What to Know About a Thread Lift

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on February 27, 2024
3 min read

Skin changes are part of getting older. Your skin loses its strength and elasticity over time. This leads to sagging and wrinkles. Your cartilage also gets weaker and doesn’t hold the skin around it up as well. You may notice drooping and looser skin on your face as the skin and cartilage in your face change.

One option that can make your face look younger is a thread lift. It's a minimally invasive procedure where a doctor puts fibers under your skin to pull it back. They’re less expensive than plastic surgery with much less recovery time.

Your doctor can use it along with other techniques like Botox to reduce the signs of aging.

A thread lift works in two ways. Your doctor first places temporary stitches under your skin to pull it back or up. This gives the area a tighter appearance. The threads are textured filaments that grab the underside of your skin to hold it in a new position. These threads instantly give your face a lifted look.

The second thing the threads do is stimulate your natural healing response. Your body will treat the threads like an injury and make more collagen where the threads are. Collagen is the protein in your skin that makes it look full and plump. You lose it as you age, which leads to wrinkles and sagging.

You can have the procedure done in a doctor’s office. It usually takes about an hour. You will be awake and able to talk to your doctor during the procedure. They may offer you the chance to look at what they are doing so you can tell them if you want adjustments.

First, your doctor will numb your skin with local anesthesia. Then, they'll slide small hollow needles called cannulas under your skin where they plan to set the threads.  Your doctor will use the cannulas to guide the threads into place. They will decide how many threads you need based on how large the treatment area on your face is.

Your doctor will take out the cannulas once the threads are in place. You may have some irritation but you won't have any scarring.

Thread lifts can cause complications, such as:

Skin texture changes. Some people have bumps or dimpling in the skin over the threads. This effect may fade over time.

Irritation. You may have redness that lasts after the procedure.

Stiffness. In some cases, the threads make a person’s face feel stiff or hard to move.

Infection. There is a risk of infection from a thread lift since it is a medical procedure.

It takes a few months for the full effects of the collagen boost to be noticeable. The initial tightening from the threads will help your skin look younger. The improvements will continue as your skin makes more collagen. The threads will dissolve under your skin after about 6 months.

Some people have longer effects thanks to the extra collagen that their skin produces after the lift.

Talk to a doctor if you are considering a thread lift. They will be able to discuss your goals and whether it’s the right treatment for you.