With the rise in popularity of thread lifts, patients often ask if they are a candidate to undergo a thread lift versus a surgical facelift. While the notion of “lunchtime facelift” with avoiding surgery, possible complications and recovery time sounds enticing, they are completely different treatments and are not necessarily interchangeable.
The four biggest questions to answer when considering which treatment is right for you
1. Degree of facial aging
Including age, skin quality, how much extra skin there is, if there is extra fat that needs to be removed or repositioned.
When there is an excess amount of skin that’s hanging by your jowls and neck, a thread lift would simply be insufficient for you and a facelift is a better option that can address the skin as well. In addition, neck aging is the most common concern among patients and becomes visible with time, and thread lifts do a poor job to address the sagging neck and do not provide a significant lift in that area So. if you are mainly concerned about a neck lift, thread lift would be a poor option for you as well.
2. How much downtime do you have and your expectations
With a surgical facelift, you can expect about 2 weeks of social downtime as the swelling and bruising resolve and no physical activity for about 1 month. With thread lifts, it’s about 1 week of physical activity restriction with mild bruising and swelling.
The aging process is due to the gradual descent of tissues in the face and neck, and not just from loose skin. A good surgical technique releases and repositions the tissues. That approach is what provides a long-lasting and natural result with the best aesthetic outcome. On the other hand, thread lifts provide a temporary lift on the skin and superficial layers only, without addressing the release of tissues and ligaments that have been affected by the aging process. So they provide a more minimal final result.
3. Treatment Cost
There are many different types of threads and techniques out there and the term “thread lift” is far from standardized. Depending on the material used, a number of threads placed, and the expertise of the provider, the cost can vary greatly, anywhere from $1,000 to close to $10,000. PDO threads, which are popular in the U.S., last up to 1 year. So, this is typically a procedure that needs to be repeated around that time frame, which can start adding up to the costs.
There are advertisements regarding thread lifts inducing collagen and creating a “permanent effect.” Be cautious of any provider that makes such a promise, PDO threads are made up of semi-absorbable sutures that the body resorbs over time. It’s possible they can induce a reaction that creates a more lasting result, but I wouldn’t count on it. On the other hand, face and Neck lift surgery also has a variable cost depending on the technique, location, and surgeon experience and can cost anywhere from $10,000 to upwards of $50,000. The results can last up to 10 years depending on keeping your weight stable, routine skincare maintenance, and genetics.
4. Complications of Facelift vs. Thread Lifts
Thread lifts are not completely risk-free. Complications include infection, asymmetry, thread migration, dimpling, and inadequate results. They are also not appropriate in certain areas, specially the nose. The good news is that due to their absorbing properties, most complications can be addressed and resolved over time. Facelift on the other hand involves complications related to using anesthesia, bleeding, infection, scar formation, and nerve damage. And some of these can be long-lasting.
Facelift vs. Thread Lifts: Conclusion
If we had to sum up everything, if you are in the younger age range, say under 40, starting to see minimal jowls, and want a mild lift along the lower and mid-face, thread lifts are certainly an option for you. Basically, you are not a facelift candidate, but still want a minimal lift and reshaping of the midface.
Minimally invasive options
Out of the minimally invasive options offered, Botox, fillers, lasers, RF micro-needling, etc, thread lift is the one treatment that directly lifts the tissue. But if you are older, have significant jowls, descent amount of loose skin, expect a definite and noticeable result, and want the neck lifted as well, then a facelift and neck lift is a much better option for you. So getting a thread lift to avoid a facelift is a false notion, as they are designed for different problems and the results are not comparable.