Barbed Sutures: Again, Prove Disappointing

The history of barbed sutures (threadlifts, PDO threads) has been disappointing. The newest generation has promised increased safety and longer duration. Unfortunately, a recent study in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal shows otherwise.

The study followed 160 patients who underwent facelifts with barbed PDO threads. The good news is all patients did see some improvement initially as well as at one month. Unfortunately, by 6 months the benefits had markedly declined. No patients had any improvement by one year.

In addition, the threads had a high rate of complications, with over 34 % experiencing at least one serious side effect. Superficial displacement of the threads occurred in 11.2% and infection in 6.2%. Other significant side effects included prolonged erythema (9%) and skin dimpling (6%).

Threads were not a marked savings compared to surgery. Most patients spent around 40% what a facelift would cost. This for a procedure with results that last less than a year compared to 10 plus years on average for a facelift.

We at Hamilton Facial Plastic Surgery have seen some serious side effects including prolonged infection from threads placed elsewhere. Dr. Hamilton recommends patients considering placement of threads understand all the risks and the limited benefits.