Threadlift is a cosmetic procedure that can be used as a non-invasive alternative to facelift surgery.
Thread lifts claim to tighten your skin by inserting medical-grade thread material into your face and then “pulling” your skin up by tightening the thread.
It is also known as a “barbed suture lift”, and it works to shape your breasts or face. Thread lifts use temporary, medical-grade suture material to “stitch-up” your skin so that it’s drawn taut.
Although thread lifts were around since the 1990s and have enjoyed increasing popularity, innovations in the materials used to make them have made them more popular in recent years.
A thread lift is recommended for people in their 30s and 40s. A thread lift can have subtle benefits for those who are generally healthy and just starting to notice the signs that they are getting older.
Those who can’t have a surgical facelift because of medical conditions that make general anesthesia risky may consider a thread lift as a safer alternative.
Costs for a thread lift vary depending on where you live, the experience of your provider, and how many areas are being treated.
A doctor estimated that a threadlift typically costs 40% less than a traditional facelift. The average price of a threadlift in the United States, according to RealSelf.com costs, is $2,050
A thread lift can be performed on the forehead, eyebrow, under-eye and jowls. It is possible to target one area or many at once. This will increase the cost. The cost of a thread lift, which is used to tighten the breasts and draw them up, can be higher.
Thread lifts don’t require general anesthesia, so you save money on the cost of sedation. You also don’t have to consider taking recovery time off from work. Recovery is minimal — it can even be done on your lunch break.
To enhance the results of your thread lift, your plastic surgeon might recommend additional treatments or cosmetic procedures like Botox and Juvederm. Make sure you’re aware of any costs associated with these procedures.
Two ways to perform thread lifting
The first step is quite simple. Your doctor can pull your skin tightly around your forehead, neck or torso by threading dissolvable sutures under your skin.
Invisible, painless “barbs” grab on to your skin and make sure that the thread grips your underlying tissue and muscles as the thread is pulled tight.
Once a barbed thread is inserted, your body’s healing response is triggered. Even though you’re not injured by the threads under your skin, your body detects a suture material and stimulates collagen production in the affected area. Collagen can help fill the wrinkles in your skin, and restore your youthful elasticity.
A 2017 study of 100 people who’d undergone a thread lift suggested that the primary effect of a thread lift procedure is skin appearing tighter and more structured. This effect decreases as the sutures begin to dissolve after a year. However, there was a secondary “rejuvenation” effect that stayed in place and was noticeable 3 years or more after the procedure.
A review of the literature regarding thread lifts in 2019 concluded that more research is needed to understand the long-term consequences of them. Technology and methods of providing threadlifts are constantly evolving.
The procedure for thread lift may be slightly different depending on the area you’re targeting as well as your provider’s preferences. The fundamental technique is almost always the same.
- You’ll be asked to recline in the room where your procedure is being performed. Alcohol, as well as topical anesthetic, will be applied to your skin as it’s prepped for surgery.
- To insert the threads under your skin, a thin needle or cannula is used. It can take up to 45 minutes to insert the threads.
- The threads will be removed after they are inserted. Under your skin, you may feel some pressure or tightening.
- Within a few minutes of the needles being taken out, your procedure will be complete and you’ll be free to go home or back to work.
Many people choose a thread lift for facial areas that “sag” or look less tight over time. These areas include:
- Jawline and jowls
- The brow line
- Under-eye area
You can also use thread lifts to lift and tighten your breasts, particularly after pregnancy or weight loss.
Thread lifting is considered low-risk and requires minimal recovery. However, there are side effects that can be dangerous as well as the possibility of complications.
After a thread lift, it’s not uncommon to experience the following:
- There is a slight discomfort at the injection site.
There’s a 15 to 20 percent chance of complications, including dimpling. Minor complications can be easily corrected.
To be on the lookout for complications, here are some:
- Threading material may cause allergic reactions
- You may experience bleeding from the process that builds up behind your skin.
- visible dimpling of pulling where threads have been placed
- migration or unintended “movement” of the threads that result in skin that looks lumpy or bulges
- pain under your skin as a result of the thread being too “tight” or awkwardly placed
- Infections at the area of the procedure
The most serious risk of thread lifting is infection. Call your doctor right away if you notice:
- Green, brown, red, or black discharges at the site where your procedure is performed
- Swelling for longer than 48 hours
- Persistent headaches
You should always consult the surgeon if you are concerned about any complications.
Sometimes, people don’t like the way their face looks after treatment. Before you have this procedure, speak to your surgeon so you know what to expect. Also, make sure that the surgeon is licensed and qualified.
The recovery time after a thread lift is very short. While there may be some visible swelling and bruising, you can go back to work right away if you’d like.
The results should be evident immediately after the threads have been placed. However, you might notice more over the following days or weeks as swelling and bruising subsides.
Results from a thread lift aren’t meant to be permanent. The results of successful thread lifts typically last between one and three years. Similar to Botox, dissolvable dermalfillers that dissolve in skin, the threads used for the procedure will eventually be absorbed and reabsorbed by your skin.
You can return to your regular routine after a thread lift. After the procedure, your provider might advise you to not rub your face too vigorously and to refrain from sleeping on your stomach for the first week.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends that you avoid using daily moisturizers for the first few weeks following a thread lift. Instead, sleep with your head up and your neck elevated to prevent your head from rolling onto the sutures.
You’ll also be advised to avoid saunas and high intensity workouts for the first week or so after the thread lift is performed.
Here’s an example thread lift result.
After consulting with your provider and booking your appointment, you may be given some guidelines for do’s and don’ts to prepare for your thread lift.
A thread lift won’t give you the same dramatic results as a surgical facelift. If you’re considering investing in this procedure, it’s important to have realistic expectations.
A thread lift can also be temporary. A facelift can’t stop the process of aging completely, but the results last many years. A thread lift can have subtle effects that last for around two years.
Dermal fillers and other treatments may be required to extend the life expectancy of your results.
Facelift surgery is more risky than other procedures. If you don’t like the results of a facelift, there’s not much you can do except have another invasive procedure. If you don’t like the result of a thread lift, you can simply wait for the threads to dissolve.
A thread lift costs less than a facelift. It is possible to go back to work right after it has been done. The recovery period is also minimal.
If you’re noticing signs of aging in your jawline or under your eyes, a thread lift is a low-risk way to see how a more permanent procedure might look.
A thread lift is safe and effective when performed by a licensed, trained provider. An experienced surgeon is more likely to avoid potential complications.
You can find a provider in your area by using the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ search tool.