By Dr. Robi Ludwig
Like everything else, sometimes your skin needs a little pick-me-up.
Video conferences for work or social meetups have made us all “zoom” in a bit more on our face and neck. Looking at ourselves on-screen makes us all too aware of our sagging skin and increasing wrinkles.
How can we refresh and renew if we aren’t quite ready for a full surgical facelift and yet the fillers seem to need a little help in filling out our sagging skin and making our skin look fresh and less wrinkly? Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Steven Davis, of Davis Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in Cherry Hill, says mono-threading, a minimally invasive aesthetic procedure known as thread lifting is the answer. “It is used as an alternative to facelift surgery. In a thread lift procedure, temporary sutures are used to produce a subtle but visible “lift” in the skin. The sutures lift and tighten the skin by pulling the skin back slightly. In addition, the placement of the sutures provokes the body’s healing process, increasing collagen in those areas,” he says.
Dr. Davis shares, “Collagen is a fibrous, supportive protein that helps skin cells adhere to one another giving the skin strength and elasticity. It also supports growth factors in the skin which influences skin condition. Collagen production decreases with age, contributing to skin wrinkling and sagging.”
Thread-lifting procedures have been around since the 1990s but innovations in the materials and types of procedures have made them more popular in recent years. The most common areas for the procedure are the mid-face, lower face, and neck area.
“It’s been practiced for more than 20 years in some way, shape, or form,” according to Dr. Davis. With the evolution of the equipment and techniques, threading has become more prevalent. Dr. Davis was one of the initial instructors in the early 2000s of the contour thread lift. “The problem at that time was that a lot of people wanted to use this process and wanted to get into aesthetic medicine but they did not know how to use the technique and products properly, so it was eventually taken off the market.”
Threading involves puncturing the skin with small needles, and a local anesthesia is used to numb the area, “If it is done properly it is painless. “The tiny needle slides into the subcutaneous tissues and does not anchor into anything with a nerve ending. The needles we use are like a straw that contains a product that lassos the tissue and lifts the skin and then trains the skin and tissues to be lifted. The threads hook to the underside of the skin and the barbs on these threads form a support structure that lifts the sagging tissue.” The production of collagen around the threads and their barbs helps to restore volume and improves the skin texture and elasticity. The use of collagen stimulators such as Sculptra is used to correct wrinkles by restoring volume and building collagen. Although Sculptra is mainly used in the face for facial rejuvenation, it can be injected in other areas such as the knees to smooth out the wrinkles and crepe skin in that area, Dr. Davis shares.
Dr. Davis is exceptionally excited about the addition of threading in his “medicine bag.” “The beauty of the threading is that it fits so well into a plan that involves lifting the skin without having to go into the operating room, since the procedure is done right tin the office. Not only can the needling be done on the face, but it has also been used for the arms, legs, or kneecaps, anywhere that needs a little more fullness. It’s also very effective in addressing acne and other scars on your skin and is effective in reducing the appearance of sun damage, particularly hyperpigmentation and age spots.”
The results from threading are immediately visible and will continue to improve over 6 months, as they induce collagen production.The beauty of these injections is that you are slowly building your own collagen for long-lasting resultsYou can expect your results to last up to 18 months and can prolong and improve your results with a little touch-up at 1 year,” he said.
Dr. Davis said the cost is around the same as fillers. “The most important thing to know is to go to someone who knows the procedure and the products well and precisely how much of each is needed for the best result for your specific needs,” he added.
Downtime is relatively minimal with threading too. Threading procedures will not require more than one night off from normal work or social activities, to recover.
Is threading right for you? If you have mild to moderate sagging, volume loss, or skin texture concerns, have not had neurotoxins (Botox) or dermal fillers within the previous two weeks, and have not taken blood thinners for at least the past 2 weeks you could be a candidate for threading.
Dr. Davis says an in-person or virtual consultation is necessary beforehand, so that the quality of the skin can be evaluated. If you have healthy tissue and do not have an overwhelming amount of skin laxity, threading is a great choice. “We have patients in their 60s and 70s who eat healthily and do not smoke and have a great quality of skin who can do threading instead of a surgical facelift. It’s incredible!”
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