
These are excellent techniques for achieving a temporary facelift effect. The results last one to two years after which new threads need to be inserted to maintain or enhance results. These threads should be viewed in the same way as other temporary procedures such as BOTOX® or temporary dermal fillers where loss of result after a period of time is not considered a failure. Together with other non-surgical techniques such as BOTOX injections, hyaluronic acid soft tissue fillers, IPL (intense pulsed light) treatments, laser therapy, or Thermage® (radiofrequency skin tightening), the rejuvenation can be powerful but is temporary.