Background Minimally invasive facelift techniques involving barbed suture insertion have become popular among patients who wish to correct facial tissue ptosis.
Objectives The authors sought to determine the effectiveness, longevity, complications, and postoperative sequelae associated with facelift by means of barbed polydioxanone (PDO) threads.
Methods A total of 160 consecutive patients who underwent facelift with barbed threads were evaluated retrospectively. For malar augmentation and correction of nasolabial grooves, 2 or 3 PDO threads (23 gauge) were placed per side; for treatment of mandibular lines, 2 to 4 PDO threads (21 gauge) were inserted per side.
Results Immediately after suture placement and for 1 month postoperatively, patients experienced improvement in facial tissue ptosis. This aesthetic result declined noticeably by 6 months and was absent by 1 year. The overall complication rate in the early postoperative period was 34% (55 of 160 patients). Eighteen patients (11.2%) had superficial displacement of the barbed sutures, 15 (9.4%) experienced transient erythema, 10 (6.2%) had infection, 10 (6.2%) experienced skin dimpling, and 2 (1.2%) had temporary facial stiffness.
Conclusions Placement of barbed threads yields instantaneous improvement in facial ptosis that is no longer apparent by 1 year. Given this transient benefit and the complication rate of 34%, we recommend limiting this procedure to patients with contraindications for more invasive facial surgery.
Level of Evidence: 4