The One-Hour Face-Lift
People Magazine, May 30, 2005

Insert a thread, pull tight, look younger: A new procedure may offer faster, less painful results--but will they last?

Cathleen Kornblatt was unhappy about sagging skin but didn't want a traditional face-lift. "All that cutting and sewing—it's scary," she says. Instead, on April 29, the 53-year-old office manager underwent a new, hour-long procedure called a Thread Lift, which uses a suture the FDA recently approved. Without using a scalpel, plastic surgeon Michelle Copeland of New York City inserted 12 barbed sutures underneath Kornblatt's skin; when drawn upward, the sutures pulled the tissue tight (see diagram). Results are less dramatic than a face-lift, but the process costs roughly half as much—$4,000 to $8,000 for a typical procedure—and recovery time is minimal. But buyers beware: Sutures used in earlier versions had no barbs and didn't hold as long. While doctors now expect three to five years' worth of firmer skin, critics question the claim because the procedure is so new. So far, at least, Kornblatt is happy. "I look 5, 10 years younger," she says. "And it was instant."

During Cathleen Kornblatt's $6,500 Thread Lift, Dr. Michelle Copeland used hollow needles to insert 12 sutures into the New Jersey mother of two's neck, jowls and brow. Kornblatt was awake during the 50-minute procedure?"It's going to feel like wearing a tight ponytail," she joked—and reported minor pain and tightness that lasted four days. As for the results, which are most pronounced on her neck, she says, "it's not something that screams right out at you. It's very natural. Less is better."

Topical anesthetic is applied to points above the hairline before a hollow needle is inserted and pushed to areas where skin has sagged in the face and neck. A barbed suture is threaded through the needle, and the needle is removed. The suture is pulled tight, locking the barbs into place. The doctor then anchors the end of the suture above the hairline with four knots.