Are you bothered by your crow’s feet and frown lines whenever you glimpsed at your reflection in the mirror? Perhaps these signs of aging have also taken over the rest of your body — cue wrinkled, sagging skin on your neck, chest, and tummy. The solution is PCL thread lift.
If you’re keen on minimally invasive cosmetic procedures that will take the years off your skin (literally), you may want to learn more about the PCL thread lift — it’s a highly popular cosmetic procedure that’s much revered for fighting the good fight against aging.
Below, we discuss what a PCL thread lift is and how it breathes new life into your skin for a more youthful complexion. We also do an in-depth review of the common types of thread lifts and why PCL threads may be a better option against the other alternatives. Last but not least, we’ve also included pertinent information such as risk factors and potential side effects. That way, you will have everything at your fingertips before going for the treatment.
What Is a PCL Thread Lift?
PCL threads are monofilament suspension threads made of medical-grade caprolactone. As a biodegradable, synthetic material, the PCL thread breaks down into carbon dioxide and water within the skin, which are then reabsorbed into your body after a while. It’s a similar concept to surgical sutures and stitches.
In a PCL thread lift, the threads are placed under the outermost skin layer along a planned trajectory via cannulas (thin tubes inserted into the skin). Once in position, the threads are pulled and straightened, thereby tightening and lifting the skin tissues while promoting collagen synthesis.
As a minimally invasive cosmetic technique, the PCL thread lift does not require general anesthesia or large incisions. In other words, you can look forward to minimal downtime and a speedy recovery. That’s why patients favor this relatively safer procedure over the traditional facelift, which surgically removes excess skin to tighten the facial contour.
On top of that, the PCL thread lift is pretty versatile as it can be performed on any part of your body. Popular PCL thread lifts usually involve the forehead, nose, jawline, neck, and chest.
Please note: The PCL thread lift offers semi-permanent results, which usually last from a few months to a few years.
3 Different Types of PCL Threads
Typically, the PCL threads can be categorized into:
- Mono thread: This is a single, smooth thread without any barbs. The mono thread stimulates collagen production to tighten and thicken your skin, but without lifting it. After being inserted underneath the skin layer, it is attached to an “anchoring point” on the face (or any other body part) to hold it in place. This type of PCL thread is mainly used for fine lines and wrinkles to straighten them out.
- Screw thread: It consists of one or two threads intertwined around the inserting needle. Like the mono thread, the screw thread also boosts collagen production. But, its unique intertwining structure induces a volumizing effect to fill out sunken areas in the skin. As such, it’s usually recommended for face-lifting purposes.
- Cog thread: A mono thread with barbs angled in opposing directions. The barbs of the cog thread hook into the surrounding skin tissues and act as a support structure for the surrounding tissues to synthesize collagen. No anchoring points are needed, but the cog thread requires utmost precision during insertion since it cannot be undone once it’s placed underneath the skin.
How Does the PCL Thread Lift Combat Aging?
So, how does the PCL thread lift help you combat the signs of aging? To understand its anti-aging effectiveness, we first need to look at how our skin ages.
As we grow older, many of us will likely experience:
- A fall in our body’s natural collagen production, leading to an overall loss of the skin’s vital building blocks
- A gradual thinning of the subcutaneous tissues and fats
- A natural decline in glycosaminoglycans (mainly hyaluronic acid), resulting in lower skin moisture levels
All these work in tandem to create loose, sagging skin that may look more sunken in certain areas, such as around the eyes. To top it off, your skin is now drier with lesser elasticity than before, creating the perfect breeding ground for unwanted fine lines and deep wrinkles.
But don’t fret, as the invention of the PCL thread will put a stop to the signs of aging. Once the absorbable thread is inserted into your skin and straightened, it physically tightens the subcutaneous skin tissues to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Also, certain thread types, like the cog thread, have barbs to provide adequate support to lift the affected area.
When implanted into your skin, the PCL thread doesn’t exactly injure the surrounding tissues. Rather, the mechanical insertion triggers your body’s natural healing response to produce collagen. This helps plump up the skin and fill in hollowed-out areas. Increased collagen production also helps restore skin elasticity to eliminate sagging and smooth out fine lines. Moreover, when the PCL threads dissolve, they release hyaluronic acid molecules, which replenish your skin’s moisture content for more hydrated-looking skin.
The most important thing to note is, even after the PCL threads have broken down, their uplifting effect on your skin still remains. As such, you benefit from lasting skin revitalization for at least a year or so.
The Origins of Thread Lifts
Thread lifts may be enjoying a surge in popularity recently, but they had always been on the market decades ago. The three most common types of thread lifts to familiarize yourself with are:
- PDO (polydioxanone) thread lift
- PLA (poly-l-lactic acid) thread lift
- PCL (polycaprolactone) thread lift
Within the medical field for cosmetic and aesthetic procedures, both PDO and PLA thread lifts are considered earlier generation thread lifts. In fact, PDO threads are the pioneers that paved the way for newer techniques like the PCL threads to come in. You can think of the latter as the new kids on the thread lift block.
In the early days of thread lift procedures, there was much controversy surrounding non-absorbable threads and their high rate of post-surgical complications. Thankfully, as medical technology progresses, ingenious advances have led to the creation of safer, more effective techniques involving absorbable materials like the PCL threads.
Comparing PCL, PDO, and PLA Threads: Which Is Better?
In the world of thread lifts, PCL, PDO, and PLA threads are the most commonly known. As mentioned earlier, PDO and PLA threads are earlier generation threads that have been around longer than the more recent PCL thread. But in the case of thread lifts, old doesn’t necessarily mean gold, which you will understand why in a moment.
Below, we’ve pitted the PCL threads against the other two types to help you understand why the PCL thread lift should be on your wishlist.
Advantages of PCL Thread Lift
PCL Threads Induce More Collagen Production for Far Longer
Yes, all three kinds of thread lifts — PCL, PDO, and PLA — boost collagen synthesis in your skin to replenish the age-related loss of this vital protein. But in terms of efficacy, PCL thread lifts trump the rest.
According to the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, PCL threads can “regenerate collagen for a longer period than PDO and PLLA threads.” High molecular weight PCL threads also synthesize more collagen (types 1 and 3) over a longer period and can better withstand tensile stress. All of these supercharges the PCL thread lift’s skin-lifting and tightening effect. In contrast, the PDO and PCA threads are only able to stimulate type 1 collagen production.
PCL Threads Both Lift and Tighten the Skin
While all three thread lifts are used as anti-aging cosmetic procedures, their specific responsibilities differ slightly.
As a 2017 study puts it, PDO threads are “better at repositioning and revitalizing tissue but not for providing lift so would be suited more to younger patients.” Also, PLA threads only “provide some lifting” effects, which may not be sufficient in cases of moderate to severe skin sagging.
On the other hand, PCL threads are capable of providing mild to moderate skin texture improvement and uplifting effects for the best results.
PCL Threads Have the Longest Staying Power
The anti-aging effectiveness of thread lifts depends solely on the placement of threads within the skin layer to bolster the skin’s collagen capabilities. Thus, it makes sense that the longer the thread stays within the skin, the greater the collagen production and the more visible the anti-aging effects will be.
In that sense, you’d be happy to know that PCL threads reside in your skin for the longest time. Based on the above 2017 study, the longevity of each thread type is as such:
- PCL threads: Around 12-15 months
- PCA threads: Approximately 12 months
- PDO threads: Approximately 6 months
On top of that, after the PCL threads degrade and are reabsorbed into your body, they leave behind supportive collagen structures that continue to lift and tighten your skin. In other words, PCL threads are more effective than the other two types in maintaining a youthful complexion in the longer term.
Is the PCL Thread Lift Safe?
Understandably, many people may wonder if the PCL thread lift is safe at all. Rest assured that the current scientific literature has sufficient research indicating its safety, patient satisfaction rate, and a relatively low likelihood of post-surgical complications.
To put your mind at ease, a recent 2021 medical review published in the Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology shares the following insights:
- In a study involving 193 participants, both surgeon and patient satisfaction jumped from 94% following the first week (after surgery) to 99% in the sixth month.
- Another study involving 37 thread lifts discovered a high rate of patient satisfaction (89%) and a low rate of complications. Moreover, optimal results were observed after 6 months of treatment.
- A third study included 23 patients who needed mild to moderate lifting. After the procedure was completed, the participants noticed a significant improvement in skin sagging with a 91.2% patient satisfaction score.
The silver lining with a PCL thread lift is that there is little to no scarring. Even with minimal scarring, these usually disappear once the incision wounds are healed completely.
That said, as with all minimally invasive cosmetic treatments, some people do experience temporary side effects. In fact, the same 2021 review notes that potential side effects of a PCL thread lift include:
- Bruising, i.e., skin discoloration due to bleeding within the skin layer
- Skin puckering or dimpling
- Mild erythema, which is skin redness due to inflamed blood capillaries
Usually, these side effects subside within the first few weeks after the treatment without permanent complications.
Who Should Not Go for a PCL Thread Lift?
As much as a PCL thread lift is suitable for the majority, certain individuals should avoid this cosmetic procedure. We recommend you to seek other skin-lifting alternatives if you:
- Have thin skin
- Have damaged skin
- Have acne or rosacea
- Have an active skin infection
- Have eczema or psoriasis
- Previously experienced hypertrophic scarring (i.e., keloids)
- Had a negative skin reaction to fillers
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
On top of that, those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, bleeding disorders, and autoimmune disorders are also advised against getting a PCL thread lift. If you’re in doubt about your eligibility for the treatment, it’s best to consult your primary doctor or cosmetic surgeon first.
Say Goodbye To Unwanted Signs of Aging With Yastrid
Signs of aging such as forehead furrows, baggy under-eyes, and a drooping jawline are likely inevitable as we grow old. But you don’t have to put up with them if you don’t want to. With its penchant for stimulating your skin’s natural collagen production, the PCL thread lift is a low-risk, minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that helps soften the ravages of time.
At Yastrid, we offer several types of PCL threads to better suit individual needs and unique facial anatomy. Our products are widely used across the world by experienced plastic surgeons to help you achieve smooth, supple skin for a revitalized, younger-looking complexion.
PCL Thread Lift Complications: Side Effects That You should know
Like all other facial thread lifts, PCL thread also has a few side effects such as bruising and swelling but which are considered a normal part of the procedure and go within 2 to 3 days.
What Should You Do After a PCL Thread Lift?
While the PCL thread lift requires very little downtime, you should still take extra precautions during the aftercare period to minimize the potential side effects and maximize the treatment results.
Here’s what you should (and should not) do after a PCL thread lift:
- Apply ice packs to the affected areas to reduce and/or prevent swelling, bruising, and inflammation.
- Avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin and ibuprofen, which can worsen bruising. If you need pain medications to improve your comfort level, consult your cosmetic surgeon for approved alternatives.
- Avoid strenuous activities during the first few days following the treatment.
- During sleep, keep your head elevated and avoid lying on your side for the first few weeks after the thread lift.
- Avoid straining or massaging the muscles in the affected areas for the first three weeks. For PCL thread lifts involving the facial structure, your surgeon may recommend you to apply tape to restrict the muscle movements.
You can look forward to resuming your normal activities within a week after the procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does PCL Thread Lift last?
PCL, or Polycaprolactone, can last for around 2-3 years. Strong chemical bond and structure makes it that much durable. Keep in mind that the number provided is general and may change based on various factors.
Do PCL Threads dissolve?
Yes, PCL Threads do dissolve. Unlike other threads, PCL is far more durable and takes up to 36 months to dissolve fully. However, make sure to follow up with your surgeon after some time.
How often can you do PCLThreads?
You can have more PCL threads placed anytime, but you should wait until the swelling and bruises are gone. A follow-up with your surgeon would be required to work on that.
How much does PCL Thread Lift cost?
The cost of a PCL Thread Lift varies based on the surgeon’s experience, location, and scope of the procedure. The average cost in the United States is $2,075.