A thread lift is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that tightens the skin on the face. During a thread lift, a cosmetic surgeon uses threads to pull up portions of the skin to reduce the appearance of aging.

If a person has loose skin on their face, it may cause them to develop jowls or drooping cheeks. Some people decide to have cosmetic surgery to tighten this loose skin for esthetic purposes.

A thread lift is a cosmetic procedure that can help tighten loose facial skin.

This article explains what a thread lift is, the benefits and drawbacks of the procedure, and its cost.

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A thread lift is a procedure that aims to tighten the skin on the face. It is a minimally invasive alternative to a facelift.

During a thread lift, the cosmetic surgeon uses a temporary suture, or “thread,” to lift up portions of the skin.

The surgeon inserts a thin needle or cannula into the skin. They can then use this to insert threads beneath the skin to lift the skin up.

Inserting and slightly pulling threads and barbs pulls the skin up, lifting and tightening the face.

As well as lifting the skin and making it appear tighter, thread lifts can also stimulate the body to direct large amounts of collagen to the treated areas.

This can also impact the appearance of skin aging as collagen can help reduce or delay the skin-aging process.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a thread lift is an option for treating:

  • early loosening of the facial structures
  • jowls
  • sagging eyebrows
  • premature loosening of the skin on the neck

Learn how to get rid of jowls here.

Thread lift procedures can be beneficial for anyone who wants to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, sagging skin, or early jowls.

They may also be suitable for people with sagging skin.

A full facelift procedure requires the person to go under a general anesthetic. A thread lift only requires a local anesthetic.

This means a thread lift is a good option for people with certain conditions that may make them ineligible for surgery under a general anesthetic. These conditions include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

If a person wishes to undergo a thread lift, they must first have a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon. During this consultation, the surgeon will evaluate the person’s facial anatomy. They will also ask what they hope to achieve through the procedure.

The surgeon will evaluate the candidate’s suitability for a thread lift.

Below are some of the benefits of choosing a thread lift over a facelift.

Less recovery time

A thread lift requires far less recovery time than a facelift. A thread lift is much less invasive and does not require heavy sedation.

During a facelift, a person receives a general anesthetic. Afterward, the person must arrange for someone to drive them home from the hospital. They may also require assistance from a caregiver for around 3 days after the surgery.

If a person has a thread lift, their recovery is often easier. A surgeon can usually perform a thread lift when the person is under a local anesthetic. This means the person can drive themself home after the procedure and does not require care afterward.

A person will often have to take 1–2 weeks off work after a full facelift to heal.

If a person has a thread lift, they may feel some soreness, redness, and swelling, but most people can return to work immediately after their procedure.

A person will also not require strong pain medication after a thread lift. This means that they can more easily return to their normal routine.

Learn more about surgical facelifts here.

No scarring

Thread lifts are low risk and noninvasive. This means that there is virtually no risk of scarring. Scarring is often a concern to people who undergo a surgical facelift.

Less chance of side effects or complications

Due to the noninvasive nature of thread lifts, a person is at low risk of complications.

The procedure does not require a general anesthetic. This means that a person having a thread lift is not at risk of developing side effects associated with a general anesthetic.

Possible side effects of general anesthetic include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • sore throat
  • postoperative delirium
  • muscle aches
  • itching
  • hypothermia

Other less common side effects of general anesthetic include:

  • nerve damage
  • hematoma, which is bleeding beneath the skin
  • headaches
  • difficulty urinating

More affordable

Thread lifts are more affordable than full facelifts. This is because they are easier to perform and do not require a general anesthetic.

There are some potential drawbacks of having a thread lift.

Not right for everyone

Thread lifts are an effective treatment and do produce visible changes. However, they will generally only lift the face by a few millimeters.

This produces a more subtle and natural-looking result than a full facelift. However, it does mean that a thread lift is not a suitable treatment for someone who has very loose skin.

Not permanent

The results of a thread lift are not permanent. A person may notice the effects wearing off after a few years.

Potential side effects

A thread lift is a relatively noninvasive procedure, but there are some possible side effects.

Possible side effects of a thread lift include:

  • bleeding at the time of the procedure, causing an accumulation of blood in the temple
  • infection of the threads
  • inflammation of the sutures
  • snapping of the threads
  • localized pain

A person’s risk of complications is low, and most are minor and easy to correct.

A thread lift is a cheaper alternative to a full facelift. Studies show that the average cost of a thread lift is approximately 40% of a surgeon’s fee for a traditional facelift.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons states that thread lifts cost between $1,500–4,500.

Factors that may affect the cost of a thread lift include:

  • the experience of the surgeon
  • the surgeon’s location
  • the scope of the procedure
  • the type of threads the surgeon uses

Most insurance carriers do not cover the cost of thread lifts. Some surgeons offer payment plans to help stagger the cost of the procedure.

Thread lifts are an effective way to improve the appearance of loose skin on the face.

One 2017 study states that the thread lift has both early and late-stage effects.

It concludes that a person’s skin appeared rejuvenated at first, but that the effect decreased during the first year. However, the study adds that people subsequently experienced a second rejuvenation effect.

Of the 100 people in the study, only five had another thread lift within 3 years of their first procedure.

A thread lift is a less invasive alternative to a facelift.

During the procedure, a cosmetic surgeon uses temporary sutures to lift up portions of the skin. This pulls the skin back slightly, which tightens the face.

Thread lifts also stimulate collagen production, which can help reduce or delay skin aging.

A person does not need a general anesthetic to have a thread lift. This makes recovery time shorter and reduces the risk of side effects associated with general anesthetic.

Thread lifts are also a cheaper alternative to facelifts and have almost no risk of scarring.

They are not permanent, and a person may notice the effects wearing off after a few years.