Natural aging is inevitable but premature aging is caused by many factors. These include lifestyle choice, nutrition, environmental factors, ultraviolet radiation and a variety of diseases. Both natural and premature aging means our skin is reduced in thickness with a reduction in connective tissue ground substance and a reduction in circulation. In particular, the synthesis of collagen and elastin proteins are reduced in the dermis and the combination of all these different factors lead to changes in skin colour and tone, wrinkling, tissue ptosis and jowling. Premature aging simply accelerates the deterioration.
Anti-aging treatments offer a wide range of solutions from simple topical creams to a full facelift as well as soft tissue supplements such as fat grafting. For those that are not psychologically or physically ready for surgical intervention, many treatments are now available to combat the aging appearance. Each individual treatment has their own merit, for example, injectable dermal fillers replace lost volume and improve skin wrinkles whilst infra-red and ultrasound treatments induce skin tightening. All these treatments will help in combating the aging appearance to some degree and some can even be classified as preventative solutions.
Aesthetic medicine has increased its repertoire in dealing with the aging appearance through the use of Botulinum toxin, skin peels, Hyaluronic acid injections and laser treatment. The aim of facial rejuvenation is to eliminate and smooth wrinkles, improve skin colour, elasticity and texture, delay the aging process of the skin and prevent tissue ptosis. Alongside other treatments, the use of Polydioxanon (PDO) threading plays an important role in restoring the quality of the underlying tissue by stimulating collagen formation and increase microcirculation. The stimulation of collagen production improves the quality of skin and replaces lost connective tissue.
PDO threading has gained popularity in Asia and in particular Korea, where non-surgical anti-aging treatment is very advanced. PDO is a strong synthetic monofilament fibre consisting of a solid fibre of thread, which has been used in plastic surgery and other surgeries for sutures for more than 30 years.
The technique of PDO threading involves using injection needles containing the thread and the free end of the thread is attached to the needle with sponge. After injection of the needle containing the thread into the area for treatment, the needle is removed and the thread is left inside the tissue. This technique is called 3D modelling. The threads will eventually dissolve in the tissue in 4-6 months, depending on the thickness of the thread.
During these few months, the presence of the PDO threads in the subcutaneous tissue induce local inflammation, which lead to an increase in circulation and the production of collagen in the area. It is always important to appreciate the rate of collagen production varies between different people. The quality of skin continues to improve over the next 4-6 months and the final result is preserved for 12-24 months. Again, it is important to appreciate that the degree of improvement will vary between individuals. The improvement may not be as significant as face-lifting but it is an effective treatment and with good maintenance therapy, PDO help to improve facial appearance with minimal recovery as well as deferring a surgical facelift.
Another use of PDO threads can be for facial reshaping. Tightening around the jawline with threading along with hyaluronic acid injection into the chin region, produces a slimmer facial appearance and this “V” shape appearance is extremely popular in Asia. Threading in combination with dermal filler augmentation to the cheekbone improves the facial definition and is becoming very popular worldwide.
Overall, the utilization of PDO threading is expanding its application in improving skin tightness, forehead frown lines and nasal augmentation. Practitioners are now expanding to improve areas with heavier tissue such as abdominal skin and breast uplift and as with facial treatment, results will be dependent on the amount of simulation by the threads and collagen production by individual patients.