“PDO is an FDA-approved suture material that has been used in cardiothoracic surgery for the past 30 years,” says Anna Guanche, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of the Bella Skin Institute based in Calabasas, California, of one of the most popular thread materials. “It is fully dissolved by the body within four to six months. The presence of this PDO material in the skin stimulates collagen, and this newly produced collagen will maintain its hold for another 12 to 15 months.”

To create a lift in the skin, bi-directional cones or barbs are used on the suture to hold the “lift” in place. If you’re squeamish with injections, this may not be the treatment for you — a blunt-tipped cannula is used to insert the threads underneath the skin. Dr. Guanche explains that typical sutures are tied in a loop to make a knot when skin is stitched together (think stitches after the skip of a kitchen knife.) 

But in this case, the suture is simply threaded through the skin without a knot, which is why cones or barbs are needed to lift the skin. “You could just put a suture under the skin and it would stimulate collagen but without barbs or cones it wouldn’t lift — it’s not hooking into anything,” she says. But hook them in place and voilà: a more lifted cheek, jaw, et cetera.

What are the benefits of thread lifts for the body?

The benefits thread lifts have for the face extend to the body: there’s an instant “wow” factor as the results are immediate, there’s minimal downtime, and it stimulates collagen production at the same time, giving a lift to the body part in question.

“I use the sutures in a weaving pattern I developed to give a 3D resurfacing of the skin, hiding excess in natural creases and folds,” says Dr. Few of how he uses threads for the arms, legs, and abdomen. He recommends utilizing threads in combination with other non-invasive treatments, like filler for plumping, laser treatments to tighten, and Ulthera, which helps with collagen and elasticity. But, he notes, threads alone can be very effective depending on the patient.

Dr. Guanche has used threads to rejuvenate the chest and reduce the appearance of sleep lines, and they can also be used around the elbow and knees. At her practice, her most-requested area outside of the face is the neck, which can require extra care for a (literally) seamless result.



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