• Tracy Spring

PDO Threads: The Lunchtime Lift

What if there was a way to lift and smooth the look of loose or sagging skin that doesn’t involve surgery? In fact, not only is it minimally invasive; it's cost-effective, quick, and can take years off your face instantly?

I'm talking about an exciting development in the world of facial aesthetics called PDO threads.

They can lift and improve the appearance of a sagging neck, jowls, cheeks, eyebrows and more. Dr. Pierone will even use them to subtly reshape the bridge of the nose!

You’re probably wondering what PDO stands for, so let’s get that piece of business out of the way first. PDO is what the thread itself is composed of. Polydioxanone.

Polydioxanone is an absorbable material that doctors have used for years because it is one of the safest materials that can be implanted in the body. PDO sutures are used in cardiothoracic

surgery. The body actually absorbs polydioxanone in 4 to 6 months and remarkably leaves behind no scar tissue.

So, how does it work for the face? The PDO threads are preloaded into a hypodermic needle. (Don’t worry- a good practitioner will make sure you feel little to no pain.) The needle is inserted into the skin, and as the needle is removed, the thread stays behind.

There are several types of threads to choose from, depending upon the desired result and part of the face being addressed. The first type of thread is the smooth thread. This thread is meant to be injected in a “net” or “mesh” formation. For example, the doctor might inject three smooth threads horizontally and two vertically. As the skin heals itself around the threads, it's creating new collagen—which results in naturally tighter, thicker and firmer skin over time.

A few of the different types of threads available

The second type of thread I want to tell you about are called barbed threads. They might sound a little scary, but they are magical.

These threads have “barbs” to provide grip under your skin. The doctor injects them and then…this is the incredible part… pulls them tight in order to reposition your skin. You walk out of the office with instant, dramatic results. And just like with the smooth threads, your body begins the process of building collagen around the thread, securing the lift.

Picture the thread as a scaffolding that's in place while your skin is repairing and rebuilding. Once the scaffolding is “removed” (or dissolves in this case) the underlying tissue has repaired itself to hold the re-positioned skin in place on its own. Amazing! You might think of it like dissolvable stitches to hold a wound closed. Once the stitches dissolve, your skin has healed in place. The main difference being these are placed under the skin rather than on top (and there is no actual “stitching” involved).

What’s happening in the underlying tissues of the face after these threads are injected is called “selective inflammatory response.” Inserting the thread initiates a repair process under the skin. The scientific word for this process is neocollagenesis, which means the formation of new collagen. More collagen is what we're all after. It happens with both the smooth and the barbed threads. And, because collagen takes up to six months to grow, you see the results from your PDO thread treatment gradually get better and better with time.

Now, for anyone that hears talk of needles and immediately thinks "pain," rest assured that there is very little pain to speak of. A local anesthetic in a few strategic places makes sure of that.

Before and After PDO threads and some dermal filler--Courtesy of Dr. Gerald Pierone, One Aesthetics, Winter Park

It’s so important to seek out a highly skilled practitioner before you undergo a PDO thread treatment. These threads can do amazing things; however, they are only as good as the hands that administer them. In the wrong hands, you will not get the results you are after, or worse, things could go terribly wrong. 

PDO threads are nothing short of miraculous. Most people will be pleased to find that they need much less filler because of the threads. Since the threads do so much lifting, you don't have to rely so heavily on filler for lift. A "PDO thread lift" can eliminate or substantially delay more invasive face-lift procedures.