In July of 2004 Dr. Capuano attended a Toronto teaching seminar, hosted by Dr. Steve Mulholland, a renowned plastic surgeon, with practices in Toronto and Los Angeles, California. Dr. Mulholland, through studies with European, Indonesian, Asian and South American plastic surgeons has developed a procedure he calls ThreadLift(tm). ThreadLift tm employs technology that has been around since the 1960s, perhaps longer in other countries. Dr Mulholland demonstrated the technique (April 15, 2005), live on TV (Good Morning America). The procedure showed immediate, dramatic improvement. The Oprah Winfrey show has also featured the procedure and again the improvement was noted to be dramatic and immediate, without major incisions, etc.
The technique involves the use of threads, barbed threads, or sutures to lift up and contour various parts of the sagging face and neck. While some say that there are ‘no’ incisions, scars, etc. the technique can involve the use of usually very small incisions, usually less than an inch to accomplish the lifting.
The areas that can be lifted include the brow, cheek, and the area near the nose and under the lids, along with the jowls and the neck.
The technique can be done under Novocaine type anesthesia, along with medications taken by mouth. For those who are very apprehensive, intravenous sedation may be chosen.
Depending on the region(s) treated, the procedure takes usually between one to three hours. This procedure is not suitable for everyone, and may be used in conjunction with other, more involved surgeries.
Of course, there can be problems. Some possible problems or complications that can be associated with this procedure are depressions, dimpling, wrinkling and/or puckering. Risks may also include an allergic reaction to the anesthetic, collections of blood or fluid, infection at the tip of the suture or around the suture. The possibility of infection is small. This may occur particularly in the area of the thread “knot” under in the scalp or at the tip of the suture. While this has not yet occurred in our experience, it could require removal and/or replacement of the thread. The possibility of nerve injury of significance is low. Some areas may be slow to heal. No allergies to the suture material used have been reported to date.
Especially in thin skinned individuals, on close inspection (you are looking for problems), a line might be visible or the thread may be felt, especially if you go ‘looking’ for it ! If a thread end pokes into the skin or through the skin, the thread may have to be replaced, Contact us earlier than later if you think this might be happening. Call us if you have concerns.
Unequalness of the face is always a concern. This happens in this surgery as well as in face lift surgery. It is easier to attempt to correct unequalness with threads as opposed to going back and redoing a face lift. But certainly, there are very few faces that are equal on both sides for multiple reasons., including skin, tissue beneath the skin, muscle thickness, and bony structure. To think that symmetry will be present at the end of this procedure or even an open, extensive face lift procedure is not practical. There are options available for unequalness and these should be discussed with Dr. Capuano beforehand if they are a concern. Remember – doing nothing is an option..
Regarding the suture material: the suture material itself has been used for over fifty years. Tens of thousands, if not millions of this suture material is used each year in the US and worldwide. Placement of the barbs in the thread is considered to be the advancement, (what is ‘new’). However, if the literature is researched, barbed sutures are noted to have been around for a long time.
The FDA has approved a suture for such lifts in the USA (circa 4-2005). Other barbed sutures may be used at the discretion of the surgeon. Sutures from other countries such as Argentina, Russia, Korea, Indonesia, Canada, etc. have been used for years in their ‘native’ countries. Only recently has the technique been brought to the US for lifting of the face. Similar sutures were used in the USA during circa the 1970s for tendon repair by Dr Bunke.
This procedure, the ThreadLift(tm) – Barbilift(tm) – Featherlift(tm) whatever you want to call it, falls into the category of procedures that I call ‘weekend surgery’. Of course this may not be a ‘weekend lift’ for everyone, but our experience to date says that with this procedure and a little swelling and maybe some makeup to cover bruising should it occur, you can be operated on a Thursday and expect to be back to work on Monday. We usually do not recommend that you ‘play it so close’, which means it might be prudent to have more time available to recuperate. But many individuals who own their own business, or office, or have home employment, usually can sequester themselves while at work and limit their contact with others during recuperation period. The majority of patients have puckering or dimpling to some extent, and this may be present for 2-3 weeks. We have never seen this to be permanent, but if you are in a business involving lots of “face time” such as sales, etc., you may wish to take more than a few days off.
The cost involved with Threadlift(tm) is approximately $1,600-$6,000. The threads themselves are quite expensive. Full face, brow and neck treatment may be $4,000 – $6,000.
How long does it last? According to those with the longest experience, about three to five years, although results will vary from person to person depending on factors such as heaviness of the skin, facial expressiveness, etc.
The goals of most modern cosmetic surgeons are to decrease pain, downtime, and risks. The Thread Lift ™ fits these objectives or goals, in that, so far, downtime is less, and on average the risks and the amount of discomfort after the procedure are less.
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