PDO threads are today’s modern approach to skin rejuvenation. Gone are those days when patients would shun cosmetic and aesthetic procedures. Thread lift procedures today are known for delivering results comparable to surgical procedures, albeit semi-permanent.
A widespread and highly sought-after procedure in medical aesthetics by both parties – practitioners and patients alike, PDO threads continue to gain traction in the medical field for their ability to lift, refresh and rejuvenate the skin. Today, let us determine which type of PDO thread is the most popular among the bunch and how, in general, PDO threads can help you achieve smooth and youthful skin.
What are PDO Threads?
Polydioxanone or PDO threads are minimally invasive and innovative procedures that can make you look and feel younger again without the need and hassle of invasive surgeries.
These threads are surgical and dissolvable sutures that can lift, tighten, and contour the body. They also stimulate collagen production, making you look firm and younger. With proper skincare, you can extend the life of your PDO threads for another 12-24 months. PDO threads are smooth threads for collagen induction areas treated, such as forehead lines, frown lines or glabellar lines, Crow’s feet, Nasolabial folds, smoker lines, lip border for lip definition, and marionette lines.
What is a PDO Thread Lift?
Thread lifts are procedures that use dissolvable sutures to tighten and lift your skin. It’s less invasive than traditional facelift surgeries and can usually be performed in less than 45 minutes without going under invasive scalpels.
Polydioxanone thread lifts utilize biodegradable polyester sutures best suited for skin rejuvenation. However, some newer types of thread lifts are better at lifting sagging skin. Now, let’s look at what makes PDO thread lifts different from their counterparts and what you can expect during the procedure.
What Makes PDO Threads Different from Others?
PDO threads are one of three standard sutures used in thread lift procedures. The other two types are polylactic acid or PLLA and polycaprolactone or PCA.
Being around longest among the three (3), PDO threads have been used in surgeries since their inception in the 1980s. As made from colorless polyester, these threads break down in your body after about six (6) months.
These sutures present in your skin start triggering the body called fibroblasts towards producing more collagen; the protein makes our skin what they are when it comes to structure and elasticity. Loss of collagen is one of the leading causes of unwanted aging skin. Moreover, PDO threads can be further divided into three categories:
- PDO mono threads – are smooth sutures that help rejuvenate your skin by stimulating collagen production.
- PDO screw threads – have up to 1-2 intertwined threads used to help restore volume to sunken parts of your skin.
- PDO cog threads – are threads that contain barbs that latch into one’s skin, similar to a small fishhooks, and provide support and lift parts of your face.
PDO vs. PLLA vs. PCL
Generally, thread lifts are performed primarily to tighten skin, with their secondary effect on shaping and contouring the face. In recent years, threads have progressively moved beyond the face to other body parts like the abdomen, thighs, arms, and even buttocks.
Basically, threads can, and are, usually made of at least one of the three (3) different material types: Polydioxanone (PDO), Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA), and Polycaprolactone (PCL).
Most commonly used for stitching sutures in surgeries, the effects of polydioxanone or PDO threads can last between 6 to 12 months. These threads are wholly dissolved and eventually absorbed by the skin after six (6) months. It helps stimulate the production and synthesis of collagen in the skin for up to 12 months.
The functions of PDO threads are known to result in changes in the dermis, with many studies showing that it is effective in improving pores and fine wrinkles. Furthermore, it can foster collagen formation in the dermal matrix to increase the thickness of the papillary dermis.
Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA)
Another common material selected for surgical sutures is Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA). The PLLA has been observed to be more effective at stimulating collagen production than PDO threads. PLLA has a lifetime of two years or more and once dissolved, it breaks down into ordinary harmless substances like lactate, glucose, carbon dioxide, and water.
In some cases, PLLA is used as an alternative to fillers and botulinum toxins. PLLA can function as volumizers, stimulating the production of Type 1 and Type 3 collagen. Among the benefits of using PLLA over PDO threads is that it causes almost no or minimal inflammatory reaction to the surrounding tissues yet delivers the same, if not better, lifting after-effects.
Although not as popular or as commonly used as the PLLA and PDO threads, polycaprolactone (PCL) threads can last up to two (2) years. Since PCL has more robust and complex chemical bonds and structures, it can take much longer before this material is completely dissolved.
The slower degradation rate of PCL threads also makes it ideal to be inserted into the surrounding tissues over an extended time, achieving a longer-lasting result. PCL is also very potent at stimulating collagen production compared to PLLA or PDO threads. Once dissolved, the material breaks down into ordinary non-toxic substances, even after collagen production can last up to one year.
Potential Complications from PDO Thread Lifts
PDO thread lifts offer much lesser risks of complications than facelift surgeries. When performed by a trained professional, there’s less risk of scarring, severe bruising, or bleeding. Minor complications occur in 15-20% of procedures but are usually easily corrected. Potential complications include:
- dimpling or having an orange peel-like skin texture
- hair loss
- hematoma or accumulation of blood
- minor bruising
- salivary gland injury
- snapping of threads
- visible sutures, especially for those with thin skin
PDO threads are safe tools for lifting. Patients now are not only in favor of this procedure but are also actively seeking non-surgical approaches in aesthetic and cosmetic procedures that are effective and innovative. PDO thread lifts are the cheaper and faster alternative procedure to facelift surgery. Although results don’t last that long and aren’t as dramatic, expect minimal recovery time, allowing you to return to work that same day.