Botox has grown in popularity in the past decade as more patients have used it to fight signs of aging and eliminate fine lines and wrinkles. In fact, many people make injectable treatments a regular part of their skincare routine. While Botox is a widely used, and widely accepted, anti-aging treatment, there is another treatment that is growing in popularity and it is known as “smooth threads”.
Smooth threads are a minimally invasive treatment that adds volume to the skin of a patient in order to tighten skin that is sagging. In addition, smooth threads will reduce fine lines and wrinkles and gives a more youthful look to the skin.
Smooth threads are absorbable surgical Polydioxanone (PDO) threads that are able to be used almost anywhere on the body or face of a patient. They are made of protein and are thinner than hair. Smooth threads are inserted under the skin of the patient to cause a mild injury to the skin, In turn, the body responds to the mild injury by adding structural proteins that create a rejuvenated appearance that also has additional volume and a smoother look. Some of the structural proteins that are added include collagen, fibrin and elastin.
Some of the most popular areas that smooth threads are used to treat include the area near the eyes where crows’ feet appear, the area around the lips, the forehead to reduce fine lines and the area around the mouth where lines form as a person gets older.
Some patients use smooth threads as an alternative to Botox while other use it at the same time as Botox to increase their results. Patients also use smooth threads instead of dermal fillers to add volume to the treated area.
Barbed threads can also be used to provide results that look like the results that come from having a facelift performed. However, the sutures for barbed threads need to be larger since they have microscopic barbs placed in them.
In general, doctors recommended smooth threads for the treatment of skin that is crepey and dull in areas around the eyes, the hollows of the cheeks, the upper lip and around the mouth. Doctors recommend smooth threads because of its versatility in being used anywhere on the body or face that needs some help in looking younger by tightening or smoothing the skin as well as adding volume that has been lost.
The first step in the smooth threads process is scheduling a consultation appointment to determine the amount of threads that are needed to achieve the desired results. After the amounts of smooth threads that will be used are determined, one-inch absorbable surgical PDO threads are placed in the treated area using a tiny needle. Once the smooth threads are placed in the designated area, the doctor cleans the area with alcohol to prevent any kind of infection. In general about six smooth threads are placed per session.
If the patient is having barbed threads placed under the skin, they take a little more time to insert and patients will need to have the treated area numbed before the barbed threads are placed under the skin.
Patients that are worried that the procedure is painful can rest easy as they will feel (at most) a little pinch when the smooth threads are inserted and placed in the designated treatment area. If barbed threads are placed, there can be a pulling sensation which will only last for a few weeks. There might be some short-term bruising that will not be visible for too long.
Patients will not see much in the way of immediate results. Improvements in the look and feel of the skin will happen gradually as the smooth threads dissolve and the body creates new structural proteins such as fibrin, collagen and elastin. In general, it takes about a month for the first results to appear and the maximum results happen after four to six months.
Much like Botox and fillers, the results of smooth threads are not permanent. They can be placed every three or four months and are often a good option for areas such as the cheeks that cannot be treated using Botox. Plus, it is a nonsurgical alternative for patients that do not want more extensive surgical procedures such as a surgical facelift.
The cost of smooth threads depends on the amount of smooth threads placed in the skin, whether they are smooth or barbed threads, any fees charged by the doctor or the facility, the skill level of the doctor and the area of the country where the treatment is performed. In general, the cost of a single area of smooth threads is $300-$400. Patients will need to consult with their doctor of choice about the actual pricing of their individual procedure before making the final decision to have the treatment.