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What are threads?


When discussing skin health, the topic of collagen will most definitely be emphasized. This multi-functional structural protein is present in many parts of the human body and in various forms. From hard and unyielding bones to extremely supple skin, collagen cells are very versatile when providing important mechanical support. Collagen fibres form the fundamental foundation for other cells to cling onto, resulting in firm and plump skin. Unfortunately, as age progresses, the synthesis and regeneration of collagen fibres dwindle drastically. This biological ageing is usually aggravated by external influences like smoking, pollution, and excessive sunlight exposure that expose the body to unprecedented free radical damage. Hence, skin loses its laxity and forms unattractive skin folds (e.g. nasolabial folds, jowls).

Patients can opt for a cosmetic procedure known as thread lifting to combat skin laxity. Aesthetic threads serve a complex and beautifying purpose as a medical device used to tighten lax skin. This non-surgical, minimally-invasive device is sometimes known as a “puppet facelift.


What are they made of?


Threads are usually made of a bioresorbable suture material that is durable enough to tighten skin yet gentle with a minimal risk of immunogenic reactions. A common thread material is poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), a biocompatible and resorbable polymer. This is an ideal thread material as it actually helps to stimulate collagen production deep within the skin. Besides PLLA, threads can also be composed of polydioxanone (PDO), another biodegradable synthetic polymer.


There are 2 main thread types:


  • Free floating cogged or barbed thread, which is self-supporting and does not need to be suspended as it has been integrated with traction cones;
  • Smooth or suspension thread, which can only lift the skin if it is anchored to a secure structure like the scalp.


Top brands


A popularly used thread brand is Silhouette® Soft. This medical device is a barbed thread made of PLLA thread integrated with lactide glycolide cones. While PLLA thread subtly lifts the skin and promotes natural collagen production, the cones act as traction points to secure the thread properly and reduce the risk of thread migration.


How do threads work?


Following a thorough medical history review, the patient is prepared for the procedure by disinfecting the incision areas according to an aseptic procedure. The thread is then inserted into the skin via small incisions in the perimeter of the face. Medical practitioners can adjust the lifting actions based on what is deemed safe and suitable for patients.


What are the side effects?


The desirable outcome following thread lifting is a subtle yet effective tightening of the skin. However, patients are also at risk of developing less than desirable minor aftereffects. Common side effects: Pain Redness Swelling Bruising Formation of blood clots. These inflammatory reactions occur as the skin is recovering from the incisions. Patients may also exhibit other more serious side effects like rippling of skin and infections. Discuss how to recognize these side effects, so they can seek immediate medical attention. Read the product’s package insert for more information on side effects, contraindications and precautions.