Until recently, having a facelift was the only way to address the more significant aspects of facial aging, such as loose jowls, deep wrinkles, and drooping cheeks. Thankfully, there is now a safe, non-surgical alternative. The thread lift, which is expertly performed by Dr. Jessica West at the Michigan Center for Cosmetic Services in Ann Arbor, MI, is an amazing technique that instantly takes years off a person’s appearance, with virtually no downtime.
If you’re wondering how long the incredible effects of this treatment might last, and how it otherwise compares to a traditional surgical facelift, keep reading.
The Short and Long Term Benefits of a Thread Lift
While many patients have very positive outcomes from a full surgical facelift, the daunting amount of recovery time and potential risks associated with the procedure scare many people off. The significant cost of a surgical facelift can also be prohibitive for some. This is among the reasons why non-surgical alternatives have gained so much popularity in recent years.
The advantages of an in-office treatment such as a thread lift are that the anti-aging results are immediate, there is virtually no discomfort, and the effects can last much longer than those of other non-invasive cosmetic treatments. For those of us who wish to significantly freshen our appearance without the stress and downtime of surgery, this is an option that makes a lot of sense.
What To Expect in the Short Term
Patients are often amazed that they leave their appointment, which normally takes no more than an hour, looking 10 or more years younger than they did when they arrived at the clinic. The immediate results of a non-surgical lift using dissolvable, biomedical threads can be astounding. The best part is that there is normally no downtime required – patients often feel well enough to go about their business right after their appointment.
What To Expect in the Long Term
A patient’s “lifted” appearance can last anywhere from two to three years. In most cases, patients still see very positive results at the 18-month mark. This is an excellent outcome for a treatment that shows similar cosmetic results to a full surgical facelift.
It is also important to note that the effects of a surgical facelift do not last forever, either! Patients who stick to a regular treatment timetable, scheduling a fresh lift when they notice that their original treatment results have faded, can maintain excellent long-term results without ever having to experience surgery. Engaging in good skin care practices can also extend the life of your lift.
How Does a Non-Surgical Facelift Work?
Special threads, made from a completely safe, dissolvable biomedical substance called “polydioxanone,” are inserted underneath the skin and are then gently pulled back to lift sagging areas. This innovative threading technique can be used to safely lift any part of the face and neck, including the jawline, forehead, cheeks, jowls, and eyebrows. The entire treatment usually takes less than an hour and can be performed under local anesthetic.
What Happens During Treatment
Once we have identified the areas that the patient wants to have lifted, these spots are marked for thread placement. Local anesthetic is then applied to the face and/or neck, ensuring a comfortable experience for the patient.
The very fine threads, which are textured to allow for better gripping, are gently inserted underneath the skin and then molded into place to ensure a precise outcome. As these threads are pulled back, the skin is lifted along with them. The threads are trimmed at the end and are completely invisible beneath the skin’s surface.
What Happen After Treatment
Many patients feel perfectly fine right after their treatment and are even able to return to work. In some cases, you might experience mild tenderness, but this should only last for a day or two. It is recommended that patients avoid facials and facial massages for at least 10 days following treatment. The face should be handled with care during this time until the results have a chance to fully “set.”
Many patients are pleasantly surprised to find that their treatment delivers other benefits in addition to the lift itself. This is because the face, after undergoing treatment, kicks into “healing mode” which activates collagen production in the treated areas. As the protein responsible for keeping the skin smooth, supple, and healthy, collagen is a critical factor in anti-aging. Unfortunately, our bodies produce progressively less collagen after age 30.
How Safe Is a Facelift Using Dissolvable Threads?
Thread lifts have been practiced since the 1990s, so the cosmetic medical field has had several decades to perfect the threading technique and to gauge its safety and effectiveness. Now that it is established as a completely safe and effective alternative to a surgical facelift, it is not surprising that the demand for this treatment has soared. Innovations in the threading material used for these lifts have also led to an increase in the popularity of this treatment.
Combining this Lift with Other Cosmetic Treatments
Many patients ask if it is safe to have this treatment performed in combination with other cosmetic treatments that they have come to rely on. The answer is yes. A non-surgical lift can be safely used alongside Botox, dermal fillers, and laser resurfacing treatments. The key, of course, is to find a reputable dermatologist who is skilled in performing these treatments both individually and in conjunction with each other.
Customizing Your Treatment
A thread lift is not a one-size-fits-all treatment. It is important to sit down with your dermatologist to discuss the exact results you wish to achieve, and which treatment plan will work best for your face. A skilled cosmetic dermatologist will be able to use the proper threading and lifting technique to ensure a balanced result.
Whether you want to address multiple signs of aging or you would prefer to target a specific area that has been bothering you, you will want to establish a realistic action plan with a reputable doctor who is very experienced in performing these treatments. During your consultation, we will carefully review your goals and medical history to ensure a customized treatment plan that is right for you.
The Cost of a Surgical vs Non-Surgical Facelift
While it is accepted that the results of a thread lift do not last as long as those of a traditional facelift, it must also be pointed out that this treatment can be performed at a fraction of the cost. According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, a traditional surgical facelift can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000.
While the cost of a non-surgical lift using threads can vary depending on the number of areas you wish to have corrected and the number of threads used, even the most extensive treatment will still be significantly less than the cost of a surgical lift. Even if you decide to have another thread lift performed in the future, the reality is that you would need to have multiple treatments performed to equal the cost of one surgical facelift.
Finding the Right Doctor to Perform Your Treatment
It cannot be overstated that while a thread lift is not surgery, it still requires the hand of a highly-skilled professional to ensure the desired outcome. Before scheduling a treatment, make sure you are dealing with an experienced cosmetic dermatologist who has a proven track record of success performing non-surgical facelifts.
Your doctor should be board certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and/or by the American Board of Otolaryngology & Facial Plastic Surgery.
Your consultation is not just a meeting to confirm your treatment plan – it is also an opportunity to get to know your doctor and to get answers to questions that will help you to feel more comfortable with the process. In addition to asking about your doctor’s credentials, you should also ask to see before and after pictures of their work. A reputable cosmetic dermatologist should also have this information readily available on their website.
The Best Cosmetic Dermatology Team in Michigan
If you feel that you no longer look like the best version of yourself, it might be time to consider cosmetic intervention. We can establish a treatment plan that will address your exact concerns and take years off your appearance. Contact us today at the Michigan Center for Cosmetic Services in Ann Arbor, MI so that we can help you to achieve a fresher, lifted, and more youthful appearance.