Barbed thread: A new technique to smooth facial wrinkles


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Researchers recently studied a novel technique to get rid of facial wrinkles, involving embedding, pulling, and twisting threads to smooth out wrinkles.

There is no facial feature more synonymous with aging than the presence of wrinkles. Rejuvenating the face involves seemingly countless treatments geared at minimizing or eliminating wrinkles. Among the most popular treatments are Botox injections that paralyze the over-active muscles, filler injections for the furrows, or extensive surgical procedures like forehead or facelifts.

Dermatologists in South Korea now offer another option, one that is already used in other parts of the face: the barbed suture or thread.

Thread augmentation is a procedure already in use to correct a sagging face, particularly in the jowls. The technique involves inserting and embedding absorbable sutures that have barbs throughout its length. Numerous hooks catch the tissue underneath the skin and pulling the thread results in the tightening of the skin.

The doctors then adopted the procedure for the dominant wrinkles in the forehead –both the horizontal lines and the vertical furrows just above the root of the nose. For the procedure, they insert the threads along the targeted wrinkle’s length, and then through gentle pressure, they twist the threads like a donut cruller.  This donut maneuver rotates the thread, ensuring that the barbs catch on the tissue as the tightening is done—and the result is a smoothening of the wrinkle.

A retrospective study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry presented the results of this procedure on 33 patients with forehead wrinkles. The researchers evaluated the post-operative results using both subjective and objective criteria. Independent assessments and patient satisfaction were both rated highly, with minimal complications noted.

With these promising results, the doctors see the use of the barbed thread and the folded configuration technique as another option for addressing wrinkles, whether as a stand-alone or in conjunction with other available treatments.

Written by Jay Martin, M.D.

Reference: Seung, et, al.  “Wedge-shaped polydioxanone threads in a folded configuration (“Solid fillers”):  a treatment option for static wrinkles on the upper face.”  Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2018. DOI: 10.1111/jocd.12557.

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