Looking at Barbed Sutures after Two Years on the Market

Plastic surgeons discuss the pros and cons of barbed sutures.

New York, NY (April 19, 2007) The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) announced today that a panel will convene to discuss the use of barbed sutures for facial rejuvenation at the Society’s Annual Meeting, being held at the Javits Convention Center in New York City, April 19-24, 2007.  “The Role for Barbed Sutures in Facial Rejuvenation” will be moderated by James Stuzin, MD, President of ASAPS, and will include Nicanor Isse, MD, Malcolm Paul, MD, Gregory Ruff, MD, and Woffles Wu, MD. Barbed sutures are thin polypropylene threads with “barbs” along the body of the suture that can be inserted under the skin through small openings to lift sagging features. Although barbed sutures have been available since the 1990s outside of the United States, they have only been available on the U.S. market since 2005.

While the media has greatly hyped barbed sutures, doctors have reported complications from these procedures including scarring, indentations, bunching, dimpling, broken or lapsed threads, and asymmetry.   During the Hot Topics forum at last year’s Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL an informal poll was taken.  Thirty of the 51 plastic surgeons polled thought these lifts created more problems than benefits. 

“When new procedures and technologies become available, physicians sometimes face the controversy of using an approach for which we don’t have a lot of long-term data. We will be presenting some of that data here, and we hope this panel will give surgeons a balanced look at barbed sutures after a couple of years of use in this country.” commented Dr. Stuzin.

Panelists will cover topics including long term results, complication rates, short versus long barbed sutures, reoperations, what to do when sutures fail, and how to safely implant the sutures.

“Different types of barbed threads can be deployed in various ways and positions to give patients their desired result with a minimum of complications or downtime—without sacrificing high quality aesthetic results,” said Dr. Wu.

“For patients who are not candidates for traditional facelifts, such as smokers or those on blood thinners, or for younger patients who do not want surgery, procedures using barbed threads can be an excellent option, with very little of the swelling or bruising associated with traditional facelifts,” added Dr. Ruff. 

Panelists will also discuss the appropriate incorporation of barbed threads into non-surgical and co-surgical facial rejuvenation approaches, as well as emerging uses for barbed sutures in non-facial aesthetic procedures, including breast and body procedures. 

“Barbed sutures have a variety of benefits when used for facial rejuvenation, but we are also seeing new wound closure procedures that take advantage of barbed suture technology in aesthetic surgical procedures of the facial, breast and body, speeding up wound closure and potentially avoiding some of the side effects associated with traditional suturing, such as infection, said Dr. Paul.


The Role for Barbed Sutures in Facial Rejuvenation
Sunday, April 22, 2007, 7:00am
Moderator:    James Stuzin, MD of Miami, FL
Panelists:       Nicanor Isse, MD of Newport Beach, CA
                       Malcolm Paul, MD of Newport Beach, CA
                       Gregory Ruff, MD of Chapel Hill, NC
                       Woffles Wu, MD of Singapore

PRESENTERS are available for interviews.


The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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