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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 12:57 GMT
'Quickie' facelifts under attack
Surgeons operating
Surgeons say only facelift operations last for a significant period
Plastic surgeons have criticised a company for offering a "quickie facelift".

Transform Medical Group's operation, which takes around 90 minutes, uses threading inserted under the skin to pull it upwards and costs 3,000.

The company claims it offers a "quick-fix" for professional women feeling the pressure to look young.

But leading plastic surgeons said the procedure was not long-lasting, and was "inferior" to standard facelifts.

If you lift something with threads the results aren't long lasting as the tissue eventually relaxes
Adrian Richards, British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

Patients undergoing the contour threading - or 'featherlifting' - do not need to have any incisions made in their skin.

Instead, patients are given a local anaesthetic, and a large needle with a barbed thread is inserted under the skin and pulled across the area being worked on.

The barbs, which are made of clear polypropylene - a plastic, attach themselves to the fleshy areas of the face, and the thread pulls them tighter.

Patients can be back at work within two days.

Transform says that, over the next two weeks, collagen forms around the barbs, providing more support for the area.

'Minimally invasive'

The company, which has been offering the contour-threading procedure for around two months, say its effects last for up to five years.

Mary Burney, director of clinical services at the company, said it had received hundreds of inquiries about the procedure.

This cutting edge procedure offers a reasonable, minimally invasive alternative with much less recovery time
Transform Medical Group statement

She added: "Contour threading is proving to be extremely popular as women, and men, realise there is now an easy and quick option that still gives dramatic results."

But Adrian Richards, a consultant plastic surgeon and member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) said the threading procedure was "painful" and "uncomfortable".

And he added: "For a long time we've realised if you lift something with threads the results aren't long lasting as the tissue eventually relaxes.

"And where does the excess skin go? If you lift it up, you leave folds, and these must be removed, or they remain visible - surgeons have been using thread lifts in Europe for several years and many have abandoned this technique."

Mr Richards said it was an "inferior technique".

'Risible'

Douglas McGeorge, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President-Elect, added: "Patients must remember that minimally-invasive techniques usually are effective only for minimal corrections and for the short term.

"Traditional surgery can achieve a more extensive facial rejuvenation."

And Mr Norman Waterhouse, a former president of BAAPS, said: "The idea that you can get a long-lasting, half-reasonable result by placing the equivalent of a few hooks in the face is risible."

Transform Medical Group said in a statement to the BBC News website: "We agree that the use of contour threads is not indicated to replace a facelift.

"Patients are informed that they will not get a long lasting effect from this new treatment.

"Patients are increasingly requesting a procedure that does not carry significant risks and complications, such as a facelift, and they are requesting surgical interventions at an earlier age to slow down the signs of ageing.

"This cutting edge procedure offers a reasonable, minimally invasive alternative with much less recovery time."

The company said it agreed it would be of concern if patients were told the procedure carried long term benefits."




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