Here’s The DL On Thread Lifts, According To Skin Pros Who Perform Them

Cosmetic Treatments

DL-Thread-LiftSource: Nitat Termmee | Getty Images

The aesthetics industry is absolutely booming, and non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments are particularly sought after. Think neuromodulators like Botox or Dysport that smooth away wrinkles with a simple injection or hyaluronic acid fillers that create a fuller pout or more defined cheek.

Thread lifts have been around for several decades, but this outpatient procedure has risen in popularity over the last few years. We’re not surprised – it can lift and define in no time at all, and it’s not nearly as expensive or invasive as a traditional facelift. If you’ve been curious about what thread lifts are, how they work, and what sort of price tag you’re looking at, keep reading.

What is a Thread Lift?

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In a nutshell, thread lifts are an in-office aesthetic procedure where thin, dissolvable threads are strategically placed to create a lifted look.

“Popularized in Asia and especially in South Korea, thread lifts are a clinical K-beauty innovation,” says Dr. Eunice Park, a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon based in New York City. “[The] medical-grade sutures suspend soft tissue, providing the effect of pulling the skin back slightly to contour the face.”

She says it’s in the same category as filler and Botox, as it’s a temporary procedure that contours, enhances, and rejuvenates your face.

How Much Do Thread Lifts Cost?

The cost of a thread lift ultimately depends on who’s performing the procedure, how many threads are being placed, and where they’re being placed. The average price is about $2000 according to RealSelf, though the experts we spoke to said you may pay anywhere between $1500 and $5,000. 

Which Areas Do Thread Lifts Treat?

Most commonly, threads are placed in the face, including the forehead, cheeks, jowls, jawline, neck, and eyebrows. That said, the treatment isn’t only reserved for the neck up! “Thread lifts can be used in the abdomen to help support skin that has lost its elasticity and begins to sag from age, genetics, lifestyle factors, or weight loss,” says Vanessa Coppola, a board-certified nurse practitioner, aesthetic specialist, and owner of Bare Aesthetic Medical Spa. They’re also used in knees and buttocks for a quick lift. Multiple areas can be treated at once.

Who’s a Good Candidate for Thread Lifts?

Dr. Park says that the best patient is someone with only mild drooping, which is often someone in their 30s to 50s. “On the other hand,” she notes, “Patients who have significant skin laxity are not the ideal candidate.” If you do have significant drooping, then a more advanced procedure, such as a facelift – or targeted surgery such as eye lift, lower facelift, or neck lift – will give you better results.

What is a Thread Lift Procedure Like?

Before your appointment, you’ll get numbed up with a topical cream and local anesthesia. It usually takes about 45 minutes for those products to work.


“The area is then cleansed with an antimicrobial wipe and draped,” explains Coppola. “The threads, which are PDO (collagen-stimulating polydioxanone)-coated sutures, are inserted via a thin tube-like device called a cannula.”

Once inserted, the cannulas are removed, and the threads are pulled taut in a specific pattern to lift the desired areas. Finally, they’re trimmed, and the remaining ends of the suture are secured under the skin. When possible, the entry points are hidden in places like the hairline for a more discrete recovery.

“Swelling and bruising is normal, but typically diminishes within a few days,” notes Dr. Park. “Many patients experience no downtime, other than some mild tenderness.”

How Long Do the Results Last?

You can expect your thread lift results to last about one year, with some improvement in collagen and elasticity noted at around two years post-treatment. Results are immediate, and they can be quite dramatic at first. In about one to two weeks, they’ll start to relax and fall into place for a subtly enhanced, youthful look.

“Over a few months, the threads will dissolve,” says Coppola. “The goal is that the threads and the PDO coating will stimulate collagen production to maintain the integrity and rejuvenation to the skin after the threads have dissolved.”

Are Thread Lifts a Botox Replacement?

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Both Dr. Park and Coppola agree that thread lifts don’t replace neuromodulators like Botox. However, the two do pair nicely together if you’re looking for more dramatic results.

They also don’t replace a facelift, which is a better option for someone with significant skin laxity seeking a dramatic improvement. If you’re not sure what aesthetic treatment is best for you, schedule consultations with a certified, reputable expert who specializes in facial enhancements.

Can Thread Lifts Go Wrong?

Thread lifts are just like any other aesthetic procedure in that they come with inherent risks. Though very rare when performed by a skilled professional, some complications include an infection at the site of insertion, dimpling, asymmetry, and protruding threads.

Also, though not considered a complication, one of the most common side effects of a thread lift that surprises people is lots of swelling after the treatment. “Thread lifts, just like dermal fillers can be used to highlight and contour the face. Both of these procedures can cause significant swelling and distortion of facial features if not performed judiciously,” notes Dr. Park. “I usually counsel each patient that it may take up to two weeks after a thread lift for swelling to subside.”

It can take even longer for the swelling to subside if your practitioner placed more threads in one setting than what’s ideal for your face. Increased swelling can also occur if the threads aren’t placed well. Dr. Park says, “Despite the videos we see on social media of hundreds of threads inserted into the face and/or body, threads are best placed sparingly and judiciously by a skilled aesthetic practitioner.”

At the end of the day, good judgment, plenty of experience, and an artistic eye are key to any aesthetic procedure. To that end, we cannot stress enough the importance of always going to a certified professional. Even though thread lifts are very popular and performed by many, it’s very important to be discerning about who you see. This will ensure a hygienic experience, proper and strategic placement, and naturally lifted results.

Would you try this? Let us know in the comments!