How to Use Threads in Facelifting

Thread lifting is the latest innovative and exciting new method to reduce the signs of aging by elevating sagging tissue in the brows, cheeks and midface. The threads can also reposition the brow and soften the appearance of jowling. In some cases threads may be used to tighten loose neck skin, saving the requirement of a formal anterior neck lift. In this article we will look at three of the most popular thread lifting techniques that are presently performed under local anesthesia.

The three methods (Contour Threads TM, Curl Lift and FeatherLift TM) all developed in different countries and carry minimal side effects resulting in long lasting effects of between around 2-5 years. The Curl Lift was developed by French plastic surgeon, Dr. Pierre F.Fournier.

It is a subtle lift using a special needle to attach a nylon or prolene, non absorbable, non-barbed suture thread from the area of the face or neck that is being “lifted” to a stationary point on the scalp. This procedure lifts the desired parts of the face or upper neck. Local anesthesia is used, resulting in a short recovery period and minimal discomfort. The best candidates for the Curl Lift are young to middle age patients who want to slightly lift their brows, cheeks and neck, or to diminish jowl formation.

The Curl Lift will soften nasolabial folds, as well as marionette lines. The Curl Lift is not appropriate for the patient with a lot of excess skin. Those patients who have already experienced a surgical face lift may benefit from the Curl Lift to restore any diminishing results. Complications and side effects are mild and few due to the limited invasiveness of the procedure. Dimples around the lower curl may be observed, but these are easily fixed. Sometimes the skin above the suspension bunches up.

This almost always disappears in one to three weeks. The results of a Curl Lift are not as dramatic as a surgical procedure, but give good results in selected cases with young or mature patients who don’t want and don’t need major surgery. The Featherlift was originally developed by a Moscow cosmetic surgeon, Dr Marlen A. Salamanidze in the late 1990’s. It uses specially patented Aptos threads to support the soft tissue upwards. Dr Salamanidze took prolene and cut barbs (very small “teeth”) along its length to act as a truss to lift up a drooping brow, cheek or jowl. This technique resulted in the development and creation of APTOS (antiptosis) threads, which have now been patented and further developed. The Aptos threads are made of a blue monofilament polypropylene material and designed with bi-directional cogs or barbs that hook tissue and lift it into place.

Other forms of threads or sutures, both barbed and smooth have also now been developed for use in threading lifting procedures. These threads can be used to lift any area of the face: eyebrow, cheek, jowl and neck to produce a gentle lifting of lax facial tissues. With the patient under local anesthesia and without incision, a guiding needle is used to place the threads under the skin, where the cogs on the threads attach to the skin, gently lift it, and secure it in the desired position. Patients typically have four to twenty threads placed, depending on the number of facial areas to be treated. An entire face can be treated within one hour, and some patients return to work within few days. Occasional swelling and bruising may last about one week. This method is most suited for younger and middle-aged patients with drooping of the soft tissue of the face and neck, flaccid, flat faces, weak facial contours, or those with premature aging around the face and neck.

The most popular lifting method today is Contour Threads, which was designed in USA, using clear non absorbable strands of polypropylene. Many patients have recently been disturbed to hear that Contour Threads may be soon phased out for economic reasons as they are minimally invasive, very safe and leave no telltale signs of surgery. The principle behind Contour Threads it that they also have small cogs that glide easily beneath the skin when the threads are inserted. These sutures can gently lift drooping facial features upward, restoring a more natural, relaxed, and fresh appearance to the face. The brow, cheek, jowl and neck can also be deftly contoured, creating a natural, youthful appearance. Over time, the body generates new collagen around the Contour Threads, which helps maintain the lift. The threads can also be anchored to the scalp tissue through very small incisions to avoid thread migration and to allow more lifting and tightening process.

The Contour Lift is usually performed under local anesthesia. For those who are especially anxious, light sedation can be used. The length of the procedure depends on the number of threads required. A typical treatment takes about one hour. Incisions are usually so small that skin stitches are not needed. The patient can usually return to normal activities (including work) within one to seven days.


– What is a Contour ThreadLift?

A Contour ThreadLift with patented Contour Threads is a minimally invasive, safe and effective non-surgical procedure that offers that offers subtle, natural-looking facelift-like results.

– How is it performed?

A Contour ThreadLift utilizes tiny surgical sutures to lift and support the droopy areas of the brow, cheeks, face and neck. Contour threads have tiny, teeth-like (barb-like) cogs that will grasp on to and lift the soft tissues. The threads are inserted in precise locations using a long needle, and once inserted under the skin, they open in an umbrella like fashion to form a support structure that gently lifts and repositions the tissues into a more vertical and youthful position. With the lift effect secured, the needle is removed, the end of the thread is cut and knotted, allowing it to retract deep under the skin where it cannot be felt or seen. The non-absorbable threads stay within the deep tissues and provide support.

– What are “barbed” sutures?

Unlike conventional sutures which are smooth, patented Contour Threads have tiny teeth-like barbs or cogs that are spaced evenly apart. Once inserted under the skin, they are fixated with tension that creates a suspension effect that gently lifts sagging tissues.

What do the threads look like?

Unlike other thread products, Contour Threads(TM) are clear so they are not visible under fair or thin skin.

– How do they work?

Due to the unique design of the cogs of Contour Threads(TM), the surrounding tissues act to hold the threads in place without the need for visible scars. The physician makes a tiny incision behind the hairline and the threads are advanced along the previously marked contours so they create a firm hold on the underlying tissues without causing additional trauma. The cogs do the work of holding, by being fixated to tissue as they are softly contoured into place. Once in position, your body generates new collagen bundles that surround each thread to maintain the lifting effect.

– Does it hurt?

Pain and discomfort are very minimal with this technique and most patients can take only Tylenol for pain relief. In most cases, ice compresses are recommended for the first 24-48 hours.

– Is it safe?

When performed by a certified physician with experience, the procedure is very safe. The risks and complications are uncommon and usually easily correctable. The actual sutures are made from polypropylene, which is a material that has been used in brain, heart and abdominal surgery for many years. Since a Contour Threadlift is performed under local anesthesia, there are none of the risks associated with general anesthesia.

– What kind of care is required after the procedure?

Following a Contour ThreadLift procedure, there are some practical instructions and care that must be followed to avoid traumatising or dislodging the threads from their supportive locations in the deep fat of the face and neck. Some of these instructions include avoidance of forceful facial rubbing or trauma, sleeping on your back, minimal facial animations, putting pressure on the face, and avoidance of excessive mouth opening. After 3 weeks, there are no more restrictions.

– When can I return to work and activities?

Depending upon your job and your tolerance for some minor bruising and swelling, you may be able to return to work in 2-3 days following the procedure. Most patients look good in makeup after one week.

– How many treatments will I need?

Usually only one procedure is needed to achieve the desired lifting effect.

– How long do the results last?

Duration varies depending on the age of the patient at the time of the procedure, the degree of sagging, and the number of threads used. Additional threads may be added as needed. The lift effect of the Contour ThreadLift can last 3-5 years in some cases.


Q. What are Threads?

A. Contour Threads and Feather Aptos are polypropylene extrusions (clear, Contour Threads), (blue, FeatherLift) that have been developed with unidirectional (Contour Threads) or bidirectional (FeatherLift) barbs along their length. Curl Thread is a monofilament nylon (black or clear) or prolene (blue) regular suture thread. All threads are non absorbable and permanent.

Q. How do the threads work?

A. These barbs, or cogs, grasp the adjacent flesh when inserted under the skin of the face and neck, allowing the operator to manipulate the thread to raise and tighten the area of skin into which the thread has been placed.

Q. Who is the best candidate?

A. The best candidates for this procedure are both men and women with limited facial and neck droop; patients that would like more contour; and those who have already had a facelift.

Q. What areas of the body are contoured using threads?

A. There is more than one thread application that can be performed to manipulate various areas of the face and neck, depending upon the extent and location of the required treatment. A combination of techniques can be beneficial. Volume to cheeks is added with Feather Lift. The brow, nasolabial folds, the marionettes and the neck are contoured using Contour Threads Lift. The cheeks and neck are slightly lifted with Curl Lift.

Q. How long do the procedures take?

A. All the techniques are quick; the actual length of time will depend on the number of threads used. A full face procedure usually takes about 45-60 minutes to perform.

Q. How long is the recovery time following thread treatments?

A. Most recoveries last less than one week. Some patients are able to return to normal activities, including work, in one day after the Curl Lift and few days after Contour Threads Lift and FeatherLift.

Q. Is anesthesia required during these treatments?

A. Local anesthesia is adequate in most cases during these procedures. Some patients require a mild sedative, usually because they are apprehensive.

Q. What are the side effects and possible complications of these procedures?

A. Complications and side effects are mild to none. Some discomfort, swelling and bruising may occur, but these side effects disappear quickly. Polypropylene threads elicit a minimal reaction in tissue that is followed by a gradual encapsulation. They are used in other surgical applications without any side effects.

Q. Do these procedures replace a surgical “face lift”?

A. The results of these procedures are not as dramatic as a surgical traditional face lift procedure. They can be similar to a mini-face lift. However, they give good results in selected cases with both young and mature patients who don’t want or require major surgery. Suture thread results can often rival those of a conventional mid-facelift in appropriately selected patients who do not have a lot of sagging or do not want to undergo traditional surgery.

Q. How many treatments will I need?

A. Usually only one procedure is needed to achieve the desired lifting or contouring effect. Threads can be added with time to defy the continuous aging process.

Q. How long do the results last? A. Duration varies depending on the age of the patient at the time of the procedure, the degree of sagging, and the number of threads used.

Q. What can I do to maintain the results?

A. Aftercare recommendations include the correct combination of creams and ointments and proper nutrition to maintain your results. Nutritional counselling and the correct products for your skin type are available through our offices. Other treatments are also offered to complement your face lift with threads: PhotoFacial/FotoFacial Skin Rejuvenation, Luscious Lips, Restoration and Enhancement, Anti-Aging Treatments, Botox Injections, Restylane, Sculptra, Collagen, Cosmoplast Injections, Anti-Wrinkle Laser Treatment and Chemical Peels.