New threads should boost thread lift's acceptance

June 1, 2006

Complications from the procedure that have sparked some debateinclude the potential for thread failure, migration, exposure,static and dynamic deformities and palpable threads.

This is the future, predicts Barry Lycka, M.D., speaking at the annual meeting of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery here.

New thread types

"The new threads will lift better, and since they're securely attached to the hairline, there is fixation, which is important," Dr. Lycka tells Dermatology Times.

New threads of the future that are currently in development will, in fact, be absorbable and made of nylon instead of polypropylene.

"Nylon is softer and will last longer," Dr. Lycka says. "And the nice thing about nylon is that 25 percent is reabsorbed a year, so after four years, it's gone."

The thread lift is currently approved in the United States, as well as Canada, Australia and Mexico, and the advantages to the procedure are plentiful and alluring: There is no major trauma involved, meaning most patients can return to work immediately or within a few days; since the threads are often inserted through puncture wounds that heal nearly invisibly, there are no major scars; and the technique is relatively easy to learn.

In addition, the procedure is quick, usually taking less than an hour to perform; no general or tumescent anesthesia is needed; the procedure is virtually bloodless; and there is little pain and swelling during or after the lift.

Potential complications

Complications from the procedure that have sparked some debate include the potential for thread failure, migration, exposure, static and dynamic deformities and palpable threads.

While there are no reports of infection, Dr. Lycka says he expects there ultimately may be some, and there also have not been reports of the rejection of threads, nerve damage, scarring or major hematomas. However, there have been contusions.

The procedure can cause some creasing in front of the ear, for instance, resulting from a lift in the jowl area, but the creases typically dissipate within three weeks, Dr. Lycka says.

The best candidates for the thread lift are younger patients, aged 35 to 50, with some skin laxity. Those who are not ideal candidates include patients with tight, full faces, such as overweight patients, or those with thin skin types, Dr. Lycka says.

He emphasizes, however, that the thread lift treats only one or two components of the aging face - descent and, to a milder degree, deflation. In working toward optimal results in improving the aging face, combinations of minimally invasive procedures are nearly always preferable to address the spectrum of issues, including loss of facial fat and volume, dermal atrophy and bony reabsorption, he says.

"I strongly believe combinations are more important with anything - and that goes for the thread lift, too," Dr. Lycka says. "Botox, fillers and cutaneous rejuvenation are also important - not just the threads themselves."

Disclosure: Dr. Lycka was provided an educational grant to attend the conference and conducts Aptos thread lift training courses.

For more information: Dr. Lycka may be reached for further information at basl@shaw.ca
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