Background: In 2006, Villa et al. published a review article concerning the use of thread-lift sutures and concluded that the technique was still in its infancy but had great potential to become a useful and effective procedure for nonsurgical lifting of sagged facial tissues. As 11 years have passed, the authors now performed again a systematic review to determine the real scientific current state of the art on the use of thread-lift sutures.
Methods: A systematic review was performed according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines using the PubMed database and using the Medical Subject Headings search term Rhytidoplasty. Rhytidoplasty and the following entry terms were included by this Medical Subject Headings term: facelift, facelifts, face Lift, Face Lifts, Lift, Face, Lifts, Platysmotomy, Platysmotomies, Rhytidectomy, Rhytidectomies, Platysmaplasty, and Platysmaplasties. The Medical Subject Headings term Rhytidoplasty was combined with the following search terms: Barbed suture, Thread lift, APTOS, Suture suspension, Percutaneous, and Silhouette suture. RefWorks was used to filter duplicates. Three of the authors (H.A.G., B.C., and B.L.) performed the search independently.
Results: The initial search with all search terms resulted in 188 articles. After filtering the duplicates and the articles about open procedures, a total of 41 articles remained. Of these, the review articles, case reports, and letters to the editor were subsequently excluded, as were reports dealing with nonbarbed sutures, such as Vicryl and Prolene with Gore-Tex. This resulted in a total of 12 articles, seven additional articles since the five articles reviewed by Villa et al.
Conclusions: The authors' review demonstrated that, within the past decade, little or no substantial evidence has been added to the peer-reviewed literature to support or sustain the promising statement about thread-lift sutures as made by Villa et al. in 2006 in terms of efficacy or safety. All included literature in the authors' review, except two studies, demonstrated at best a very limited durability of the lifting effect. The two positive studies were sponsored by the companies that manufacture the thread-lift sutures.