Ever since I specialised in the field of aesthetic medicine, I have of course followed carefully all the latest trends and advancements in that field, but of course first and foremost with the benefit to my patients in mind. When we talk about the latest trend of aesthetic rejuvenation using thread lifts, I am very sceptical. There are many types of thread lifts on the market, many of which hail from South Korea where this treatment is very popular, but among the best known are Silhouette thread lifts, Mesothrax, APTOS threads, PDO threads, and they are also known as Contour lift, Silk lift, Russian lift, to name but a few, Silhouette and Silhouette soft being the most popular in the UK. These “thread lifts” promise to tighten and lift the skin, and to induce collagen production by the skin, thus giving a non-surgical face lift. “Gold Threads” are also popular and permanent and very popular in Russia.
At the IMCAS congress in Paris last year, and Italian doctor demonstrated the use of Silhouette threads and everyone in the audience (about 1000 of us!) were rather stunned to see that the patient at the end of the procedure looked like a poorly stitched up doll, to say the least. Even though reassured that this would settle down in a few days, the patient was not best pleased, to say the least.
At a British College of Aesthetic Medicine conference only last month, we had a whole morning dedicated to thread lifts, with many speakers ( eminent speakers included Dr Amer Khan and Dr Lucy Glancey) and demonstrations, and yet again I was not convinced, quite the opposite. The demonstrations looked somewhat brutal and very invasive, with a lot of bleeding and large needles being pushed through areas of the neck and face where important anatomical structures, arteries and veins are located. And the results were not very convincing at all, despite the greatest efforts of my brilliant colleagues. Compared to botox and fillers, which are much more refined treatments, less invasive and with less side-effects, and with more efficacy than threads, I was again left convinced that I would not enter this field of aesthetic medicine. The plastic surgeon on the panel for this morning session on threads, warned of the many side effects of this procedure and called for a register of patients who have these treatments done, just like the breast implant register set up after the scandal of a few years ago, because of the worry that thread procedures could cause fibrosis and significant thinning of the skin with less elasticity and fibrosis. Such worries and registers do not exist for botox and dermal fillers, or indeed blood plasma rejuvenation, all of which have been used for many years.
It is a big industry driven by big money, but threads are just not for me at the moment, nor for my patients.
I have spoken to many patients who have had these procedures done in the past, and the story is always very similar. Firstly, these thread lift procedures cost a lot more than dermal fillers, rollers or botox, and the procedures are more invasive, more painful and last longer. The results are not as long lasting as they are advertised to be, and often there are NO visible results at all. Many have also reported to me that some of the threads would snap on one side leaving an unevenness, many had hard nodule formations, as well as strange visible “pulling” areas on various parts of the treated skin. Many have reported huge haematomas and numb areas of the skin, where damage to vessels or nerves had occurred.
On the surface of it, tightening of the skin and lifting certain parts of the face using thread lifts sounds extremely logical and desirable. It is a good alternative to the surgical face lifting, with no scars and no long downtime? But, but… Recently, at another conference in London, a plastic surgeon colleague of mine told me that he would like to stand at the beginning of Harley Street with a big sign saying “Don’t do threads!” , as every day he is correcting many of the horrendous side effects caused by thread lift procedures. After all, let’s not forget that only a few years ago Madonna appeared in the newspapers looking very unnatural, with a strange grimace to her face, and a strange “growth” and pull behind her ear. Without a doubt, this was a poor result from a thread lift procedure, as I commented for the tabloid press at the time.
So these are just some of the reasons I do not do threads, and as I always say to my patients, who ask about this procedure, that after 12 years of experience in the industry, and with all my awards and accolades, that I would certainly be doing threads if I thought that they were effective and safe. And yes there is a great alternative to the surgical facelift, with effective results, which is the non-surgical face lift, or the “Butterfly Facelift” as I call it (MD CODES and “8 point face lift” are other names). The non-surgical facelift uses botox, hyaluronic acid dermal fillers, blood plasma, and Obagi to naturally, safely and effectively lift the face without the scalpel, and without threads.
In this job, you always have to stay current, but not at any price and certainly not to the detriment of your patients. I also used to be sceptical with regards to skin rejuvenation using PRP blood plasma, but when a new, much improved version PRGF plasma came on the market, I was converted, and this is now one of my favourite procedures.
I am sure that sometime in the future, a better and more improved method of rejuvenation using thread lifts will appear on the market (as I am sure will a new version of Macrolane, the non-surgical breast enlargement using dermal fillers), possibly based on nano-technology, but until then, I am sticking to the tried and trusted techniques. I strongly feel, that every responsible and ethically moral doctor should do the same.