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No Long-lasting Results from Thread-Lifts, Study Says

Posted: May 20, 2009

Thread-lifts, a kind of face lift done with barbed threads placed under the skin, has been found to be unsuccessful in the long term.

A popular type of face lift produces only short-lived improvement in appearance, and should no longer be used given its risks, poor results and discomfort for patients, conclude the authors of a long-term study of patients who underwent the procedure. The surgery, a so-called "thread-lift," involves placing barbed threads under the skin and then tightening them to pull up drooping facial tissues.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the Contour Threadlift system in 2005, Dr. Rima F. Abraham of Albany Medical College, New York and her colleagues note in their report. While approval was rescinded after reports of problems, similar products are still available, and the procedure is widely advertised.

To gather objective data on the risks and benefits of thread-lifts, Abraham's team looked at 33 patients who underwent the procedure. Twenty-three had other procedures as well, while the rest had thread-lifts only. Ten more patients who had other types of plastic surgery served as a comparison control group.

Four plastic surgeons who didn't know which procedure patients had received rated the aesthetic improvement for each patient on a scale from 0 (no improvement) to 3 (considerable improvement). A month after the procedure, they saw improvements in all the patients.