Background: There is a growing trend for patients to seek the least invasive treatments with less risk of complications and downtime for facial rejuvenation. Thread embedding acupuncture has become popular as a minimally invasive treatment. However, there is little clinical evidence in the literature regarding its effects.
Methods: This single-arm, prospective, open-label study recruited participants who were women aged 40-59 years, with Glogau photoaging scale III-IV. Fourteen participants received thread embedding acupuncture one time and were measured before and after 1 week from the procedure. The primary outcome was a jowl to subnasale vertical distance. The secondary outcomes were facial wrinkle distances, global esthetic improvement scale, Alexiades-Armenakas laxity scale, and patient-oriented self-assessment scale.
Results: Fourteen participants underwent thread embedding acupuncture alone, and 12 participants revisited for follow-up outcome measures. For the primary outcome measure, both jowls were elevated in vertical height by 1.87 mm (left) and 1.43 mm (right). Distances of both melolabial and nasolabial folds showed significant improvement. In the Alexiades-Armenakas laxity scale, each evaluator evaluated for four and nine participants by 0.5 grades improved. In the global aesthetic improvement scale, improvement was graded as 1 and 2 in nine and five cases, respectively. The most common adverse events were mild bruising, swelling, and pain. However, adverse events occurred, although mostly minor and of short duration.
Conclusion: In this study, thread embedding acupuncture showed clinical potential for facial wrinkles and laxity. However, further large-scale trials with a controlled design and objective measurements are needed.
Keywords: polydioxanone; rejuvenation; rhytidoplasty; skin aging; thread embedding acupuncture.