Objective: To evaluate the long-term success of the thread-lift procedure for facial rejuvenation.
Methods: Thirty-three patients underwent a thread-lift procedure alone or in combination with other facial rejuvenation procedures to the brow, midface, jowl, and neck. Ten patients underwent thread-lifts only, and 23 had thread-lifts with other procedures. Ten additional patients having had non-thread-lift rejuvenation procedures, including lipotransfer, chemical peels, and rhytidectomies, were randomly designated as controls. The mean follow-up period was 21 months (range, 12-31 months). Photodocumentation was obtained at each visit. Long-term aesthetic results were evaluated by 4 independent, blinded, and board-certified facial plastic surgeons. Each result was graded on a scale of 0 to 3, with 0 indicating no change; 1, minimal improvement; 2, moderate improvement; and 3, considerable improvement. The population was divided into 3 groups for comparison. Two-tailed t test (P = .05) was used for statistical analysis of aesthetic outcomes.
Results: Although aesthetic improvement was noted in all groups at 1 month, measurable results persisted to the end of the study for all but the group that underwent the thread-lift procedure only. Aesthetic improvement scores of the non-thread-lift control group were better than the group that underwent thread-lift only. Similarly, when the thread-lift was combined with other procedures, scores were better than when thread-lift was used alone. Statistical significance was demonstrated in both of these comparisons (P < .01).
Conclusions: The thread-lift provides only limited short-term improvement that may be largely attributed to postprocedural edema and inflammation. Our results objectively demonstrate the poor long-term sustainability of the thread-lift procedure. Given these findings, as well as the measurable risk of adverse events and patient discomfort, we cannot justify further use of this procedure for facial rejuvenation.