The difference between PDO vs. anchoring threads is dramatic.

Barbed (anchoring) threads, gathers the skin to produce a noticeable lift. PDO, which stands for polydioxanone, is a synthetic absorbable surgical suture composed of polydioxanone and offers less lift, but more collagen stimulation for contouring.

PDO and anchoring thread lifts are trending. Aren’t we lucky? Thanks to an expanding universe of cosmetic treatments and procedures, it’s never been easier to ‘save face’! On the other hand, choosing the right approach to facial rejuvenation can be confusing when it comes to thread lifts.

Costhetics, Australia’s premier resource for news and information on cosmetic surgery and aesthetic enhancement, took a deep dive into this popular procedure to help you figure things out. Here’s the scoop:

Choose Your Suture: PDO vs. Anchoring Threads

Your doctor will guide you in your choice of pdo vs. anchoring threads for your lift. First, they will also make a decision between which of two types of threads. Both rely on a similar mechanism of action, and each has proven to be an effective way to fight facial ageing. That being said, there are some key differences between them that you should know about.

Every thread lift procedure begins with local anaesthesia to numb the treatment area(s). Next, a cannula or needle is used to insert the threads under your skin. Your doctor manipulates the threads to achieve the desired amount of lift. The entire process usually takes under an hour, and you can return to work immediately.

The key factor is the type of suture your doctor uses. They are available in several varieties, giving doctors more options for better treatments:

  • Barbed (anchoring) threads – gathers skin to produce a lifting action. They are generally placed in the hairline area and used to pull back the skin gently. Thicker barbed threads can even help lift breasts and buttocks.
  • PDO are straight or curved smooth threads – offers less lift, but more collagen stimulation for contouring. These threads are placed strategically at the corner of the mouth and/or along the brows.

What are Anchoring Threads?

Barbed (cogged) sutures were the first threads used to raise brows and cheeks. Tiny barbs were strategically placed to “hook” into the surrounding tissue to lift and hold it in place. The problem is that these threads could only be anchored (tied) into the brow, temple, or scalp. If the threads were not knotted correctly, they could release unexpectedly, leading to:

  • Bumpy skin
  • Nodules
  • Skin buckling
  • Visible sutures
  • Facial disfigurement

Another downside to barbed anchoring threads was that they could only be pulled in one direction. This meant results with a two-dimensional quality. Furthermore, barbed sutures did not dissolve, which often complicated future procedures. Lastly, an old-fashioned thread lift required that the skin be pulled as tautly as possible to get a good result. This was hard on the skin, often making patients look over-done, and generally required a recovery period of several days, not hours.

What are PDO Threads?

PDO threads are non-anchoring threads that do not provide lift to the fact, but stimulate collagen to restore volume. PDO stands for polydioxanone and are a type of dissolvable suture inserted under the skin.

What Are the 3 Absorbable Threads for Face Lifting?

In the match-up of PDO vs. anchoring threads, there are now even more things to consider. Three main types of absorbable sutures are available to doctors when they perform thread lifts:

  • PDO (polydioxanone) Sutures – do not provide lift to the face, but trigger the production of Type 1 collagen to restore volume. Results last up to 6 months.
  • PLLA (Poly-L-Lactic) Sutures – stimulates the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid to improve skin firmness and hydration. Results last for up to 2 years.
  • PCL (Polycaprolactone) Sutures – the new thread on the block offers long-lasting results. PCL threads stimulate both Type 1 and Type 2 collagen, not to mention hyaluronic acid. This provides better support to the face and benefits can last for up to 18 months.

What’s Happening to My Face?

PDO vs anchoring thread lifts are just two of many things you can do to look and feel more youthful. Facial ageing is as inevitable as time itself, and you don’t need to be over 50 to experience it. What’s happens when our face ages?

  • Facial support structures weaken
  • Connective tissue in the skin thins
  • Loss of facial fat
  • Elastic fibres in the skin begin to breakdown

Facial ageing gives us an older-looking appearance, which may not reflect the way we feel. Younger folks may be troubled by cheek and brow ptosis (sagging) while older folks may need help in conjunction with a full facelift procedure to provide additional support to the soft tissue area that was elevated. That’s where a thread lift comes in.

As well as lifting skin, threads activate a healing response in the body. The ‘injury’ caused by inserting threads triggers an increased production of collagen, a key player in the ageing process. Collagen is depleted as we age; leading to an 80% reduction in skin thickness by the time we reach our 70’s. Giving your skin a collagen boost with a thread lift helps reduce skin laxity by hydrating and thickening the skin. It also prevents a bad situation from getting worse.

Is a Thread Lift Right for YOU?

PDO vs. anchoring threads are part of a long history of facial rejuvenation. Thread lifts were born in the late 1990’s when doctors began to use surgical thread to lift sagging skin. Medically speaking, thread lifts involve the suspension of ptotic facial soft tissue using a thread that is inserted in the skin subcutaneously. Non-medically speaking, they held the promise of kinder, gentler skin rejuvenation by correcting

  • Sagging skin
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Nasolabial folds (smile lines)
  • Static wrinkles
  • Sagging jowls
  • Under-eye bags
  • Turkey neck
  • Relapse problems post-facelift or neck lift

Side effects from a thread lift are significantly less dramatic than from a full facelift and are generally limited to:

  • Mild procedural pain
  • Bruising
  • Edema
  • Erythema
  • Suture granuloma formation (rare)

Thread lifts are long-lasting, but not permanent. They may need to be replaced at some juncture or replaced with a surgical facelift.

How Can a Thread Lift Fight Ageing?

In comparing PDO vs anchoring threads, patients are the winners. Thread lifts are prized for being a quick, in-office procedure. They also cost less that a facelift and require less downtime. Essentially, the thread is attached just beneath the skins surface and then tightened to lift the skin.

A thread lift performed by an experienced doctor helps patients reclaim a more youthful appearance with

  • Natural-looking facial rejuvenation vs. artificial-looking pulled skin
  • Better jawline definition
  • Plump, youthful cheeks
  • Softening of marionette folds around the mouth
  • Rejuvenation of lines and wrinkles across the cheeks and lower face
  • Improvement of skin tone
  • Better facial contours

Can Thread Lifts Fill-in for Fillers?

PDO and anchoring threads for lifts are a beneficial addition to our armamentarium of non-invasive aesthetic procedures, they have better outcomes and higher patient satisfaction when used in combination with

  • Dermal fillers
  • Radiofrequency treatments
  • Fractional laser treatments
  • Neuromodulators (anti-wrinkle injections)

Here’s why: facial ageing is caused by a combination of skeletal, soft tissue, and skin changes that lead to soft tissue laxity and volume loss. Fillers are essential in restoring lost volume in the ageing face and are particularly helpful in combination with tissue tightening lasers and thread-lift procedures. Fillers used in combination with thread-lifts also increase the longevity of the thread-lift because of additional collagen stimulation.

As the procedure is not indicated for severe laxity, thread-lifts also do not replace the traditional face-lift. Tissue is not released from its underlying attachments, and skin contraction and gravitational pull limit its extent of improvement and its longevity.

The Bottom Line: Thread lifts can’t replace a facelift, but in combination with other treatments, they can help delay the need for one. If you’re not sure what the best course of action is for you, Costhetics says ask your doctor or skin expert about PDO and anchoring threads. We bet you’ll like what you hear.

That’s the end of this thread!

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