We know that medical device technology in the aesthetics space is strongly driven by consumer demand for minimally invasive procedures; patients want to rewind the aging process without the pain or recovery time. This demand has delivered some of the most popular cosmetic treatments on the market, like Botulinum Toxin-A (BTX) or dermal filler injections. These injections serve to relax facial muscles to eliminate wrinkles, and volumize facial skin for a rejuvenated look, respectively.
But what about patients who want to remediate naturally occurring ptosis (sagging skin) by lifting mechanisms? Well, sure, these patients could opt for a surgical facelift, but they would also incur the pain, lengthy recovery time, and permanence associated with this procedure. However, there is a more recent product re-entry to the aesthetics market that provides an alternative to the facelift –the cosmetic thread.
Cosmetic threads are like medical sutures that are injected by needle underneath the skin to lift and rejuvenate the skin. Suspension threads are one variety of long cosmetic threads that have cones or barbs that pull backwards on sagging skin when injected with a needle into the target area on the face. Rejuvenation threads are another variety that have less of a lifting mechanism, but stimulate natural collagen production when injected underneath the skin. Although these products are not a permanent procedure and necessitate repeat procedures like BTX and dermal filler injections do, these products are a minimally invasive alternative to the surgical facelift.
Another property that makes these threads unique is that cosmetic threads are approved for more indications than traditional facial injectables. For example, in addition to facial skin, they can be used to correct ptosis anywhere it occurs on the body—in such areas as the neck, stomach, thighs and arms.
Although these products are new in their current form, rejuvenating the skin by inserting threads into the skin is not a new idea. In fact, gold threads were used as a cosmetic treatment by the ancient Egyptians to inject into the skin and stimulate collagen productions. Since then, new generations have been developed in Asia and in Europe. However, the FDA banned cosmetic threads in 2007 for use in the US due to procedural complications, which stemmed from improper use by physicians lacking training and experience. However early in 2015 Sinclair Pharma received FDA approval for its Silhouette Instalift suspension thread brand, known as the Silhouette Soft brand in Europe.
Given the wide variety of indications that cosmetic threads can target, the potential patient pool for cosmetic threads is enormous. However, the cosmetic threads market still remains in its infancy, especially in the US. What then, will further the global adoption of these procedures? Given the clinical complications with older cosmetic thread generations, more robust clinical data outlining cosmetic thread procedures will need to be conducted in order for patients and physicians to trust these procedures. In addition, cosmetic thread administration is largely unregulated in Europe and Asia, which means that nurses and GPs can perform these procedures. Although the wide availability of practitioners performing these procedures leads to increased availability for patients, it also means that the practitioners performing these procedures may lack clinical experience. Therefore, cosmetic thread manufacturers should create extensive training programs to support the use of their cosmetic thread products.
Overall, the future of cosmetic threads in the aesthetics market is promising as they target a currently unmet patient demand. As their use becomes increasingly validated by research and the long-term results of their use are seen, they will become a cornerstone of cosmetic treatments, alongside BTX and dermal fillers.
DRG has published a brand new report covering the European Cosmetic Threads Market. It provides qualitative and quantitative insights on the suspension and rejuvenation thread markets. The competitive landscape in the cosmetic threads area is rapidly changing in this untapped market; let DRG help your company navigate the way forward. Follow Lucy on twitter @lucyfedericoDRG for more insights into the aesthetic markets.