Note:The Threadlift Technique is also known as the: Featherlift, Contour Lift, Aptos Lift, and Endo-Aptos Lift.
Elimination of unsightly facial contours has long been the desire of both women and men who take pride in their appearance. Today, facial contouring is an achievable objective without surgery utilizing Non-Surgical Skin Tightening (NSST) and/or the Threadlift procedure. NSST is a completely non-invasive method of rebuilding collagen in the skin, resulting in an overall tightening and lifting effect.
The Threadlift procedure DOES NOT use actual “threads”. The procedure is a minimally invasive procedure that actually utilizes sutures to mechanically lift the skin, just like any other facelift surgery. The suture material (polypropylene) is FDA approved and has been used in surgery for decades. The have been modified from the FDA approved form by creating cogs on one side of the suture. The cogs are able to engage the soft tissue and create a lifting effect.
Since the early 1990s, surgeons have been evaluating new surgical techniques for lifting the cheeks and jowls. In 1998, working with surgeons in Wisconsin, Dr. Summers performed a series of cheek/jowl lift procedures using the Mid-Face Sling technique. The Sling technique, which was published in the Journal of Plastic Surgery, securely lifts the cheek/jowls with a single suture.
Simultaneously, in Russia, Dr. Sulamandize developed the Aptos (anti-sagging) technique for facial rejuvenation using modified sutures. The original Aptos technique did not require any incisions, but was not as secure as the Sling described by Dr. Summers. To achieve increased stability, Dr. Summers places a 2 inch incision in the hair-bearing scalp to secure the sutures — this is called the Endo-Aptos technique.
Unlike typical facelift techniques, the Threadlift does not remove any skin, so it is not a good procedure for individuals with very loose skin. Also, patients with very loose lower eyelid skin may require a concurrent lower eyelid lift or laser skin tightening procedure. Typically, patients are in their mid-thirties to mid-sixties with some cheek folds (nasolabial folds) and minor jowling. Between two and six sutures are used on each side of the face to elevate the sagging cheeks and jowls. Once the sutures are placed under the skin, the Aptos cogs form a support structure for the tissue of the face. Over a period of about 6 weeks, the sutures will be stabilized as new collagen is formed around the cogs. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia in about one hour and the results are seen immediately.
Both Dr. Summers and Dr. Sulamandize have described the ability to further tighten a previously placed suspension suture. Therefore, in some patients, it is possible to return at a later time to lift the cheeks and jowls even more. Because all patients age at different rates, it is impossible to predict how long the Threadlift results will last in any particular patient. However, based on Dr. Summers long-term experience with the Sling procedure, he has shown that the Endo-Aptos suture suspension procedure can provide beneficial results lasting up to 5 years or more.
Some bruising is possible, but other side effects associated with facelift surgery (swelling, numbness, muscle weakness, scars) are very unusual or completely unexpected. Dimpling of the skin is possible, but when noticed at the time of the procedure, can be resolved quickly and painlessly. Dimples or surface irregularities noted later may require a minor procedure to release the dimple – this can almost always be corrected. Minor facial asymmetry is possible. However, significant asymmetry may result from disengagement or breakage of the sutures. In this case, a new suture may be placed or the existing sutures may be tightened to restore the desired contour. The most significant concern is that the “threadlift” sutures may be felt or seen under the skin. This may occur if the thread is too close to the surface of the skin or if the skin thins with advancing age or weight loss. In this scenario, the offending thread may be removed and a new thread can be inserted.
Following the Threadlift procedure, patients can reduce their risk of bruising and swelling if they keep their head elevated, keep cool compresses over the cheeks, and avoid straining or strenuous activities. To reduce the risk of â€œdisengagementâ€ or breaking of the threads, the cheeks should not be pulled down for six weeks. For example, facial massages are to be avoided and patients should take care when washing their face or shaving not to stretch their cheeks and jowls downward.
Additional procedures may be performed simultaneously with the Threadlift. For example, an upper eyelid lift, a lower eyelid lift, structural fat grafting, and neck liposuction may all be performed under local anesthesia in appropriately selected patients. In patients desiring additional skin tightening and collagen replenishment, the Thermage and/or Titan procedures should be performed either prior to the Threadlift procedure or at least two months following the Threadlift procedure.
Dr. Adam Summers is the medical director and founder of the Maryland Plastic Surgery – Skin Care and Laser Center. The center is the first fully integrated medical spa, ambulatory surgery cosmetic surgery center, and skincare laser center in the region. Dr. Adam Summers is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has been an Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery since 1999. Dr. Summers has published numerous papers, presented at national and internation meetings where he has won awards, has had his medical artwork work on display at the National Library of Medicine, and has received several grants for his innovative work in both reconstructive plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery.