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Thread lift versus Ultherapy: Reviews, Price (2020 Singapore)

Face thread lift and ultherapy are 2 commonly requested non-surgical facelifting treatments in Singapore.

These non-invasive treatments are intended to lift the mid face. The mechanism of action is vastly different between Ulthera and face thread lift.

In this article, we will summarise the pros and cons of these treatments to help you better understand what to expect with face thread lift and Ultherapy in Singapore.

How do Face Thread lift and Ultherapy work?

Why is Ulthera referred to as a non-invasive facelift? It is no replacement to a face lift operation performed by plastic surgeons who will surgically lift the SMAS layer rather than the skin to give a lifting effect. However, it is designed with close relation to this concept.

Ulthera is the only HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound) system that allow us to visualise the SMAS layer before delivering each “line” or “shot” of focused ultrasound energy. Ultherapy is US FDA approved and has been in use for more than 10 years.

With each line delivered, the Ultrasound energy is precisely released to stimulate collagen at the desired area. The benefit of ultrasound technology is the ability to bypass the superficial layer of the skin and to accurately stimulate collagen at the different depths of the skin with the different transducers. It is expected that you do not see much results in the first month of treatment as collagen is stimulated by your body and it takes time for it to build up. Over the course of the next 2-3 months, you should see that the skin lifts and tightens, and improved appearance of lines and wrinkles.

In a face thread lift treatment, surgical grade threads are inserted strategically at the desired vectors to provide a structural lift and reposition fats. This is especially useful in correcting jowls. Depending on the different material of the threads and the choice of the ‘design’ of the thread used, thread lifts can serve different functions. To achieve an anti-ageing effect, the function of thread lifts are mainly categorised to 1. Repositioning of sagging tissues 2. Collagen stimulation. Some threads like silhouette soft serve both functions at the same time. By repositioning the sagging tissue especially for the lower face, there will be instant improvement seen in facial contours and over time as the threads are slowly resorbed, there will be collagen stimulated around the threads that will improve of the laxity of the skin.

Thread Lift or Ultherapy: Which is better? 

Both are effective treatments targeted to reverse signs of aging by ‘lifting’ the face. However, the most suitable treatment for you will depend on 4 factors:

  1. Severity of saggy or loose skin
  2. Ability to tolerate pain, down time and needles
  3. Budget
  4. Expectations of results

It is not uncommon to even require both types of treatment for satisfactory results.

For early or mild sagging of skin, Ultherapy is usually sufficient for most patients.

Thread Lift & Ultherapy: Reviews, Price, Comparison

Thread lift has been around much longer. It initially approved in 2005. Over the years, there had been developments in the techniques and materials of the different threads. However, the take up rate of this is much lower compared to how Ultherapy and similar HIFU treatment have grown over the years.

The main reason for this would be the following:

  1. Invasiveness: Fearful of needles and the downtime of Threadlift
  2. Rejects the idea of foreign body (threads) being inserted
  3. Lack of results due to poor technique, poor quality threads, insufficient number of threads used
  4. Disappointment from misrepresentation over media and will not have the procedure done repeatedly
  5. Cost involved is usually higher

Thread lift can potentially give very good results when it is done by an experienced doctor. Doing a thread lift is like doing up a piece of painting. It requires the doctor to have both the aesthetic sense and the skills to produce good outcome. The margin of error is high and a bad job can result in prolonged downtime, asymmetrical lift, unnatural puckering of the skin, nerve damage, infection and after all that inconveniences the result may not be significant if there was any to speak of.

Ultherapy, on the other hand, is very structured and done based on protocol developed by years of research. There is some reported risk of fat atrophy and nerve damage but overall, these risks are very low. The Ulthera procedure in the States today would be done exactly the same way as how it would be done in all over the world over the last ten years. The machine and protocol hasn’t been changed over the years as it is widely established and recognised. I am not saying that it is the most magical treatment that works for everyone. There will be a fair proportion of patients who do not respond well to the treatment or will not continue treatment due to pain or the lack of drastic results. However, most patients see improvements and religiously repeat Ulthera treatment once a year. The growing fan base and the consistency of delivering result is the reason why this machine is still highly sought after despite being around for the past 10 years!

 

Thread lift (Silhoutte soft)

Ulthera

Mechanism of stimulation

Bio-absorbable threads

Ulthrasound energy

Invasiveness

Requires injections

Non – invasive

Treatment area

Mainly lower face

Entire face, neck, décolletage

Risk

+++

+

Downtime

Ranges from minimal downtime to weeks of bruising

No expected downtime. Mild aching and swelling up to 2 weeks.

Contraindication

People on blood thinners or bleeding disorders – lead to prolonged downtime

People with thin skin – increase chances of puckering and visible threads

Nil

Cost

$1500-$2000 per pair.

3-5 pairs per session

~$2000- $3000/ session

Suggested regime

Once a year

Once a year

Immediate results

+++

+

Results at 3 months

++

++

Risk of unnatural appearance

+++

Pain

++

++

Each treatment has its unique benefits. It will be difficult to choose one over the other. It is important to get your condition assessed by a qualified doctor to discuss the best treatment(s) available. Your doctor may even suggest that you do both the treatments to get the best of both worlds! 

Author

Dr Sau earned her medical degree from the historic University of Glasgow, UK, one of the top medical schools in the world. She also holds Certificates of Competence in Aesthetic Procedures to provide the full complement of treatments available at Sozo.