It's been a while since I've had any surgery/interventions. The last procedure I had was my eyelid surgery (still loving the results). Threaded facelifts have been on my self-improvement shopping list for a while and so has a diet. If you are losing weight, they want you to wait until you get close to your target weight before having any threads done. I'm close enough to my target weight (60 LBS less, YAS GURL!) now that that I am a candidate for threads, so a few weeks ago I had a threaded facelift! After that, I got more injections because why not, right?
What is a Threaded Facelift?
You might have seen my article about facelift tapes. Facelift tapes use sticky "tags" which you place at the edges of your face, and then attach an elastic cord that goes around the back of your head. I use them to adjust the lift around my eyes and also to minimize the "laugh lines" at the front of my face. You can pull your face in any direction you wish by choosing how you position the tags.
Threads work similarly but are placed beneath your skin. Because the threads have little "hooks" or "barbs," along their length, there is no need for them to wrap around your head. They fasten directly to the tissues beneath your skin.
There are various types of threads - the ones I got are called PDO Threads, made from the same kind of material as dissolving sutures. The advertising for threads claims you will notice an immediate improvement in your appearance. But wait, there's more! They also claim your appearance will continue to improve for about two weeks after the procedure! The threads stimulate collagen production, which is what causes the improvement. And even after the threads have dissolved, the collagen will remain, keeping the effects of the procedure visible anywhere from 9-months to two years, depending on how fast your body loses collagen.
The whole procedure took about an hour and was pretty painless. The technician talked to me about what results I wanted and sketched out where to put the threads with a white makeup pencil. The threads are inside of a plastic sheath, called a "cannula." They make a small incision and then insert the cannula, guiding it underneath the skin. The technician hooks the thread into the tissue where you have both decided it should go, then pulls the cannula out, leaving the only the thread. You don't need stitches for the incisions. They cover the incisions with silicon tape for about 24 hours and, at least in my case, there were no marks or scars. It feels a little weird and maybe hurt a tiny bit, but it was pretty easy.
The tech showed me the results in a mirror after placing each thread so I could see how it looked. I was initially going to have four threads: two on each side of my cheeks near my ears to help my jawline look less jowly and more feminine, and two near the temples to help raise my eyebrows and eyes. I ended up with five because I wasn't happy with the results of my left eyebrow. I don't think it was the techs fault at all, but he did comp the last thread, so I only had to pay for four.
Results and Cost
I have to say that the results have, at least so far, lived up to the hype. I did look better right away, there were no external marks so I could get on with my life, and my appearance improved over the next two weeks. I have to say that I was honestly surprised at how much of a difference it made and lots of people have commented on how great I look.
For a couple of weeks after the procedure, I would occasionally get a sharp pain or twinge at the insertion site of the thread. They warned me this might happen, so I wasn't surprised. It seems to have stopped. I haven't noticed any other side effects.
Threads are much cheaper than injections. I paid USD 250 for each thread, so the cost was USD 1,000 (remember they gave me one thread for free). I would say that it was well worth the expense and also add that where I live, procedures are generally more expensive than anywhere else in the world. You can probably get them for much less.
Thoughts and Some Advice
As usual, I did lots of reading about threaded facelifts before I went in. Most people seemed happy, but some reported problems; one of the most common was a noticeable "dimpling" or sunken area at the threading site. Fortunately, the dimples eventually disappeared. I didn't experience any "dimpling," and I credit the skill of my tech. It's also worth reporting that plastic surgeons have a generally low opinion of threads. They point out that you can get more dramatic results that also last much longer. While true, the cost of a facelift is 15 to 20 times the cost of threads, it is way more painful, and it takes a month or more to recover from. You could have 15-20 threads over 20 years for the cost of one surgical facelift.
Indeed, a threaded facelift isn't for everyone. If you need extreme changes to fight serious aging or other issues, the only option at present seems to be a surgical facelift. And if you want dramatic changes to your face, such as a much more feminized look, you will probably need a surgical facelift. I am still considering more significant feminization to my appearance, so a surgical facelift isn't off the menu for me. But for the moment, I'm pretty pleased with how things are going.
My best advice to you is to find an outstanding technician that you can trust and to be completely honest with them about what you want. If you feel they are not sympathetic to your goals and desires, then thank them for your time and leave. Most of the places I contacted offered free consultations, and if you can find the same deal, I urge you to take advantage of them.
You may be shy about revealing that you are transgender or crossdresser but don't be. You don't have to tell them the details. Most people accept drag queens these days, and it would probably be enough to tell them you do drag if you are nervous about their reaction to a more personal revelation. In my case, I was completely open with everyone and even showed one of my favorite pictures of myself as Pammy to the tech so he would know what to go for. You don't want to go in hoping for a more feminine face and have a tech make you look more manly, which really could happen if you let them make assumptions about you!
I waited a couple of weeks for the threads to settle in (as per the tech's advice) and then returned for my second round of injections. When I went the first time, I didn't know what to expect, but this time I was well prepared and knew what I wanted. Since I had been happy with the results of the first round, I wanted them to use something that would last longer. And I wanted more of everything. The tech suggested trying "Radiesse" for my cheekbones. Most injectables contain HLA, which is a naturally occurring substance in your body. Radiesse contains microspheres of CaHA suspended in a gel. These last a while and also stimulate collagen, so these can last anywhere from 1 to 2 years. It is suggested to consider having a 'refresher' injection at the four-month point, which they say will help with longevity. For my lips, I had previously had "Silk," but the tech suggested Restylane, also longer-lasting, and he felt it was firmer. He also injected a few drops of Restylane into each side at the base of the tip of my nose. That made a significant improvement to my look.
Results and Cost
I was happy with my injections the first time, and I'm even happier this time. In concert with my weight loss and the threaded facelift, I think the injections have made a significant difference to my appearance, and I'm excited to explore more looks for Pammy with this new canvas. In some ways, I wish he had been more aggressive with my lips, but post-procedure, Dom de Luxury was kind enough to do a video consult with me, and she thought they looked promising. She suggested waiting until I had done a few looks before deciding to go back for even more injections into the lips. One thing I wasn't that happy about last time was the Botox treatment. Perhaps this was partly my fault since I didn't want to lose my ability to make facial expressions. Whatever the reason, I didn't notice a giant improvement for the rather large price, so I passed on Botox this time.
The Cost for this was $1,420. The Radiesse was $800, which is a lot more than other injectables but it also lasts longer. The Restylane was $620. And yes, as with threads, you can get more significant improvements with surgical intervention, but at a much greater cost of money, time, and pain. I'm thrilled with these results and very excited about new improvements to non-surgical interventions.
If you've had similar experiences, or have thoughts you'd like to share, feel free to message me on Twitter