Non-Invasive Face Lifting Treatment

PLLA threads are a relatively new option for thread lifting – a procedure which works to physically lift the facial structure and tissues into a higher and more youthful position.

PLLA stands for poly-L-lactic acid, a substance which has been used for many years in Sculptra, an injectable facial rejuvenation treatment which works to stimulate collagen for a younger look.

Now PLLA is available in a thread format, which is used in a very different way.

Compared to injectable treatments, thread lifting is a procedure which directly addresses the structure of the face through an immediate lifting effect, accompanied by a longer term regeneration of collagen and natural volume.

Lifting Effect

Threads are carefully positioned beneath the skin, then manipulated to tighten and lift the tissues. This is a gentle, non-invasive procedure which provides some of the benefits of a facelift – tighter, firmer skin with better definition to the facial features – but with much more subtle and natural-looking results.

The lifting effect is the result of the practitioner manipulating the skin tissue after inserting the sutures. After inserting the suture, the doctor applies slight pressure on the treated areas, reshaping and recontouring the face making it look visibly toned and lifted. Results are immediate.

Regenerating Effect

PLLA threads also work within the skin to stimulate renewal and rejuvenation, adding natural volume which tightens the skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles through production of collagen and improved blood circulation, contracting the tissue.
The regenerative effect is gradual and happens over the 2-3 months following treatment. When the threads are in place, the polylactic acid acts on the deeper layers of the skin and naturally stimulate the body so that it produces new collagen. This boosts volume in the skin, making it appear firmer.
The volume builds gradually and naturally for a fresher, more youthful look.

Results of PLLA Thread Lift

  • reduces wrinkles, lines and creases
  • lifts and tightens saggy or flabby skin, improving definition
  • naturally improves skin elasticity and texture
  • brightens skin tone and complexion
  • produces more defined facial contours such as cheekbones
  • can sculpt more pleasing feature e.g. angle of the mouth
  • address signs of ageing around the eyes – eyebrows, eye bags, laughter lines

Advantages of PLLA Threads

  • Long lasting results – generally longer lasting than PDO threads
  • Super-fine – less visible after the procedure
  • Transparent – invisible through the skin
  • Excellent safety record over 30 years
  • Naturally broken down within the body over about 18 months
  • Results last around 24 months and wear off gradually
  • Procedure can be repeated as required in the future, adjusted to best tackle ongoing facial aging

PLLA Thread Lift FAQ

What is PLLA?

PLLA stands for poly-L-lactic acid. This is a biodegradable material with good bioresorbability and bio-compatibility, which makes it a safe option in medical terms. As well as being used in threads, PLLA is used in medical sutures, infusion equipment, implants and a range of other uses.

How is PLLA made?

PLLA is extracted from Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA).

How are PLLA threads inserted?

PLLA in a thread format is ready placed onto a needle, which makes insertion of the threads quite unobtrusive. There are no cuts or use of a scalpel involved.

How does the ‘lifting effect’ work?

The threads have a series of tiny barbs, a bit like bramble, which grip the skin’s tissues beneath the skin’s surface. The procedure includes manipulation of the skin into a higher position on the threads. This is not as uncomfortable as it sounds. The threads and the ‘barbs’ are very fine; and local anaesthetic is used to make the procedure pain-free.

What happens to PLLA in the body?

PLLA does not stay in the body forever – it is naturally broken down by the body into H2O, CO2 and Lactic acid, which are naturally excreted through the body’s natural metabolism processes.

This takes a period of several months, but in the meantime, the PLLA works to stimulate localised skin regeneration.

How long does it take?

Insertion of the threads followed by manipulation/massage of the tissues to achieve the ‘lift’ takes up to an hour to complete.

Is it safe?

Poly-L-lactic acid has been used for many years in injectable treatments. It is the key ingredient in Sculptra, which is injected into the skin to stimulate collagen production.

What should I expect after treatment?

As with any cosmetic treatment, there might be some temporary swelling, redness or bruising. This usually passes within a couple of days.

Do I need any follow-up appointments?

We will arrange a review 2 weeks after treatment to check on the progress, a further review after a month and a final appointment after 3 months where before and after photographs will be compared.

How does this compare to surgery?

For a large amount of loose skin, surgery will always provide a more aggressive result, but a surgical facelift is a drastic procedure involving general anaesthetic, removal of skin and a long list of potential risks and complications.

Thread lifts are increasingly chosen for a refresh and lift without the commitment, cost or recovery requirements.

  • As a non-invasive procedure, there is none of the cost and downtime associated with surgery.
  • No skin is removed so risks of infection or ‘overdone’ results are very low.
  • There are no scars and no need for bandages – patients can return straight to normal activities.
  • Costs are a fraction of the surgical alternative.
Any special aftercare requirements?

We recommend:

  • avoid other facial/beauty treatments for 2 weeks
  • avoid dental work for a month
  • avoid exercise for 2 weeks and contact sports for the first 4 weeks
Does it hurt?

It is surprisingly comfortable – patients describe a stinging sensation, similar to acupuncture. If required, the procedure can be carried out using a local anaesthetic.

Treatments at Fountain of Youth are always made as comfortable as possible according to the treatment and the individual’s personal requirements. Ice is used as a topical anaesthetic. If necessary, a dental block anaesthetic may also be used. Painkillers are also available on request.

Who can have PLLA thread lifting?

The procedure is suitable for most clients from the age of around 25 onwards, when the effects of ageing (thinning tissues due the breakdown of collagen and elastin) start to become apparent. For younger patients, the regeneration is the greater benefit. As skin becomes looser with age, the lifting aspect becomes more relevant. The procedure can be adjusted to suit each individual’s needs.

We do not advise this treatment for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, those with a tendency to keloid scarring, active skin infections, open wounds, skin lesions or autoimmune diseases.

Other Thread Lift Options

Nhi Le, MD also offers PDO Threads.

All treatment options can be discussed in complete confidence in a comprehensive skin consultation. Please contact us to book an appointment