Other associated terms: Contour Thread Lift™, Contour Threads™, Thread Lift, Threadlift, Thread Facelift, FeatherLift™.
The Contour Threadlift™ (not to be confused with either a FeatherLift™ (FDA approved), aka Aptos thread lift or a Gold Thread Lift) was removed from the market in April of 2007. It lost FDA approval due to numerous complaints about disfigurements, “dimpling” “irregularities on the face”, and threads which were either too close to the skin, or, woven by a surgeon’s hand in & out of the tissue.
Additionally, the manufacturer did not require that the doctors who bought the product be trained in the procedure and have a plastic surgery certification.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the Contour Thread-lift system™ in 2005. And while FDA canceled its approval after reports describing problematic issues, similar products are still available, and the procedure is still used by many.
One can find a variety of different techniques, each with their own name, and some of them have been developed into a brand, as with the Quick Lift Face Lift™ and the Lifestyle Lift™. Because of this, you should be cautious when choosing which method is right for you, since marketing is involved and can be extremely influential.
Your research should include visiting the website of the particular method you’re interested in and see their before and after pictures. But never choose which one you’re going to have until you’ve actually spoken to someone who has had that procedure (and the doctor performing that procedure) and are satisfied with the results.
Unfortunately, there have been incidences of some companies posting false reviews on the internet. Speaking to a live person who’s gone through that particular procedure, and been satisfied, is of the utmost importance.
Contour Threads™ were used in cosmetic surgery to vertically lift facial tissues that had drooped (ptosis) or become sunken due to aging. This “ptosis” is a common phenomenon to which many cosmetic facial surgery techniques are directed.
In this procedure, strands of Prolene monofilament thread, with little notches cut into their sides, were placed in the subcutaneous fat layer just under the drooping facial skin. These were then anchored under secured points in the forehead and the back of the head (fronto-occipitalis) and jawbone area (temporalis) tissues.
Drooping facial skin was then elevated onto the barbed threads, and would stay elevated because of the barbs. Thus the patient would obtain a light version of a facelift, without the surgical procedure and removal of skin associated with a standard facelift (rhytidectomy).
The major advantage with a thread lift was that, in the event a patient was unhappy with the results, the threads could be easily removed. At that point, the patient’s face returned to its position prior to the procedure.
Thus, Contour Threads™ had almost no perceived permanent biological effects, since the lift was reversible. The effects can last for a number of years (the manufacturer was quoted at 2–5 years), after which time the lifting effect is gradually lost and the patient’s face returns to its state prior to treatment.
Gold Thread Lift:
This procedure involves inserting 24-carat gold threads (less than 0.1mm thick) into the dermis layer of skin over a particular area. The procedure, itself, along with the recovery, risks and costs are similar to the Contour Threadlift™, Feather Lift™ and Aptos Lift.
FeatherLift™ (Aptos Lift):
The FeatherLift™ is also referred to as an Aptos Lift “FeatherLift™” from K.M.I. Other thread companies have given their techniques other names, such as; “The Silk Lift™” or “Russian Threads”.
The Aptos threads have barbs which lie in one direction and “open up” when they are implanted into the subcutaneous fat layer of the facial skin and pulled into place. The tissue is then suspended and lifted. Eventually the results are improved over time as the patient’s collagen encapsulates around the threads – which causes an even further lifting effect.
The procedure, itself, along with the recovery, risks and costs are similar to the Contour Threadlift™ and Gold Thread Lift.
Potential threadlift candidates show minimal aging signs. For those individuals, positive results may be been achieved with just a minor lift (mini face lift). Women, aged 35-40, make up the majority of threadlift patients. Those who have chosen a thread lift have already started to notice the beginnings of the facial aging process. They may begin to see a more prominent jaw, a slightly drooping mid-facial appearance or bagging around the neck and/or under the eyes. Older patients may decide on a thread lift while obtaining a more aggressive rhytidectomy (surgical facelift) in order to provide more support to the soft tissues that were recently elevated during a facelift.
Younger individuals could possibly suffer from brow and/or cheek ptosis (muscles that have been weakened which result in saggin and/or drooping). These people also seek thread lifts since they wish to avoid the more invasive procedural alternatives that are used to address problems in the faces of older subjects.
Those who had relapsed from a previous neck or facelift procedure may also seek thread lifts. However, in all cases, ideal thread lift candidates, should understand all the possible risks involved with thread lift surgery.
The procedure is performed in just 1-2 hours, usually without anesthesia. Small incisions are made in the designated area on the patients face, where the cosmetic surgeon then slides in thin threads. These threads are attached to the tissue of the skin and are pulled back to both lift and smooth out the face.
Treated areas are raised slightly—almost immediately– eliminating sagging and providing patients the effects of a minor facelift. After knotting the threads, each becomes hidden within the skin.
Cosmetic surgeons often use thread lifts in combination with brow lifts, neck lifts, and chin lifts.
Thread lift surgery recovery is relatively mild but the patient may experience some mild swelling, bruising and general facial discomfort. This can be managed by prescription medications from your doctor. Any scarring should be almost invisible and normal activity is normally resumed in a few days.
Risks Associated With Thread Lifts:
Of course, all surgical procedures, can involve risks and complication. Some risks specific to the thread face lift include:
Threads that continue to be visible through the skin or the thread lift not working due to normal activities such as smiling or talking.
Infection can occur, which is a standard risk for all surgical procedures and rejection of the suture material is possible. Although it is a minimally invasive procedure, there can still be visible swelling, bruising and discomfort in excess of a week. More serious issues have been reported which led to the removal of Contour Threadlift ™ FDA approval.
The cost of a thread lift depends on the experience of the surgeon, the area(s) that are to be treated and the region of the country where the procedure is performed. The amount of material used (number of threads) in the procedure also affects the total cost. The average thread lift cost ranges from $1,500 – $5,000.
The procedure, itself, tends to be cheaper than a conventional face lift which is due to the fact that it’s quicker to perform and an anesthesia professional is not required. An overnight hospital stay is also unnecessary.
In 2006, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons stated that the national average surgeon’s fee (not including materials and miscellaneous costs) for a thread lift was $2,450.