Thread Lifts - The No-Surgery Face Lifting Alternative

A surgical facelift is no longer the only option for lifting and contouring a face. Besides the use of neuromodulators such as Botox and Dysport to relax hyperactive muscles and dermal fillers to plump up lost volume, skin tightening lasers and radio-frequency treatments are also great ways to fight the effects of gravity and collagen degeneration. 



Thread lifts, often refered to as brand names such as Silhouette Lift, Contour Lift or Happy Lift, are another important method that is gaining in popularity and efficacy. Also known as suture lifts, thread lifts involve the use of threads or sutures made from the same materials used in surgery to close wounds. When placed under the skin, they can be used to tighten and volumize areas of the skin that are loose or sagging. Much like suspension cables, they are designed to hold up the skin in place, and provide a supportive structure that defies the effects of gravity and aging.


Thread lifts are a convenient 'lunchtime' facial rejuvenation alternative, that requires no general anesthesia, hospitalisation or long recovery, and gives immediate results that continue to improve up to 2 months after the procedure. They can be performed in various areas of the face and body, to target specific problem areas, or used to give an overall facial rejuvenation from the brows to the neck area.

While thread lifts are not a replacement for a full face lift where excess skin needs to be removed, they are an ideal option for those who want a natural yet unmistakable improvement, without all the stress and worries of a full surgical procedure.


What can thread lifting do?

Thread lifts can be a great way to rejuvenate and restore youthful contours to areas such as the brows, cheeks, jowls and the neck area. They can also be used to give youthful tone to areas on the body such as the breasts, buttocks and upper arms, places that are prone to sagging and loss of volume due to weight loss, poor muscle tone, or the aging process. Vaginal threads are also available that help to tighten the perineal muscle and vaginal passage, for a functional and aesthetic improvement.

Each suture or thread has cones or knots that help to hold lifted skin in place. Made of permanent or absorbable materials similar to those used in cardiovascular and opthalmic surgeries, the sutures are designed to  have imbedded cones or hooks that work to stimulate collagen production while holding the thread in place.

The benefits of a thread lift include shaping and lifting, and can give dramatic results that last from 18 months up to 5 years, depending on the type of thread used. Thread lifts are a good option for those aged 30 to 60 years, for whom gentle sagging may be apparent, but collagen deposits are still enough for regeneration. Younger patients who want to improve their facial contours, or those with facial asymmetry may also consider this treatment.


How is a thread lift performed?

While techniques vary according to a patient's specific needs, the doctor's training, and the type of threads used, thread lifting generally involves the use of a thread that is inserted under the skin in a way that helps the skin be lifted. 

Before a thread is inserted, markings are made to determine the proper point of entry, directional vectors and exit point. Depending on the type of thread (single direction or bi-directional, for example) the entry and exit points will vary. 

Some techniques require a small incision to be made at the entry point, while the newest methods need only a puncture wound to be created with a large gauge needle. A thread is then inserted along the previously marked lines. Once tightened, the thread's  cones or hooks help to hold the skin in a lifted position. Areas such as the cheeks may need multiple threads or a looping thread to plump up the cheek fat for a youthful, volumised result. The neck area is usually supported with laced sutures that lock the skin to the lower jaw area to give a contoured neckline.

The results are immediately visible and continue to improve in the next 2 months as collagen remodeling takes effect. The threads are invisible, although can sometimes be palpated (felt with the fingers) in certain areas. Some patients feel minimal discomfort such as a slight ache or sensation while chewing or smiling, but this fades within the first week. Slight dimpling, bruising, and swelling is normal within the first few days, but improve rapidly as the sutures are absorbed. The incisions made for the entry and exit points are tiny and heal without unsightly stitches.


Areas which can be treated include:






Brows - brow line lifting
Cheeks - cheek fat repositioning and contouring
Nasal flare - correct for widely flared nostrils and improve nasal shape
Nasolabial folds - lift and tighten cheek contours to reduce nasolabial folds
Lips - improve lip shape and contours
Jowls - lift lower jaw area to improve and tighten jowl shape and contour
Neckline - reduce turkey neck effect and return youthful contours to neckline

Ask your aesthetic practitioner if you are a candidate for thread lifts today.

-- Cosmetic MD

Dr. Liow Tiong Sin is an aesthetic practitioner who practices in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, Malaysia. He has more than 12 years of expertise with non-surgical cosmetic treatments, and  conducts training courses for other doctors from all around Asia. To connect with Dr. Liow, Like Cosmedmd's Facebook page. medical centre website or email




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