Facial sagging is one of the most relevant concerns in any aesthetic practice, and can be addressed through various treatment methodologies, including threading, writes Dr Gerhard van Niekerk.
Facial sagging is a natural ageing course determined by genetics, environmental factors (e.g. UV radiation, computer or phone usage) and lifestyle choices (e.g. facial expressions, weight gain/loss, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, bad eating habits and poor skincare). It entails the loss of collagen and elastin in the skin, the loss of volume in all three fat layers (subdermal, intermediate and deep), elongation of the tendons, as well as the weakening of muscle tone and changes to bone structure.
To address this challenging issue, there are four main different methods available:
- Surgery (face lift)
- Filler augmentation
- Skin tightening devices (micro-focused ultrasound, radiofrequency, etc.)
In this article, the threads available in South Africa will be discussed.
A constant evolution
Threads became popular about 15 years ago, and are still gaining momentum as a non-surgical alternative to repositioning the descended, deflated fat compartments that cause skin sagging – typically those presenting as jowls, deep nasolabial folds and turkey neck.
What’s more, the development of different technologies has become so dynamic that new threads are reaching the marketplace daily, such as spring, screw, double-screw, mono- and bidirectional, barbs, meshes, cogs and cones (to name but a few).
The chemical ingredient/s of the threads vary from PDO (polydioxanone), PLLA (polylactic acid) and PCL (polycaprolactone) to hyaluronic and glycolic acid combinations. These combinations will become more prevalent in future as other chemicals are introduced.
The ins and outs of treatment
Areas treated with threads are brow lift, infra-orbital volumising, nasal profiling, nasolabial and marionette lines, jowls and turkey neck, non-surgical otoplasty, and body threads (breast or bum).
The principle of threads is to fixate the mobile zone (e.g. jowl and turkey neck) and anchor it on to the stable zone (e.g. temporal or mastoid fascia) in a mid-facial elevation procedure.
Training for thread procedures is paramount, and every company has a training programme with a qualified distinguished trainer on their specific technique.
Prices for thread lift procedures vary between companies, depending on the amount of threads being used to achieve the desired result.
Meanwhile, the longevity of results lies within which product is used, as well as the quantity of threads inserted.
On average, the results for the knot and cone system will last between 12 to 24 months, while barbed sutures (PDO) may last approximately between 4 to 12 months.
Although most threads are dissolvable, the body’s fibroblast activity is stimulated, generating more collagen and elastin, which gives a longer-lasting result.
Threads currently available on the local market:
Cone and knot suture, containing PLLA and glycolic acid
Barbed suture, containing PDO, PLLA, PCL and HA
Cogged, containing PDO
Barbed and cogged, containing PDO
Subject to the type and number of threads inserted, the procedure takes between 20 minutes and two hours.
Threads are inserted under local anaesthetic – in-office under a flawless aseptic environment – and ONLY by a qualified doctor.
Considering the ease of use, results achieved and longevity of thread treatment, it is a useful modality in the toolbox of any aesthetic practice. Patients achieve a natural, lasting result without long downtime and minimal side effects.
*Please note, threads are considered scheduled medical devices, we are therefore unable to publish product/brand names in adherence to medical rules and regulations. Should you wish to know more about the various thread products available, kindly contact the author.
Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by GENOP healthcare. The content herein is provided by Dr Gerhard van Niekerk, which is based on his professional experience on using threads as a skin rejuvenation treatment for his patients.
www.genop.co.za | +27 (0) 11 545 9300
Written by Dr Gerhard van Niekerk
- General practitioner with a special interest in aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine
- Founder of Dr Gerhard van Niekerk Medical Aesthetic Clinic www.drgerhardvanniekerk.com
- Local and international trainer and presenter
- Executive member of AAMSSA
A2 Disclaimer: This article is published for information purposes only, nor should it be regarded as a replacement for sound medical advice.
This article was written by Dr Gerhard van Niekerk and edited by the A2 team EXCLUSIVELY for the A2 Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Magazine Spring 2021 Edition (Issue 38 – Sep 2021 to Dec 2021).
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