In the 1990s, thread lifts came about and had some success, but with lots of complications because they used permanent threads. They had “barbs,” allowing them to lift the face. Because of the complications, these original threads have been discontinued, as they should have, in my opinion.

Now, for the past few years, new absorbable threads have been invented, some also with barbs, and they are hugely successful. They are PDO threads, which is short for “polydioxanone.” 

PDO threads have been used for years as an absorbable suture material, and it has been noted that the product stimulates the formation of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, which we all need more of. 

For a bit of history, these suture materials have been and continue to be used for 30 years in orthopedic, general, ENT and plastic surgery. The threads were first used successfully in people with facial paralysis. As with anything, particularly a face, it must be individualized to the patient’s needs. 

The value in the threads is that they volumize aging faces as do various fillers, and they also lift sagging skin. Volumizing with fillers also lifts, but not as much. Additional benefits of the PDO threads is they thicken the skin, reducing some wrinkles, and over a period of time improve the texture of the skin. 

While the PDO threads last only about six months, the new collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid will last about two years resulting in more of your normal elasticity for a more permanent lift, and more volume. 

We all know that much of the sagging that occurs with age is from loss of volume of fat as well as bone, so increasing volume definitely makes for a more youthful and lifted face. 

PDO threads come in a wide variety of forms. Some are smooth threads used purely for volumizing, such as lip borders, upper lip wrinkles, volumizing hollow cheeks, under the lower eyelids, acne scars, and even in the neck and the body, e.g., cellulite.

The other variety is lifting threads, which can be used to lift the cheeks, jaw line, brow, neck, areas of the body and more. 

These thread procedures can be performed as an office visit with local anesthesia in about 30 minutes, depending on how many threads are used. 

One can expect bruising, and sometimes irregularities for one to three weeks. These can usually be covered with makeup. 

E. Ronald Finger, MD, FACS is a board certified plastic surgeon with offices in Savannah and Bluffton.