Beauty innovation has reached new heights. You want your serum to virtually erase your expression lines? Not a prob. You want your nighttime lip oil to mask those marionette lines? Check. And you’d like to get the youthful-looking benefits of a face lift without any downtime, or really, any invasive surgery? Turns out, that’s a possibility, too.
The procedure we speak of is called the thread lift, and it features thread-like structures that are injected into the skin to create a taut, smooth surface with little to no downtime or pain afterwards.
Dr. Joseph A. Russo M.D., a board-certified, Harvard-trained plastic surgeon based in Newton, Massachusetts, says it won’t replace a facelift entirely, but it is less intense. It’s minimally invasive and only requires local anesthetic. And it’s not only performed on the face. It can be used on the neck, jawline, the breasts, buttocks, and even the décolleté.
"After being determined it is the appropriate treatment, a local anesthetic is used to numb the treatment area,” explains Dr. Russo. "A certified provider then strategically inserts one or more hypodermic Thread Lift needles superficially into the soft tissue of the area. These needles are preloaded with safe, absorbable sutures that have a specific shape to grip the skin, so as the provider pulls them, they create an instant skin repositioning.” This explains the “thread” within its name. "The sutures are left in place and dissolve over the next several months. As they dissolve, the skin gently reacts to them, increasing its collagen production.” The lift lasts for an average of 4-6 months.
As for side effects, he says that slight swelling, bruising, or soreness may occur for 1-2 days after the initial treatment.
So what makes it different than other popular injectables? This particular procedure lifts and holds up the tissue. "Fillers replace lost volume, and Botox relaxes the muscles that cause wrinkles and fine lines,” says Dr. Russo. However, he says none of them truly replace the other. They’re all meant to work together to get the result you’d like.
The most common patient, he explains, is between the ages of 30 and 55 and is looking for subtle treatments that work as preventative measures against more intense procedures. "Thread lifts are relatively new but gaining popularity with plastic surgeons, so I expect to see it become more accessible,” he says of its growth. "Skill is going to be what sets providers apart. I would not recommend treatment by a nurse or a medical professional that is not properly board certified.”
And as treatments like injectables become more and more in-demand, we can only expect that "lifts," whether made to hide wrinkles or copy the glow you get from an Instagram filter, will continue to pop up, too.
This article previously appeared on InStyle.