Thread Lifts Offer Less Invasive, More Affordable Option for Facial Rejuvenation
by TIM CRAIG
While thread lifts have been around in the U.S. since the 1990s, advances in technique and technology have steadily made them more popular, widespread, and increasingly local.
Ashley Newman, the founder of Ageless Aesthetics and Wellness Clinic in Lakeland, has been doing the thread lift procedure for about two years, and she says her patients opt for it based on two main factors: the ease of the procedure and the cost in comparison to invasive, surgical facelifts.
“People really love the minimal downtime and the ease and quickness of the procedure,” Newman says, “and cost is definitely a factor.”
A thread lift is a procedure that uses temporary sutures to produce a subtle but visible lift in the skin. Instead of removing the patient’s loose facial skin surgically, the procedure simply suspends it by stitching up portions of it. This effectively pulls the skin back slightly, lifting and tightening the face. The effects of the thread lift last between 18 months to two years, says Newman.
“Because we’re not cutting off the skin, we only need to use a local anesthetic,” says Newman. “The patient only feels the pressure as we insert the needle and the threads needed for the procedure.
“This also cuts down on recovery time,” she added. “I’ve had patients do it on an extended lunch break and even go back to work later that day. There is some tenderness on the insertion point, but usually Tylenol takes care of the discomfort.”
There is a combination of threads that can be used for the procedure. One, Polydioxanone (PDO), dissolves in the skin in six to 12 months. What makes this thread unique is that it promotes a surge of production of collagen, which helps to keep our skin strong, voluminous and supple.
The second, Polycaprolactone (PCL), is stronger and more complex than the PDO. The thread takes longer to dissolve, but that also means the effects of the thread lift last longer.
“That’s why when I do the procedure, I like to use a combination of both threads,” says Newman. “I think it gives my patients the best of both worlds.”
The thread lift costs more than a Botox treatment, but it typically lasts longer. It also costs significantly less than a surgical facelift, with a quicker recovery time.
Newman, native of Lakeland, didn’t initially see herself in aesthetic medicine when she started as a nurse tech 14 years ago. She worked her way up through the ranks, earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing from USF and her master’s as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner from Florida Southern in 2016.
“I had no intention of doing this,” she says. “I was internal medicine all the way.”
Yet a chance meeting with another nurse practitioner who had her own aesthetic medicine practice in Tampa opened a new door toward the opportunity.
“She asked if I wanted to come work with her as she expanded her practice,” says Newman. “As a new nurse practitioner, it isn’t common to automatically get into aesthetic medicine and I took the opportunity.”
She worked in that Tampa office for about two years before opening her own practice in Lakeland in 2018, eventually settling into her current location on Schoolhouse Road.
When Newman first came across thread lifts, she knew it was something she wanted to bring to her practice and to the people of Lakeland. “When I heard about it, I thought, ‘Okay, I need to know more about this,’ ” she says. “I was able to be trained in St. Petersburg and was able to incorporate it in my practice almost right away.”
One of the easiest ways to see the effects of a thread lift is to visit Ageless Aesthetics and Wellness. Dori Nunez, hired as the office’s receptionist in February, had the procedure done about a year ago.
“I had spent a lot of time and money on Botox, but was looking for something else,” says Nunez. “The procedure seemed more cost effective in the long run and it really helps holding the eyebrows and eye area,” she says.
The whole procedure, she said, was relatively easy, quick and painless. The anesthetic is the only slight pain she felt.
“You feel pressure and pulling as the threads go through, but you’re numb and it doesn’t really bother you,” she says. “Afterward, I just used a Band-Aid, and other than some slight irritation everything was good.”
As for the results, no one really noticed — and that was exactly the effect she was looking for.
“I didn’t want anyone saying, ‘Hey, did you get some work done,’ ” she says. “It was subtle at first, but actually got better as time passed. A few months into it, as the body continues to heal and produce the collagen, it got better and better.”
It’s that long-lasting sense of satisfaction that Newman appreciates about her work. “I enjoy helping people as they deal with how they look,” she says. “People see how good the results are, and how it takes years off of their face and they look refreshed. That’s why we do what we do.”