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What Are Contour Threads™?

By Rachael Cullins
Updated May 21, 2024
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Contour Threads™ are a type of thin, polymer-based wire used in cosmetic facelift procedures. Using the threads is far less invasive than a typical facelift and is used to make minor adjustments to face structure and to correct skin sagging. They are sometimes used in conjunction with other plastic surgery procedures to create an overall more youthful appearance. As with most plastic surgery procedures, there is a risk of adverse side effects from inserting Contour Threads™, including thread breakage and infection.

Plastic surgeons first began using Contour Threads™ as an alternative to a traditional facelift in the mid-2000s, when the threads were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They were invented by a plastic surgeon who was inspired by the way porcupine quills latch onto and lift the skin. Contour Thread™ work in much the same way, using barbs at the end of the thread to hook onto sub-surface skin tissue. The best candidates are those who have surface wrinkles rather than deep wrinkles as the threads do not smooth the skin as tightly and dramatically as a regular facelift.

Contour Threads™ are typically inserted through a small incision near the ear and then threaded under the skin to the part of the face that will be lifted. Common areas for this treatment include the eyelids, brow and cheeks, which often sag with aging. The threads subtly tighten and lift the skin, decreasing wrinkles and creating a more youthful appearance. The final result is often less dramatic and noticeable than that of a traditional facelift.

The threads are made from a thin, clear plastic compound so that they cannot be seen on the exterior of the skin. This procedure usually is less expensive and requires a shorter recovery time than a normal facelift. Patients can typically return to regular activities within one week of Contour Threads™ surgery. Inserting the threads takes about one hour and patients are usually sedated or numbed rather than undergoing full anesthesia. Some patients pair a thread procedure with a brow or neck lift to make the entire head area look younger.

Not all patients who use Contour Threads™ have reported favorable results. A common complaint is having the plastic threads suddenly break, resulting in immediate skin sagging and requiring another surgery to insert new threads under the skin. Some patients report that their body rejects the threads and that they must have them removed. Still others say that they have developed infections or chronic headaches following the procedure.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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