Thread Lifts to New Heights: Data Shows the Procedure Is Surging in Popularity

Thread Lifts to New Heights: Data Shows the Procedure Is Surging in Popularity featured image
Getty Images / Igor Ustynskyy

According to the most recent Aesthetic Society data, the heavily debated thread lift has spiked in popularity over the last year, experiencing a 72% increase between 2021 and 2022. Thread lifts are a style of minimally invasive lifting using temporary sutures to lift your features into place, and they’re also a fairly heavy debated amongst plastic surgeons for their longevity and efficacy.

“I love to do thread lifting because I am enamored by all the positives as far as this procedure is concerned,” says New York facial plastic surgeon John Kang, MD. “All this significant lifting can be achieved with almost no downtime,” says Dr. Kang.

And with an increase of more than 5,000 procedures in 2022, we’re taking a look at what could be behind the sudden surge in thread lifts.

Thread Lifts Are Minimally Invasive

Surgery can put people off, and going under the knife can be an emotionally daunting and time consuming process with a lot of downtime, so it’s no surprise that minimally invasive and noninvasive alternatives are appealing to a lot of patients.

Dr. Kang points out that, “It’s the only minimally invasive procedure that can actually mimic open surgery results in terms of actually mechanically lifting the sagging facial skin.” During the procedure, local anesthesia is used while the threads get placed beneath the skin. Altogether the experience generally doesn’t take longer than 45 minutes.

Thread lifts are also an easy procedure to combine with other treatments.

Delray Beach, FL dermatologist Dr. Janet Allenby explains that thread lifts are great for patients who aren’t ready for a facelift yet. “I often use the threads in combination with other treatments like fillers. They do have a finite longevity to them, which can be disappointing for some people,” she says.

They’re Less Expensive

As a minimally invasive procedure, thread lifts typically cost significantly less than a full facelift. And while the results may not last as long and require more frequent refreshes, that initial money-down cost is a lot smaller.

With grocery and housing prices remaining high, it’s no surprise that economic belt-tightening may be a factor in the sudden surge of thread lifts.

“Ronald Reagan said it best when he said, ‘It’s the economy, stupid’,” says Campbell, CA plastic surgeon R. Laurence Berkowitz, MD. “Things are hard. People are working, but when groceries have gone up 20% in some areas, people have to tighten their belt. That eats into our discretionary income.”

In 2022, a thread lift cost a little more than $1,000, A facelift comes in at about 9x that.

That doesn’t mean, though, that thread lifts are always a cheaper option. In fact, New York facial plastic surgeon Edward S. Kwak, MD explains that because thread lifts are not meant to last forever, you’ll find yourself having to repeat the procedure, costing you more in the long run. “When fracturing outcomes, cost and downtime, I still believe patients are better off with traditional surgical procedures,” says Dr. Kwak.

Thread Lifts Appeal to Younger Patients

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the ideal candidate for a thread lift is in their 30s, much earlier than the average age for a facelift, which is mid-50s. Because the procedure promises serious but subtle results, those experiencing the first signs of laxity and fine lines will see the most bang for their buck.

And many plastic surgeons around the country have experience a similar surge in younger patients who are interested in preventing wrinkles from appearing in the first place.

According to Fresno, CA dermatologist Kathleen Behr, MD, the interest from younger patients has driven the aesthetic industry to innovate towards preventative aging. “The whole idea of prejuvenation and preventative aging has really surged, especially with the younger generation,” Dr. Behr explains. “We start losing collagen in our 20s, and they want to do everything they can to prevent wrinkles from forming in the first place.”

Thread lifts are also a popular choice among celebrities, like Eva Mendes and Gwyneth Paltrow. As these A-listers shares their experiences and as the general stigma surrounding aesthetic procedures continues to lessen, thread lifts are an ideal entry point for many younger consumers interested in staving off the effects of aging.

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