What to Know About Lip Thread Lifts

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on February 29, 2024
3 min read

The lip thread lift is a way to subtly change the appearance of your lips. It’s an alternative to lip fillers and plastic surgery that boosts collagen in your body.

A lip thread lift is a simple procedure that involves using barbed sutures -- threads that are usually used for surgery -- to lift the skin. There are usually few risks or complications, and recovery is relatively fast. The results last 1 to 3 years. 

Lip fillers use injections of substances such as hyaluronic acid (HA). A surgeon or dermatologist injects the fillers with a needle, and the results last 6-8 months.

A plastic surgeon or dermatologist does a lip thread lift by putting threads through the skin next to the lip line with a long tube called a cannula.‌‌‌

The lip thread lifting facial rejuvenation technique is fairly new in North America. The procedure is quick and minimally invasive. It's often called a “lunchtime lift”.

Your body absorbs the barbed sutures over a few months. They trigger your body to make collagen where the lip threads are inserted. ‌

Your body naturally makes collagen in order to heal wounds and boost the overall condition of your skin. As you age, collagen production goes down, which in turn leads to thinner skin. Because collagen is a major factor in skin hydration, it helps prevent sagging skin and wrinkles caused by the aging process.  ‌‌

A lip thread lift is similar to stitches. The skin is pulled slightly back, lifted, and tightened without an invasive surgical procedure, such as plastic surgery. The stitches are unnoticeable dissolve over time.

When the threads are inserted into your skin, your body spots the foreign substance. It gathers collagen into the area around the sutures to promote healing.‌‌

Thread lifts give results right away. You may also notice more tone and firmness to your skin.

Two types of lip thread lifts use biocompatible material, which dissolves over a period of months.‌

Nova threads are made of a surgical suture called polydioxanone. It’s been used for more than 60 years in medical procedures, such as cardiac surgeries. It is one of the safest materials to implant in the body.‌

Silhouette Instalift threads are made with poly-L-lactic acid, which is also absorbed by your body. It’s used in procedures such as correcting facial fat loss from antiretroviral therapy-induced lipoatrophy in people with HIV. This type of lip procedure is recommended for people with mild to moderate skin laxity.

Recovery from a lip thread lift procedure is quick. There are few restrictions for a short time after the procedure. Don’t touch the nearby area or get it wet for 12 hours. Don’t apply makeup to the lip area for 48 hours. Avoid exercise and sexual activity for a week. And eat only soft food for 7 days.‌‌  

Take acetaminophen, rather than ibuprofen, for pain or discomfort in order to limit bruising.

The side effects of lip thread lifts may include bruising and swelling. Rarely, lip threads may move around or become visible. However, your doctor can easily fix these issues.

Other thread lift risks include:‌

  • Problems from anesthesia
  • Trouble opening your mouth
  • Threads breaking through the skin (extrusion)
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity to sun or other bright light
  • Results that aren’t what you wanted

The lip threads stay in your body for 6 months before they dissolve. The results last 1 to 3 years, depending on various factors.

Lip thread lifts are approved by the FDA. If you’re interested, talk to your doctor about whether it’s right for you.