Local News

Chapel Hill Surgeon Offers Simpler Option To Face-Lift Surgery

Posted May 4, 2005 6:41 a.m. EDT

— The most recent rage in plastic surgery is called "

Threading Augmentation

." Instead of a standard face-lift that involves cutting and stretching skin, threading uses plastic sutures with barbs that literally lift the skin. The procedure was invented by a plastic surgeon in Chapel Hill.

For many years, 69-year-old Jenny Rice thought about face-lift surgery. Now, she is doing it. However, Dr. Gregory Ruff will not use a scalpel to lift Jenny's face.

First, he numbs the skin then he uses a needle to pull barbed sutures that he invented. The Food and Drug Administration approved the procedure last fall.

"Prior to that, I was taking sutures that were manufactured for just ordinary surgery and cutting little barbs in them with a scalpel," Ruff said.

Ruff threads the sutures from the hairline downward. Once in place, the barbs will lift and hold Jenny's face and brow.

"If you get some bunching, if the person has a lot of skin laxity, bunching will go away usually within a couple of weeks," Ruff said.

In standard facelifts, surgeons cut and remove loose skin, then stretch what is left.

"Continuing to pull back toward the ear as opposed to up tends to begin to look unnatural," Ruff said.

The barbed sutures lift vertically. There is no scar, no risk of cutting nerves and less risk of infection.

"This used to be just Hollywood movie star stuff and now, it's even young people are doing this all over the country," Rice said.

Rice directs how much skin is lifted and where. Now, she has a smoother jaw line and enhanced cheekbones. A week after her procedure, Jenny still has bruises and swelling. WRAL will continue to follow up with her and see how she's doing.

The cost of threading varies across the country. Ruff said it is generally about half the cost of a standard facelift within a range of $2,500 to $5,000.