Most thread lifting procedures today are non-invasive. While there are many different types of thread lifts, the PDO thread lift is amongst the most popular today.
The threads are made in South Korea, and is one of the most commonly performed skin lifting procedures today.
What is the PDO Thread Lift?
The PDO Thread Lift is a treatment which lifts and tightens sagging skin tissue, using threads made of Polydioxanone (PDO). The threads introduces them into the deeper layers of the skin.
Once introduced, the threads produce 3 effects in the skin:
Instant Skin Lifting through mechanical effects
Cellular Renewel, through Collagen stimulation, and neovascularisation to improve skin texture, fine lines and elasticity
Skin Tightening, by contracting fat tissue
About 6 months after the procedure, the PDO threads will disappear through simple hydrolysis (they are absorbable). The lifted facial contours will remain for about 3-6 months more, due to the cellular rejuvenation effects.
Your skin cells are stimulated to produce new collagen, and new blood vessels to improve skin microcirculation. At the same time, the PDO threads cause the fat tissue to contract, producing a skin tightening and facial slimming effect.
How is PDO Thread Lift Done?
A PDO Thread Lift is a minimally invasive procedure. After numbing and infusion of local anesthetia, the PDO threads are inserted via sharp or blunt tip needles (called cannulas) into different layers of the skin. Once inserted, the threads anchor the skin and lift it upwards. The excess threads are then cut off.
Depending on the areas treated, the procedure takes 15-30 minutes. There is some discomfort during the procedure, but depending on the technique can be very manageable without pain medications.
Are There Different Types of PDO Threads?
There are many types of PDO threads – and this can be confusing for patients, and even doctors.
In general, PDO threads can be divided into floating, non-barbed threadsand barbed threads. These can be further sub-classified in several ways:
Unilateral vs bilateral
Uni-directional vs bi-directional vs z-type
Cutting barbs vs molding barbs
You may have heard of fancy names like “double screw” or “tornado”, or “heart barbs”. They all refer to threads in one of the categories described above.
In addition, PDO threads come in different thickness and length. These all affect their quality, tensile strength, effectiveness, and of course, price of your treatment.
You may choose to use different threads for your treatment , depending on your skin lifting and rejuventation needs.
Is PDO Thread Lift Safe? What are the Possible Side Effects?
This treatment is surprisingly safe. Compared to fillers, the side effects are, in fact, much milder (fillers can even cause skin necrosis and blindness in rare cases )
Because PDO threads are inserted via needles and not surgery, and are absorbed in 6-8 months, many of the side effects associated with older thread lifting procedures, such as infection and thread breakage are also minimised.
Depending on the types of threads used and areas treated, bruising may or may not occur.
Expect some mild swelling and soreness for 3 to 5 days after the procedure, occasional pain “pings “ , and a sensation of tightness (mild) of up to 2 weeks. Temporary mild dimpling of the skin can also occur – an resolves in a few days.
Like other treatments involving injections, avoid alcohol, supplements such as Vitamin E, Omega Fish oils, some Chinese medicines (e.g.白凤丸), gingko for 1-2 days before and after the procedure. Avoid going to the steam room, sauna, and engaging in heavy exercise such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Following 2 weeks after the PDO Thread Lift, you are also discouraged from undergoing any dental treatment (which requires you to open your mouth excessively.)
You are also advised to sleep on your back to allow the swelling to subside and to avoid the putting pressure on the face that might cause misalignment of the threads. I give the option of some simple taping on the face to ensure the best results.
How is the Treatment Designed?
The PDO Thread Lift procedure is designed according to what we want to treat, and which areas we want to concentrate on. For example, for lifting, One may choose to use a combination of barbed threads of different thickness and lengths, inserted in 3-4 entry points. The treatment can also be designed according to your lifestyle needs – if you can take more swelling, I will insert more threads, and vice versa. The treatment can also be designed according to your lifestyle needs.
PDO threads can be used for lifting, rejuvenation (improving skin texture and wrinkles), volumising,
Different threads are used for different purposes. Every doctor’s technique is different, and the possibilities are endless – fo example, a “vertical method” is described in this
What Areas Can Be Treated with PDO Thread Lift?
The PDO thread lift is very versatile, allowing practically all areas of the face to be treated, including the:
Crow’s feet (wrinkles around eyes)
Wrinkles around mouth
The cheeks and lower face, in particular, benefit greatly from the procedure, allowing a lift which is synergistic to other skin lifting treatments such as Ultherapy.
What Results Can I Expect After The Treatment? How Long Do They Last?
Your skin is immediately lifted after a PDO thread lifting procedure, as the threads provide support to lift skin in its new position. You may look slightly tighter than the final result, but in about 1 week, you will begin to look much more natural.
The rejuvenative effects kick in after 1-2 months – you will notice better skin texture, firmer and smoother skin. Your doctor may concentrate more on either skin rejuvenation, or skin lifting during your procedure. Depending on the technique and which is used, the results will vary from person to person.
In about 9 months after the treatment, the threads would have dissolved, but the results will still continue for many more months. I recommend repeating the procedure 6-9 months after the first procedure, to allow for a long lasting result of up to 3 years.
Who is Suitable For a PDO Thread Lift?
The PDO Thread Lift is an effective non-surgical facelifting treatment that is suitable for anyone looking to improve the appearance of sagging skin. This treatment is suitable for someone who is willing to undergo some injections, and who want to attain an immediate lift of the facial contours without undergoing a facelift surgery. It is best suited for men and women who are unwilling to tolerate the long downtime of a facelift surgery but want to look refresh and lifted – naturally. Studies show that in comparison to the collagen building effect of the threads PLLA build the most , PCL is second and PDO is 3rd in ranking .
Compared to non-invasive face lifting options like Ultherapy, the PDO thread lift works faster, and has more visible results. However, the procedures work even better when combined for synergistic results.
There Are Now Korean PLLA and PCL Threads. Are They Better?
PDO, PLLA, and PCL are all names of different types of materials. These have been made into threads because they have high tensile strength, and are inert, so that they do not cause problems with excessive inflammation.
The main difference is in longevity, stiffness and tensile strength:
PDO (Polydioxanone) dissolves after 6-9 months PLLA (Poly L Lactic Acid) dissolves after 12-18 months PCL (Polycaprolactone) dissolves after 24- 36 months
While PLLA and PCL last longer than PDO threads, the longevity itself could be a double edged sword. Patients often report that Korean PLLA threads feel harder in the skin, with more tightness. This is owing to its higher tensile strength. Theretically, PLLA threads are a longer lasting alternative to PDO threads and provide more collagen production but at the same time are reported to feel a bit more uncomfortable for a temporary period than PDO.