What is Fine Thread Contour Therapy?
Fine Thread Contour (FTC) therapy is a type of thread lifting. Thread Lifting is a generic term used to describe several different techniques which can be used to lift the face in a similar way to a facelift, but without the need for surgery.
What is different about FTC Thread Lifting?
This system uses PDO (polydioxanone) threads, which have been used safely in surgery for over 15 years to close wounds.
Unlike other systems FTC PDO thread lifting uses thicker textured thread, which anchor in the ligaments of the muscular layer of the face. This is the same layer as is manipulated during a surgical facelift. In this technique the textured threads anchor in the ligaments within this layer allowing us to pull this layer upwards through a hole the size of a needle. This step is followed by using several finer threads more superficially. These have an immediate more subtle lifting effect, smooth wrinkles and stimulate collagen production.
The result of this technique will be an impressive initial lift with ongoing improvements over the following 6 weeks to 6 months.
What is involved in an FTC PDO Thread Lift procedure?
We will perform an initial consultation to talk about your concerns and how best to address them, your background history and to explain the procedure in detail to you. We will also take photographs of you as a record of your appearance before treatment.
You should allow around 60 minutes for your treatment. For some areas we may apply local anaesthetic cream to numb the area first. We will mark your face to show our intended insertion points for the deeper cog threads after cleaning your skin thoroughly. We will then inject some local anaesthetic mixture in various points to numb you as thoroughly as possible. The deep threads are inserted through one needle hole on each side for each treatment area. We will complete the procedure with the finer threads which form a mesh in the areas we target.
What areas can be treated with FTC PDO threads?
The FTC PDO thread lift is very different from other systems available, and enables us to treat different parts of the face and body. We can lift the lower face (jowls and marionette lines), cheeks and brows. Fine threads can be used to improve the tear trough (the groove under the eye), upper eyelids, smoker’s lines around the lips, and the neck. We can also use threads to firm and lift various areas of the body – the stomach, inner thighs and underarms for example. These treatments work very well in conjunction with Aqualyx injections or CoolSculpting.
We can also use FTC PDO threads to help treat shoulder muscle problems as they produce a profound muscular relaxation.
Are the threads permanent?
The PDO threads which we use dissolve slowly over the course of 6 months, leaving bands of collagen in their place.
How do the threads work?
The presence of the threads in the tissues will stimulate a direct healing response from your tissues, stimulating the fibroblast cells to produce more collagen. This technique has an extra dimension to it, whereby the threads are twisted stimulating a mechanical response similar to that produced by acupuncture. This stimulates growth factor release which will further boost collagen production and strengthening of the stabilising skin matrix.
Can the threads snap?
Some other thread lift systems have encountered significant problems due to the threads snapping when a patient yawns, for example. There are no reported instances of threads snapping with this system, which has been used in Korea and the Far East for nearly 10 years. The threads are much thicker and more durable than other manufacturers – believe us when we say we tried everything we could to snap them and couldn’t!
Will the procedure be uncomfortable?
You will have local anaesthetic cream applied to the lower face for half an hour prior to the procedure. We will then inject local anaesthetic to the parts of the face that can feel a little sore. After this you should not feel any sharp pain. As the deeper needle goes through the ligaments we sometimes have to apply quite a lot of pressure, and this may feel a little uncomfortable but does not last for long.
Is there anything I need to do to prepare for my procedure?
Ideally you should come to your appointment without any make-up on. If you are having deep cog threads inserted we will give you a dose of antibiotics to take prior to your procedure.
What is the downtime after the procedure?
The downtime with this type of thread lift is minimal. There is no need to take time off work unless you would feel more comfortable with this. There are some possible side effects, as with any treatment:
- Swelling is common but mild in most patients. This can persist for around a week
- Bruising may occur, but is less common with this technique as no sharp needles are used
- A pulling type pain is normal after the procedure and can persist for several days
What precautions should I follow after FTC PDO therapy?
- Wear an SPF 30+ and avoid direct sunlight and tanning machines due to the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- Wash your face gently the day after treatment, but avoid rubbing or massaging for 2 weeks.
- Do not open your mouth too wide for 3 to 4 weeks, including for dental treatment (as this may feel uncomfortable).
- Stinging or pulling pain or discomfort is normal. Avoid ibuprofen as it dampens the collagen-producing response.
- Avoid alcohol and anti-coagulant medications like aspirin for 1 week.
- Avoid blood thinning vitamins C and E for 1 week.
- Avoid saunas and sports activities for 1 week.
Who should avoid FTC PDO therapy?
FTC PDO thread lifting is suitable for most people, however there are a few patients with whom we would exercise caution:
- Active acne or skin infection
- Predisposition to keloid scarring
- Auto-immune diseases (such as scleroderma, sarcoidosis, amyloidosis)
- Patients on anti-coagulant medication
- Pregnant women or women undergoing IVF
- Cancer or chemotherapy patients
- Hepatitis B, C or HIV
- History of bacterial endocarditis (who will need additional antibiotic treatment)
- Current systemic infection
- History of cold sores (who will need antiviral treatment as a precaution)
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Infection – this risk is minimised by using an aseptic technique and antibiotic use
- Granulomas – these may form if the threads are placed extremely superficially
- Extensive bruising – this can happen if a large blood vessel is hit, but is rare using the FTC PDO technique
- Protrusion – if you notice that the end of a thread has become visible, please let us know as we are able to correct this
- Facial nerve trauma – this is rare when using the FTC PDO technique and is usually associated with the use of sharp needles
- Asymmetry – we are unable to guarantee perfect symmetry after treatment, and fine adjustments may be necessary
What are the possible complications of FTC PDO therapy?
In addition to the swelling and bruising mentioned above, there are potential rare side effects:
Do I need follow-up after FTC PDO therapy?
We will arrange follow-up around 1 week after initial treatment and again at 3 months. At the 3 month appointment we can discuss the need for any touch ups and an ongoing maintenance programme.