One of the latest procedures on the UK’s Cosmetic Surgery "circuit" is the ‘quickie’ face lift or "threadlift". Contour Threading, a new procedure which takes between 40 and 90 minutes and is already popular in the US uses threads inserted into the hairline which are then pulled to tighten the skin to restore the natural symmetry of the face.
Whereas traditional face lifts require an overnight stay and several days recovery time, contour threading can be performed in a day and most patients return to work within two to three days. Transform Medical Group claims it is a "quick-fix" for professional women feeling the pressure to look young and that this new procedure is becoming extremely popular in cities such as London and Manchester.
Contour threads have tiny barbs or cogs and are made of clear polypropylene so they are not visible under fair or thin skin. Polypropylene is a material that has been safely used in the body for many years in medical devices, and once in position the body generates new collagen bundles that encapsulate each thread to help maintain the elevation or lifting effect.
However the procedure has been criticised by some leading plastic surgeons who believe it is painful, uncomfortable and an inferior technique, particularly as surgeons have been using thread lifts in Europe for several years but many have abandoned the technique because it is short lasting.
Douglas McGeorge, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President-Elect said: “Minimally-invasive techniques are usually only effective for minimal corrections and for the short term, while traditional surgery can achieve a more extensive facial rejuvenation. It’s unfortunate that claims are made that increase patients’ expectation beyond what the technique can actually deliver.”
But Mary Burney, director of clinical services at Transform Medical Group, said: “Contour threading is proving to be extremely popular as an easy and quick option. The results of a Contour Threadlift last for approximately three to five years and over time the threads can be gently tightened for added support or additional threads may be added as needed”.
She also added that patients are informed they will not get a long lasting effect from this treatment and that it does not replace a conventional facelift but is an innovative, minimally invasive approach with similar results.
The cost of a threadlift
The procedure costs approximately £3,000. More than 2,000 physicians are trained in the use of Contour Threads world-wide and the number of procedures is estimated between 10,000 and 12,000.