Thread lifts: Everything you need to know about the 'lunchtime facelift'

Dr A Bolin

Thinking about at quick ‘lift’. Dr A. Bolin looks at Thread Lifts: “lunchtime facelift” and the benefits, risks and potential complications you should consider.

Fancy having a “lunchtime facelift” to achieve a more youthful appearance? Also known as a ‘thread lift,’ ‘silhouette lift,’ ‘PDO lift’, ‘contour lift’ or ‘feather lift’, this is a less invasive option for a full face lift than surgery. It doesn’t cost as much and has no down time, but that doesn’t mean it’s risk or complication free, and it’s important to consider those factors when choosing the best procedure for your skin’s needs.

How and where the lift works.

It is an expedient lift for face, stomach, arms and thighs with needle and fine dissovable, surgical thread. There are several variations of the threads – some contain little spoke-like cones while some have tiny barbs or hooks. The facial tissue is pulled by these spokes or hooks, which then lift and support sagging areas.

The procedure itself normally takes about an hour. There may be some swelling and bruising but most people return to normal activities the following day – some may take a couple of days to fully recover. In comparison, full face lift (where incisions are made to re-position skin and underlying tissues) takes around 3-5 hours for the procedure and 2-4 weeks to recover. The thread lift or ‘feather lift’ costs approximately £1500 for one area, whereas a proper face lift could cost you a few thousand to £10,000.

Some people are pleased with the subtle results, whereas others find that they didn’t have enough lift that they hoped for.

How much sag can it lift?

There is a limit to what this procedure can do. It works best for minor sagging but is not a major face lift.

The lift that can be achieved really depends on your skin laxity, thickness and amount of sag. The targeted audience is men or women aged 35 to 60, and it can be effective on most areas of the face, especially the forehead, eyes, marionette lines (the lines that run from either side of the mouth to the chin), the chin, as well as the arms, stomach and thighs.

But it can not work miracles. If there is major sagging, it will not give a significant lift.


What you should know about thread options.

Although there is quite a buzz at present in the media about this procedures, the technique is not new.  Since the 1980’s research was conducted on the insertion of fine threads into the skin in order to lift, tighten, and stimulate new collagen production. Aptos (short for Anti-Ptosis = no drooping) is one thread example that was developed. There are many options for threads these days inlcuding dissolving or non-permanent threads, permanent threads, as well as lifting and stimulating options.

Lifting threads have cones or little hooks to pull up skin and stimulate new collagen production. Stimulating threads are smooth and do not have barbs.  They encourage increased repair of the area and new collagen deposition into a meshwork, resulting in a more voluminous appearance.


Risks are increased with loose, thin skin.

If you have loose skin that is very fragile, this procedure might not be a good match for you. The threads can be sometimes be seen under the skin.  Also, if the skin is not very thick, it tends to bunch up more and can have an uneven, rippled appearance which may defeat the purpose of the procedure.


Potential complications

As with any surgical procedure there may be:

  • Discomfort from the anchoring of the threads
  • Discomfort (temporary) when you move your face or try to smile or laugh
  • Infection
  • Bleeding and bruising
  • Rejection – The thread is a foreign body and might even be rejected by certain people, or it may make start to protrude out of the skin.
  • Rippling – The threads may bunch up and cause the surface of the skin to appear rippled.
  • Numbness – The threads may press on nerves which can lead to numbness.
  • Scar tissue or keloid formation, making the area more difficult for a plastic surgeon to mobilise and work with in future procedures.


Choosing your specialist and procedure.

If you decide to have a thread lift or a face lift, it is important to be aware of potential complications.

It is also vital to ensure that your specialist is fully qualified.  Check that they are registered with the General Medical Council, and  CQC  and that they have undertaken appropriate training in performing the procedure. And don’t be afraid to ask how many they have performed and what they’ll do if something does go wrong.

Certain organisations such as Save Face  have accreditation programs for practitioners as well, so it’s worth checking their site as well. All the practitioners on Harley Street Emporium are qualified and GMC registered.

It is also important to have realistic expectations and an open discussion with your doctor when deciding which procedure is the best match for you.


Harley Street Emporium Doctors who perform thread lifts include:



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