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    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

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    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    Vanity Fair: Are serrated suture facelifts the wave of the future?

    The barbed suture lift, nicknamed the thread lift, is a quick outpatient procedure in which doctors thread serrated plastic sutures through the fatty layer beneath the face and use them to hoist sagging tissue. The idea is to pull the skin taut, so the face looks smoother and more youthful.

    It works by providing tiny hooks on which to hang the sagging skin. Sounds painful, and for some people it is:

    But ever since the dermatologist finished Ms. Kinney's lift, the threads have been visible through her skin. They run like railroad tracks up her forehead, down her cheeks and along her neck, she said. When she washes her face, she said, the barbs feel like 'little prickles.' And, if she sleeps on the right side of her face, she wakes up with pain shooting from near her nose up to her temple.

    Medgadget had an illustration of this back in March. And here's a close-up of the little barbs (from a different brand of suture.)

    I'd be wary of having barbed sutures under the skin for any length of time. Barbs tend to be irritating, and chronic irritation in body tissues leads to scarring and sometimes tissue breakdown over time. But the threads are proving problematic even in the short term:

    But other doctors say they have seen cases in which the sutures do not hold patients' flesh taut for more than a few weeks. The tissue slides off the barbs like an ill-hung coat from a hanger. Sometimes this happens because the knotted threads in the scalp come untied or because the threads break.

    "One cough and a sneeze, and the thread lift is all over," ...

    ...A variety of strange-looking side effects have been reported. The blue Aptos sutures can show through the skin if they are placed too superficially in the fatty layer. Aptos threads also have been known to migrate.

    Dr. Nicanor G. Isse, a plastic surgeon in Burbank, Calif., said he has seen several cases in which the sutures have slid down patients' foreheads and "bunched themselves into knuckles" in the eyelids. Contour threads, for their part, can cause the skin to fold temporarily into accordion pleats, a problem that usually goes away within a couple of weeks. Both types of sutures, if improperly inserted, can be visible when patients laugh or smile, like rows of bulging veins in the face.

    Go slow on this one, even if it is promoted by Oprah and Katie. Might want to stick with Botox.


    posted by Sydney on 12/01/2005 10:56:00 PM 10 comments


    I was unaware of this until I read it on your site. Not what I usually follow, but I will put a link from my blog to yours for anyone interested. Thanks. I agree that this is a risky procedure with lots to loose and a high probability of actually having a complication. Like you, I would not recommend it.

    By Blogger Bruce, at 3:48 PM  

    As one who had the "contour threads" procedure done with several unsightly complications, I highly discourage this procedure. A recent survey done at the American Society for Plastic surgery indicated that only 20% of Board certified plastic surgeons do this procedure with a 60% (not the 1% that the manufacturers claim) complication rate. In my case, I have unsightly dents on my once perfect skin. I have consulted four other surgeons and no one seems to have a standard protocol to remove these threads.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:56 AM  

    I had the contour thread lift one year ago by a UPMC board certified plastic surgeon. It was a completed disaster and left me with unsightly dents which look like small acne scars. The doctor who did the procedure offered no corrective action until I consulted with a new surgeon. The new surgeon will attempt corrective surgery this summer. Beware these high profile marketing specialists. This guy marketed this procedure to me and perhaps permanently disfigured my beautiful skin.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:12 AM  

    I was suppose to be the "perfect canidate" for the threads. My face is a mess! What started out at about $8,000.(which included some Radiasse) turned into 20 grand!! No less than 6 of them broke and one fell out of my face after 2 months. At this point, one of them in my forhead has dropped at leat 3" and poking me under the skin. He is not offering me anything. I don't know what to do!! Now he says "well they just don't work in some people......
    Don't opt for the threads. My head still hurts after months and I feel all of them under the skin.
    I have been totally ripped off!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:14 PM  

    shit....im 20 and i had mine done about 6 days ago....it cost me £2,500. The swelling has nearly finished going down but it doesnt look like there is any difference in my face, im soooo depressed. all i wanted was an elevated look in my 4head area(like when you pull your hair up)they said i was too young for a brow lift so i did this instead and now, i think its another big mistake ive made in my life.

    By Anonymous Tina, at 6:39 PM  

    I wish I had read this article first. At 38 yrs old most people had not guessed my age past 28 yrs but because of nasal folds deepening this past year I thought I'd take the advice of a board certified plasic surgeon for 2 threads per side. I told him that I don't want to look asian and ask him if I will still look like me, and he took his thumbs and gently pulled between my temples and cheeks and said thats what I'd look like. I ask if I'd be able to feel them he said "no". I noticed half way though the procedure he (a caucasian) suddenly started speaking spanish to the nurses. Needless to say I didn't understand what what said, nor did I know that the chambers used to run the threads thru go clean thru and out of the opposite side of my cheeks. It looks like marbles are beneath my skin and my cheeks are clearly flat, pulled too far (especially on one side) and they're lope-sidded. I've had a compliment almost everyday of my life, now I look like the Fly. I guess this is the price to pay for vanity and I paid to have this done to myself. Robin, Las Vegas NV.

    By Anonymous Robin, at 6:52 PM  

    I just wrote of my experience above. My 5yr and 6yr old are afraid of me. I'm a realtor who is somewhat new and just taking off. How am I to show property with a disformed face? If anyone has information on a doctor who can remove or correct thread lifts or has had contour threads removed please contact me at seerobin4homes@yahoo.com.Thank You.

    By Anonymous Robin, at 12:18 AM  

    I had my thread lift done about 8 months ago. I would never recommend this procedure. From 4 threads I have one that dimpled, one that looks like a track running up my forhead and one that has migrated and pokes through daily and looks like a large pimple!! When I went back the doctor said to me, "Well, I guess they aren't all they were cracked up to be." He also informed me it would be a major surgery to fix it all now - AND it would be an additional cost! VERY DISAPPOINTED in this procedure!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:48 AM  

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:04 AM  

    I had the Contour Thread procedure done in Jan. 2006. The doctor who did it told me that if it did not work for me that the procedure was completely reversable. After weeks of disfigurement that would not smooth out, he apologized and agreed to remove them. My left side had deep horizontal forrows. My right side was smooth but the doctor ran one or two of the sutures through my cheek muscle and every time I chewed, my cheek would bunch up all the way under my eye.My cheek would bunch and flex with every chew!It was so gruesome that I would not eat in front of anyone. Every two weeks I would go in for follow ups and he would tell me to be patient and it would eventually smooth out. It was four months later he finallly agree with me that the results were terrible. When I went in to have them removed (May 2006) he broke, accidently, the two sutures that were piercing my cheek muscle.It is now August 2007 and the tip of the suture is bulging at the center of my nasal labial fold. He said he did not want to attempt removing it becuse of the scar it would cause on my cheek and that leaving it there would actually give some support. It isn't supporting anything, it is loose under the skin and bulging under the skin. He never offered to reimburse me in any way. I missed a lot of work from the initial procedure because of all the (unusual)swelling and bruising. If there is a class action suit in progress I would like to know about it. The procedure is not entirely reversable. I have photos that were taken six weeks after the procedure in January and I look horrendous. I was scaring my neighbor's children!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:40 PM  

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