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The use of gold threads for skin rejuvenation is also marketed as gold filament rejuvenation. It has been used successfully since the 1980s in Europe, having greater popularity in Russia and Asia.
The gold threads work in a similar way to other cosmetic treatments, such as medical micro-needling, by stimulating the body’s own production of new collagen (neocollagenesis) in response to a controlled trauma or foreign body reaction. This results in skin thickening, and overall the skin is much more supple. It may also give a mild tightening or lifting effect in some people. However, the results from gold filament treatment are much longer lasting than those achievable with less invasive treatments such as skin-needling.
24 karat gold, which is 99.9% pure gold, is one of the longest studied thread materials - in fact gold has been used in many medical applications throughout history.
Brands of gold threads used for cosmetic rejuvenation, which are available in the UK, include SkinGold® and GoldThread®.
99.9% pure gold, 24 karat, in hair-like (0.1mm diameter) strands or threads of differing lengths which can be cut to size on instion.
Pure gold is known to not react with other substances that it comes into contact with so reducing the risk of chemical reactions when placed in the skin, for example it cannot .
Some gold thread products are coated in other absorbable substances which aid the rigidity of the threads and reduce the risk of breakage during implantation. Such coatings are degraded quickly once within the skin.
Gold threads are smooth in nature. They are inserted into the skin (sub-dermally) via a 1mm needle and cannula. Placement of the threads via a stitching technique takes approximately one hour for most procedures.
Gold thread lifting works by creating a fibrotic or foreign body reaction, over approximately 6 months, around a mesh, fan or lattice pattern of gold threads, placed just under the surface of the skin, which leads to skin thickening, improved skin elasticity, and sometimes mild tightening or lifting of the tissues. This is due to the stimulating effect that the threads have within the tissues which causes new collagen formation – a process called neocollagenesis. The closer the threads are placed in the or fan, the tighter any achievable lift, although this is not the main aim of the procedure.
The aim of treatment is to thicken the skin through this process of neocollagenesis and thus improve the elasticity, firmness and suppleness of it.
Although considered a more permanent option than some thread or suture products, slow fragmentation of the threads is known to happen with partial resorption by phagocytosis, where the body absorbs the threads over time. This will not be obvious to the individual and the new collagen structure will remain in place.
Gold threads are suitable for all skin types and ethnicities.
They are used in the face for skin rejuvenation through skin thickening, as well as the neck and décolletage, and are also being used by some practitioners to achieve buttock lifts (sometimes marketed as “golden pants”) and breast lifts (“golden bra”). In fact, they can be used anywhere where skin has lost firmness, but is not loose, or excessively lax in appearance. The use of gold threads can also be used to help provide better or augmented results from other procedures such as a surgical face lift or liposuction. In the case of liposuction, the elasticity of the skin and its ability to retract smoothly after the removal of the underlying fat is paramount to a good result. To help with this, gold threads can be used to help generate the new collagen to thicken the skin and improve the elasticity of it in the area also treated with liposuction.
It is also a useful treatment for those will some kind of asymmetry to their facial structures, such as sufferers of Bell’s Palsy which causes a paralysis of facial muscles on one side of the face, manifesting as a drooping in the tissue on the affected side.
Medical devices with European CE mark.
Trained members of the medical profession only, such as cosmetic surgeons and doctors with experience of minor surgical techniques.
SkinGold® and SkinGold® Plus are CE marked 24 karat gold threads manufactured in Spain by LorcaMarín. The threads are 0.1mm in diameter and come in lengths of 25cm.
The fine, pure gold threads are braided with polyglycolic acid, which is absorbable suture material; or with PVDF, polyvinylidene difluoride, a commonly used plastic membrane material, both of which reinforce the effect of the implantation of the gold thread and avoid breakage during implantation.
Gold at this level of purity and thinness is very fragile and malleable, so requires an additional component to support its structure whilst it is placed say the manufacturer. The polyglycolic acid is usually absorbed within 60 days. The presence of the gold then causes the foreign body reaction, by way of the production of tubular granuloma along the length and surrounding circumference of the thread; the PVDF also produces a milder but similar mode of action as the gold itself.
GoldThread™ are CE marked 24 karat gold threads manufactured in the USA by Gold Thread LLC. They are distributed in the UK by Gold Thread Europe Ltd. They are 0.1mm in diameter and are available in lengths of 25cm or 50cm.
Those with known allergies to gold, such as experienced when wearing gold jewellery close to the skin.
It is also not suitable for people with an active infection, malignancy, autoimmune disease, tendency to scar or pigment badly. A full medical history and potential contra-indications should be discussed during your consultation.
Similarly, pregnant or breast feeding women are advised to wait until after having and feeding their baby to have this procedure.
This is not a replacement treatment for those who would be a better candidate for a surgical face lift, such that if there is excess laxity in the skin, gold threads will not give an adequate result and surgical removal of skin would be required.
You will not see results immediately after the procedure as time is required for the formation of new collagen and blood vessels around the gold thread structure. You can expect results to gradually improve over a 3- or 6-month period.
Results are not 100% permanent either as ageing and the effects of gravity will continue to have an effect on the structure of a person’s skin, however, you can expect to maintain the results from a gold filament treatment for 3 to 5 years. Some people are still happy with their results after up to 10 years, when skin firmness will eventually become less apparent.
The procedure is considered to be minimally invasive in nature so down-time and recovery is short, compared to surgical procedures. It should be painless during the procedure thanks to the use of local anaesthetic injections and topical creams, and you can return home immediately afterwards and most likely you will resume normal life and most activities in the following day or two.
Expect bruising, swelling, a feeling of tightness and mild lumpiness in the area where the threads were placed. Face treatments are likely to result in an appearance of black eyes, despite treatment not taking place near the eyes themselves. Small pin prick wounds will also be visible where the entry points for thread placement were. This will be temporary and should all resolve within a fortnight, with most of the swelling gone after a few days to a week.
Over the counter pain medication, such as paracetamol can be taken if required. You may also be prescribed antibiotics to avoid the risk of infection during the healing period. You will be advised on how to keep the treated area clean.
On occasion, some of the gold threads may start to work their way back out of the skin and ‘poke through’ the entry points. You should let your practitioner know if this happens and a follow-up appointment can be made to cut the ends of the threads to keep them inserted.
Another potential complication is skin puckering.
Rarely, and if gold threads are not placed in a pattern formation, but in simple lines, then a complication referred to as ‘cheese-wiring’ can occur. This ‘cutting’ action of the thread can cause trauma to the underlying tissues during the post-procedure period. It is more commonly noted with body procedures, where the underlying tissues are heavier and the effects of gravity are more pronounced, than with face procedures. To avoid this problem, most practitioners employ thread placement techniques involving patterns or matrix, scaffold structures, such as fan or lattice shapes, whereby the threads support each other during all stages of the short and long term post-treatment periods.
In some cases, excess fibrosis or scar tissue formation may occur and affect the result.
If removal is required, it can be done within the first six months only, using a hook for extraction.
A common myth is that gold threads can set off airport security alarms, this is not true.
The cost of a gold filament rejuvenation will depend on the area being treated, the number of gold threads required and the experience of the practitioner performing the procedure. You can expect to pay around £2,000 to £3,500 for a facial gold filament rejuvenation procedure.
Before (left) and After (right)
Photographs courtesy of Dr Alexandra Chambers Medical and Aesthetic Practice.
(All before and after photographs are real patients, your results may differ).
Usefulness of Gold Thread Implantation for Crow`s Feet
Kee Cheol Shin, Tae Hui Bae, Woo Seob Kim, and Han Koo Kim Arch Plast Surg. 2012 Jan; 39(1): 42–45.
Concluded that: Subdermal implantation of gold thread improves the appearance of periorbital wrinkles and does not appear to have serious side effects. Insertion of gold thread may be an effective and safe method for facial rejuvenation.