Thread Lifting Facts - Viewpoints from Expert Doctors

Last updated date: 06-Feb-2023


11 mins read


As we age, we all fear all the associated phenomena that come with getting old, starting from grey hair and skin wrinkles to old age diseases. 

But the appearance and skin changes that accompany ageing are the first things to be noticed whenever we look in the mirror. 

As we age, our skin loses its youthful appearance and gets saggier. Fine facial lines and skin wrinkles become more and more obvious. The face and neck areas will show ageing signs first before any other area. 

You can’t ignore these signs; you see them in your photos and the mirror. And they are important to address because they indicate a breakdown of the skin’s tissues. 

But beauty experts and dermatologists are sparing no effort to find the least invasive most effective ways to make us feel young again. 

Today’s video is about one of the newest techniques in the aesthetic field. It is about a technique that can solve the skin problems associated with ageing. Today, we are talking about thread lift


What is a Thread Lift?

A thread lift, also called a barbed suture lift,  is a type of procedure where a specific type of sutures is used to produce a subtle but visible lift in the skin. It is a cosmetic procedure that improves, lifts, and sculpts the shape of your face or breasts. 

Thread lifts use temporary medical-grade sutures to lift the skin.  

Until recently, the only way to address problems related to facial sagging and loose skin was facelift surgery.  Doctors used to think that once loose skin is found, only a scalpel can be used to adjust that. 

It wasn’t until the 1990s when doctors thought that they could lift face skin without invading the skin. They thought of using threads, inserting them into the face and then pulling the skin up by tightening these threads. 

Instead of removing the excess sagging skin surgically, the doctor suspends it with stitches. This way pulls the skin back slightly and thus tightens the skin of the face and the neck. 

Thread lifts are shorter procedures than facelifts. They target the signs of ageing in the lower face. Although they can be done to address eyebrow and cheeks sagging, they originally work on the mid-face, neck area, and jowls. 

Besides being ideal for lifting the skin of the face, thread lifts also play a role in fighting another way. They provoke a healing response and direct it to the treated area. This way, your body produces a large amount of collagen which plays a vital role in the ageing process. 

Collagen supports the growth factors that control the condition of our skin. In addition to wound healing, collagen helps keep our skin strong and tight. 

As we get older, our bodies produce lesser amounts of collagen which eventually leads to a reduction of skin thickness and elasticity. The resultant loss of volume will create skin wrinkles and excess skin.

So, simply put, thread lift provides ongoing and progressive improvement for the facial tissue.

For all these reasons, thread lifts are considered ideal. 

Besides, they are considered low-risk procedures with minimal recovery time. And the good news is, thread lifts are less expensive than traditional facelift surgeries. However, the cost varies according to many other factors. 


But who is thread lifts for? 

The ideal candidate for thread lifts is in their late 30s to early 50s. A person who is generally in relatively good health and signs of ageing just started to appear on the face or the neck. 

Also, people who can’t undergo a traditional facelift because of a health condition or because they can’t be subjected to general anesthesia can consider thread lifts as a safer alternative. 


Every procedure has its targeted areas, so what are the targeted areas for thread lifts? 

Many people choose thread lifts for sagging facial areas that including: 

  • Jowls and jawline. 
  • Forehead. 
  • Cheeks. 
  • Under eyes area. 
  • Brow line. 

 In addition to these areas, they can also help in lifting breasts after pregnancy or after weight loss. 

And just like any other cosmetic surgery, there must be risks, complications, and side effects. And although thread lifts are low-risk procedures, side effects and risk of complications still exist. Here are some of the possible side effects: 

  • Bleeding. 
  • Bruising. 
  • Swelling. 
  • Pain at the thread injection site. 
  • Tenderness. 
  • Numbness.
  • Slight asymmetry.

Most of the side effects will appear in the first 24-48 hours after the surgery and they will resolve very quickly. 

Before determining whether thread lift is suitable for you or not, you should educate yourself about the possible risk of complications. Although there is a 15 to 20% risk of complications, here are some of the complications to look out for: 

  • Allergy to the ingredients of the threading material. 
  • Bleeding, which might build up under your skin. 
  • Visible dimpling or pulling at the site of threads injection. 
  • Infection at the site of the procedure. 
  • Pain under the skin if the threads are too tight. 
  • Movement of the threads and thus skin looks lumpy. 

But, of all these complications, infection is the one you should be highly careful with and call your doctor right away if you notice a green, black or red discharge from the site of the procedure, swelling for more than 48 hours, fever, or headache. 

Now you have an idea about the side effects and risk of complications of this procedure. Now, let’s focus on the positive side. 


What to expect from a Thread Lift? 

After a successful thread lift, recovery would be minimal, and you could go back to work on the same day if you wanted to. There might be some visible swelling or bruising, but as we mentioned, they will resolve right away. You can resume your daily activities, but you will be advised not to rub your face forcefully. You should also avoid sleeping on the side in the weeks that follow the procedure. 

The American Academy for plastic surgeons also advises avoiding using a moisturizer for the first few weeks after the procedure and also avoiding saunas and intense workout. 

The effect of the procedure should be apparent right after the threads have been put into place. However, you may notice the results more in the days that follow after everything settles down and swelling subsides. 

And just like other dissolvable skin injections such as Botox, thread lift effects are not permanent. They typically last from 1 to 3 years because the threads will eventually be absorbed by your tissues. 

Until now this is all great, but the difference between a traditional facelift and a thread lift is not really clear. 

Let me put that for you in the form of pros and cons. 

Let’s start with the pros. 

  • Thread lifts are short procedures. The whole procedure can be performed in 45 minutes. 
  • Quick recovery time. Risks and complications of a traditional facelift are much higher while with thread lifts they are minimal and resolve quickly. 
  • Thread lifts are so minimally invasive that you can go back to work just after the procedure. 
  • A thread lift is less expensive than a facelift and much more affordable. 
  • A thread lift is a low-risk way. 
  • If you don’t like the results of a thread lift, they are not permanent, you can simply wait until the threads are absorbed. However, if you don’t like the results of a facelift, there is nothing you can do about it unless you have another invasive procedure. 

Now it is time for cons. 

  • A thread lift won’t give the same dramatic effect as a traditional facelift. 
  • Thread lifts are not permanent. 
  • To make the results of thread lift last longer, you will need dermal fillers from time to time, which costs more money, time, and effort. 
  • Thread lifts have a lower success rate. 
  • Thread lifts don’t remove excess skin. 


Now let’s get to the mechanism behind thread lifts, how do they work? 

Thread lifts work in two ways. 

The first way is very straightforward, your doctor threads thin dissolvable sutures under your skin, and then pulls your skin tightly. 

The second way, as we mentioned before, a thread lift stimulates your body’s healing response. Your body will react to the injury of the threads by producing a large amount of collagen and, over time, you will notice a gradual improvement of the skin tone and firmness. Collagen will fill the gaps in your sagging skin and bring back the youthful elasticity of your skin. 


Our role today is to answer most of your questions regarding thread lifting . Today we have Dr. Kim, who is a leading doctor at BK Plastic Surgery in Seoul. He is going to discuss with us about thread lifting from an experienced medical point of view.



Dr. Yong Woo Kim


Moving to thread lifting. What is thread lifting?

Thread lifting is a minimally invasive method to lift sagging facial features for anti-aging effect. One technique is to use a thread to lift the shallow depth skin tissue. The other is to deeply thread reaching the SMAS and lifting it.


How is this different between other surgical facelifts?

The difference between this thread lifting and others is the similar to the difference between incision method and buried suture method in blepharoplasty. Because thread lifting is a method without incision that only utilizes a thread to lift. However, this lifting is weaker than normal facelift surgery so it is mostly recommended for younger patients and can act as an entry into facelift thru a milder minimally invasive version.


How many threads are there for us to choose from?

There are many types of threads for lifting. We can divide them into the thread types with barbs and those without. The monofilaments without barbs are used close to the surface and they encourage generation of collagen and fats to increase elasticity while decreasing minor wrinkles. The threads with barbs are embedded deeply reaching the SMAS layer, pulling the opposite direction to decrease sagging skin and decrease visible wrinkles. The barbed threads have evolved to those that are beaded, for example Silhouette Soft. For the non barbed thread, their pulling strength is less than barbed threads, but due to its ability to stimulate collagen growth the results last longer. And the threads can be maneuvered better than barbed threads so it can be great for filling parts of the face that have sunk, not just for reducing wrinkles and sags.


How long does a thread lift last?

While thread lifting does not require incision, the type of threads, how many threads and the condition of the patient affects how long the procedure lasts. For the common threads that melt and disappear, the effect will last about a year to a year and a half.


How long will the recovery period be?

Thread lifting procedure is similar to a mild surgical procedure in terms of recovery. Depending on the person’s body, the inflammation recovery varies but in general one day will be enough to get back to normal.


OK. Are filling injections and thread lifts effective for improving smile lines?

Yes, smile lines deepen as we age. Using filling and threads as a combination to reduce the smile lines (Marionette lines) is very effective.


Is it possible to have a thread lift to reduce neck lines?

It is possible to use thread lifting to reduce neck wrinkles. The method involves lifting from behind the ears to pull and reduce the wrinkles. But if there is excess fat in the neck it must be removed. And in cases where the sagging is extreme, some tissue can be removed for better results.


What kind of client should have a thread lift?

Younger people with slight sags. Those with smile lines, mouth wrinkles, sagging jaw lines, forehead and eyebrow area concerns. Also, for those above 50 this procedure can be done prior to a full facelift as a preventive measure.


What are the side effects and risks of having thread lifting?

Thread lifting is a simple and safe procedure, so there are no dangerous side effects. There could be some inflammation, bruises and dimples. Inflammation and bruises can be subsided with cold packs and ice. Dimples are a result as a result of the threads being used too shallow, but they subside with massage or just left alone for about two weeks.


OK, what kind of person is not suitable for thread lifting?

Those who have thick skin or have thick fat layers, the thread lifting effect is less effective. And those who are 60 and over with ample sagging, midface lifting surgery is recommended.


What do we need to be aware of and pay attention to after the thread lifting?

In order to not untangle the threads, avoid full body massages, visits to dentists where you would have to open your mouth wide, and lifting heavy items.



Thread lifting is a minimally invasive method to lift sagging facial features for anti-aging effect. One technique is to use a thread to lift the shallow depth skin tissue. The other is to deeply thread reaching the SMAS (Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System) and lifting it. Thread lifting is a method without incision that only utilizes a thread to lift. However, the lifting is weaker than normal facelift surgery so it is mostly recommended for younger patients and can act as an entry into facelift thru a milder minimally invasive version.

There are many types of threads for lifting which can be divided into the threads with barbs and those without. For the common threads that melt and disappear, the effect of lifting will last about a year to a year and a half.

Thread lifting procedure is similar to a mild surgical procedure in terms of recovery. So in general a day will be enough to get back to normal.

Thread lifting is ideal for younger people with slight sags. For those above 50 this procedure can be an option prior to a full facelift.