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PDO Thread Lift: Everything You Wanted to Know

Kristina Cadwell  
October 26, 2021  

The cosmetic industry is experiencing a cosmetic treatments boom. Men and women can now choose from various procedures that lift sagging skin, reduce wrinkles, improve skin tone, and treat other signs of aging. PDO thread lifts are a relatively new anti-aging treatment, and is garnering interest for good reason.

This article explains the main types of PDO threads, how they work, which areas they treat, and answer FAQs about PDO threading. 

PDO thread lift

What is a PDO Thread?

A PDO (polydioxanone) thread is an FDA-approved, biodegradable medical suture that has been used in surgical procedures for decades.

A PDO thread lift is an increasingly popular anti-aging treatment. It involves the use of PDO threads, which lift sagging skin and build volume by triggering the production of collagen in sunken areas of the face or body.

What Areas Does PDO Threading Treat?

PDO threading can be performed on any area. This treatment is typically used to improve the appearance of the following features:

  • Sagging eyebrows
  • Forehead wrinkles
  • Crow’s feet
  • Nasolabial folds
  • Sagging cheeks
  • Sagging jawline
  • Chin wrinkles
  • Neck folds

The treatment is occasionally used to lift sagging skin on the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, and stomach.

PDO Thread Types Based on Pattern

PDO thread types vary based on their pattern. The two main types of PDO threads are mesh or mono threads and lifting or barbed threads.

Mesh/Mono Threads

These are smooth threads without barbs. They are inserted in a pattern that resembles a mesh or a net to form a support structure around which the body builds new collagen. These threads don’t have a pulling or lifting effect but rather help tighten the skin. Monos are typically used to treat the forehead, under-eye area, and neck.

Lifting/Barbed Threads

Like mono threads, barbed threads are inserted underneath the skin. The difference is that they have barbs that hook themselves to the surrounding tissue, pulling the skin in the desired direction.

These threads are generally used to restore volume to sunken facial areas. They also stimulate the body to build collagen around them, tightening the skin.

Two commonly used types of barbed threads are cog and screw threads.

PDO Threads Benefits

PDO threading effectively rejuvenates the skin and combats signs of aging, especially sagging skin. The treatment stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms, boosting the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid.

You can expect the following benefits from the treatment:

  • Tightened, firmer skin
  • Improved skin texture
  • Increased skin elasticity
  • Fewer lines and wrinkles
  • Improved facial contours
  • Long-lasting results

PDO Threads Risks and Side-Effects

PDO threading requires no social downtime. Patients usually resume their routine activities right after the procedure.

Threads are considered very safe due to their non-invasive nature and serious side effects are rare.

Common side effects include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Soreness
  • Stinging
  • Occasional nerve pain

These side effects are usually mild and subside within a week.

Rare side effects include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Protruding PDO threads
  • Allergic reaction
  • Facial asymmetry

Most of these very rare side effects can be resolved by removing the threads. The treated area will then return to its previous state.

PDO threading is not considered safe for:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • People suffering from autoimmune diseases
  • People with skin infections, acne, or cold sores
  • People with diabetes

PDO Thread Lift Procedure

PDO thread procedure

PDO threading starts with the application of a topical numbing cream and a lidocaine injection in the treated area. That way, medical providers ensure the patient doesn’t feel any discomfort.

The medical provider inserts a hypodermic needle or cannula (blunt-tipped needle) containing a PDO thread into the treatment area. The procedure lasts for 30-45 minutes.

After the needle is removed, the PDO thread stays under the skin to support and lift the area. The body reacts to the perceived injury by building more collagen. This process counters collagen loss, the main cause of skin aging.

The number of PDO threads per treatment depends on the treatment area size and how much lifting and tightening it needs. Some areas require as few as six threads, while others as many as 20.

PDO threads dissolve within six months, but the lifting effect is visible for at least one year.

PDO Threads Aftercare

Since PDO threading is a non-surgical, minimally invasive treatment, it requires minimal aftercare. After your treatment, you want to avoid the following:

  • Intense activities that cause sweating for 48 hours
  • Dental work for six weeks
  • Shaving the treated area for several days
  • Rubbing the treated area
  • Sleeping on your front or sides for two weeks

PDO Threads Price

PDO threading cost ranges between $500 and $5,000, depending on the patient’s individual needs and the medical provider’s expertise. Consult our skin experts at Vibrant Skin Bar to review your goals and determine the best course of therapy and pricing estimate.  

PDO Threads FAQs

Our answers to FAQs will help you better understand the procedure and decide if it’s suitable for you.

What Does PDO Thread Stand For?

PDO stands for polydioxanone, a colorless polyester material thinner than the breadth of a hair and absorbed by the body. It has been used in surgical procedures for several decades.

How Long Do They Last?

The duration of PDO threading results depends on the patient’s age and lifestyle habits. They usually last one year, but your skin will look younger for several years with annual maintenance treatments.

Younger patients typically experience longer-lasting effects.

How Long Until I See Results?

The results of PDO threading are immediate. The skin is visibly tightened and refreshed right after the treatment.

As the body builds new collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid in the months following the treatment, the face becomes plumper and acquires a more youthful look. The PDO thread lifting effects peak at about six months after the procedure.

How Many Treatments Do I Need?

Patients typically need between one and four treatments for best results. Many patients chose to prolong the effects of PDO threading for several years with annual maintenance treatments.

How Do I Know if I’m a Good Candidate?

You are a good candidate for PDO threading if you have experienced facial volume loss and sagging skin due to aging and collagen depletion.

Some health or physical conditions may require you to postpone the procedure. These include pregnancy, skin infections, and diabetes. Your chosen medical provider examines your medical history and current state of health to determine if you are a good candidate for PDO threading.

What Treatments Can Be Paired with PDO Threading?

PDO threading results in a refreshed, plumper look, but the effects aren’t as dramatic as those after surgical face lifting. For more radical effects, PDO threads lift can be paired with other cosmetic procedures. Other procedures that PDO threading works well with are:

Botox Injections

Botox is an injectable neurotoxin that paralyzes dynamic muscles that cause wrinkle formation. Botox injections are mainly used to smooth out the upper section of the face: the forehead, crow’s feet, and wrinkles between the brows. You can have a Botox treatment after PDO threading.

Dermal Fillers

Fillers are hyaluronic acid or poly-L-lactic-acid injections that add volume to sunken facial areas. They are mainly used to plump up the lower third of the face. You can achieve a fuller, more volumized look with dermal fillers after the PDO thread lift.

Laser

Laser and other heat treatments can be used right after mono threads to increase collagen stimulation. Avoid these treatments after lifting/barbed PDO threads.

Does it Matter What Type of PDO Threads are Used?

Different PDO threads serve different purposes. Mono threads tighten the skin, while barbed threads like cog and screw threads are more effective for lifting and plumping the skin.

Different PDO threads have different prices because they differ in size, shape, quality, and function. Your chosen medical provider will recommend a suitable PDO thread type or a combination of PDO thread types for the skin issue you wish to address.

Is PDO Threading Safe?

PDO threads are FDA-approved and safe when performed by board-certified medical professionals. Severe side effects like scarring, bruising, and bleeding are rare and may occur when inexperienced, non-medical staff inserts PDO threads.

What Do I Need to Do to Prepare for the Procedure?

PDO thread medical providers explain how to prepare for the procedure during the consultation session. They typically advise the following:

  • Discontinue the use of anticoagulation supplements (fish oil, vitamin E, Gingko Biloba, etc.)
  • Avoid blood-thinning medications (ibuprofen, aspirin, heparin, warfarin)
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco five days before the treatment
  • Drink a lot of water several days before the treatment

Conclusion

Today, we can choose from a range of cosmetic treatments to counteract the skin changes that come with aging. A PDO thread lift is one of them.

This procedure effectively treats sagging skin and restores attractive facial contours without the use of a knife and general anesthesia. Weigh the pros and cons of this popular alternative to face lifting surgery to determine if it’s the right step for you.

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About the Author:
Kristina Cadwell
PA Kristina Cadwell graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She then completed the Physician Assistant program at A.T. Still University graduating with a Masters of Medical Science degree. Kristina has been working in the Aesthetic Medical field for over 10 years. She is certified in neurotoxin cosmetic injection, dermal fillers, Plasma Pen skin tightening, chemical peels, and laser therapy. She is known for producing natural results and has extensive knowledge in diet and exercise allowing her to help you achieve vibrant skin from the inside out.
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