What is a thread lift?

Also referred to as “lunchtime facelifts,” thread lifts are cosmetic procedures in which medical-grade threads are used to lift sagging skin and then suture it in place. This stitching is “temporary” in that the threads are slowly absorbed by the body over time.

Depending on the patient and their areas of concern, thread lifts can be done on the face as a whole, as well as on more targeted areas of the face, like (but not limited to) the:

  • Eyes to achieve a more cat-like look
  • Eyebrows to lift sagging brow lines
  • Nose to thin or straighten it
  • Neck to tighten loose skin

Beyond tightening the skin and restoring a youthful look to patients’ faces, thread lifts can also promote the production of collagen, enhancing the supple yet firm look of skin. Collagen can also keep skin hydrated and combat the signs of aging. That can mean more natural and longer-lasting results.

chicago thread lift patient model in a black tank top

Who is a good candidate for a thread lift?

Good candidates for thread lifts are patients who want to treat the signs of aging on their face and neck, like lax skin and wrinkles, and who:

  • Prefer a non-surgical alternative to a facelift
  • Are looking for more subtle, less dramatic results
  • Want to refresh the results of a facelift
  • Have certain medical conditions, like heart disease, that make facelift surgery too risky to pursue

You can find out if you are a good candidate for a thread lift by scheduling a consultation with one of our skilled nurse injectors. During this meeting, you can share more about your medical history and concerns, ask questions, and get personalized advice that can help you make an informed decision.

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What are the advantages of having a thread lift?

Thread lifts can offer patients many benefits, including (but not limited to):

  • A younger appearance: A thread lift can counteract some early signs of aging, pulling up lax, wrinkled skin to shave years off the look of the face and neck.
  • A nonsurgical option: Rather than removing excess skin, thread lifts tighten the skin, which can make them highly effective in more targeted areas.
  • Easier recoveries: When compared to facelifts, thread lifts are typically associated with less downtime and much easier, faster recoveries. In fact, while facelift recoveries can take weeks, thread lift patients can usually resume their daily activities almost immediately.

How does the thread lift procedure work?

Thread lifts work by essentially pulling up loose skin and using temporary sutures to hold it in place. Specifically, the thread lift procedure generally involves the following steps:

  • Local anesthesia is administered to promote optimal patient comfort during the procedure.
  • Tiny incisions are made, and a medical-grade thread is placed under the skin.
  • The thread is used to pull up loose, sagging skin, improving tautness and providing a younger look.
  • The skin is strategically and temporarily stitched into place, rather than being surgically removed.
  • The procedure triggers the body’s “healing response” while encouraging the body to produce more collagen.
  • Over time, the body slowly absorbs the threads. Patients can get additional threat lifts after to maintain or adjust their results.

Typically, thread lift procedures take around an hour to complete.

What are PDO threads made of?

Polydioxanone (PDO) threads are made of a colorless, biodegradable polyester that is designed to be absorbed by the body within about six months.

PDO threads are just one type of suture used in thread lifts. Others are polylactic acid (PLA) and polycaprolactone (PCA) threads. In contrast to the newer PLA and PCA threads, PDO threads have been around for decades, and they can break down in the body in about half the time of PLA and PCA threads. Additionally, PDO threads tend to be more effective at lifting skin than the alternatives.

What are the risks associated with thread lifts?

Though low risk, thread lifts are not 100% risk-free, and some patients may experience some minor complications, like bruising and bleeding, after the procedure.

Rarely, some patients experience more intense complications, like infection and visible structures under the skin. If rare complications arise, threads can be taken out, and patients can expect their faces to settle back into their previous state. To minimize the risks and potential complications of thread lifts, Dr. Horn and his team work closely with each patient at every phase of the procedure while also:

  • Providing clear, easy-to-follow aftercare instructions
  • Scheduling follow-up appointments to monitor patients and their results

Can this treatment be customized to each patient’s needs?

Yes. Thread lifts are exceptionally customizable, with different options for:

  • Targeting specific areas of the face and neck
  • The type of thread used in the procedure
  • Combining thread lifts with other procedures, like dermal filler injections

Our aesthetic nurse injectors have extensive experience tailoring thread lift procedures to individual patient needs. When you come in for your consultation for a thread lift Chicago nurse injectors at Michael Horn Plastic Surgery & Med Spa can explain the options and available alternatives.

chicago thread lift patient model in a pink silk shirt

How is the recovery after a thread lift procedure?

Thread lift recoveries are typically minimal, and:

  • Inflammation and swelling tend to last about 3 to 5 days.
  • Patients are usually able to return to work or their daily activities immediately without experiencing any downtime.

This relatively easy recovery process, when compared to facelift surgery, is one of the many reasons why thread lifts are such a popular choice, particularly when patients are looking for a more subtle refresh.

How long do the results of a thread lift last?

Generally, the results of a successful thread lift will last between 1 and 3 years, depending on patient-specific factors, the type of threads used, and the exact nature of the procedure performed. Whether results last for one or more years, patients can get:

  • Dermal fillers to promote longer-lasting thread lift results
  • Another thread lift after their initial results subside
  • Other procedures, like facelifts, if they need more dramatic results later
chicago thread lift patient model with red hair and makeup on

How soon can I see the results?

Many patients can see the results of thread lifts right away, with the skin often appearing smoother and tighter immediately after the procedure has been completed. While the results can continue to get better over the next couple of weeks, the appearance of the skin can keep improving for a couple of months after the procedure.

How long does the treatment take?

The duration of a thread lift procedure varies, according to the area(s) being treated and how extensive the threading, lifting, and sutures may be. That said, most thread lifts are completed within about 45 to 60 minutes when the procedure is administered alone.

What areas can be treated?

Thread lifts can be done on the face and neck, and patients can target specific areas of their face for treatment, including (but not limited to) the:

  • Eyebrows and eyes
  • Nose
  • Cheeks
  • Jaw
  • Neck

Additionally, thread lifts can be used to tighten lax skin in other areas of the body, like on the abdomen, arms, and legs.

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Is thread lift better than Botox?

Whether thread lifts are better than Botox depends on you, your needs, your areas of concern, and your goals in undergoing a cosmetic procedure. In general, however, patients may be better off getting:

  • Botox or other dermal fillers if they are more focused on treating fine lines or restoring a full, plump appearance to certain areas of skin
  • Thread lifts if they want to address deeper wrinkles or more extensive skin sagging while achieving more dramatic results (than available with dermal fillers)

Keep in mind that this does not necessarily have to be an either-or choice, as many patients undergo thread lifts with Botox to achieve a more youthful appearance. Our experienced nurse injectors can help you figure out whether a thread lift, Botox, or other cosmetic procedures may be good options for you after speaking with you and hearing more about your circumstances and objectives.

At what age should I get a thread lift?

Most thread lift patients are between about 30 and 50 years old, according to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). After around 55, most patients who are seeking facial cosmetic procedures tend to be better suited for facelifts rather than thread lifts.

Is a thread lift painful?

No, patients do not feel any pain during the thread lift because anesthesia is administered ahead of time to numb the treatment site(s). As the anesthesia wears off and during the short recovery period, patients may experience some discomfort. Aftercare, including the use of cold compresses and over-the-counter pain medication, can help reduce this discomfort and manage any pain that may arise.

If you are concerned about potential pain during a thread lift, be sure to bring this up during an initial consultation with one of our aesthetic nurse injectors.

Is a thread lift permanent?

No, thread lifts are not permanent.

Results tend to last about 1 to 3 years, depending on the patient, the nature of the procedure, and the type of thread used. Given that patients’ needs and concerns with aging can evolve, the more temporary nature of thread lifts, when compared to facelifts, can be advantageous, giving patients more flexibility to adjust their course of treatment as their needs and concerns change.

Should I get fillers instead of a thread lift?

This question is best answered in an initial consultation, as your needs, concerns, and goals all factor into the best options for achieving your desired outcomes.

Generally speaking, however, you may want to get:

  • Fillers for more subtle results
  • A thread lift for more significant skin tightening and lifting
  • Both fillers and a thread lift for more dramatic results

Can other body areas be treated with threads?

Yes. While thread lifts are commonly focused on the face and neck, they can also be used to treat the signs of aging in other areas of the body, including (but not limited to) the:

  • Arms and elbows
  • Chest and breasts
  • Stomach and buttocks
  • Thighs and knees
chicago thread lift patient model in a sun hat smiling

What are the alternatives to a thread lift?

Thread lifts are just one option for tightening, smoothing, and lifting the skin. Depending on the area of the body to be treated, alternatives can include (and are not limited to):

Each of these options can have very different results, especially when considering patient-specific factors. Consequently, it’s prudent to review all of the options with a provider that is well-trained and experienced in these procedures.

Can a thread lift be combined with other non-surgical treatments to enhance results?

Yes. Many patients combine thread lifts with dermal fillers and other nonsurgical treatments to refine and enhance their results. While this combination may not be ideal for every patient, thread lifts can be customized to fit individual needs, and these procedures can be folded into others, like mommy makeovers.

If you are considering a thread lift and want to know more about your options for combining that procedure with others, simply reach out to the staff our Chicago med spa for answers.

chicago thread lift patient model smiling broadly

Can the threads be removed after they are placed?

Yes. Threads can be removed and adjusted after they have been placed. Please be aware, however, that:

  • Most patients do not need to have their threads removed. Instead, the threads are usually absorbed by the body instead of removed.
  • Thread removal generally only occurs in the event of a rare complication, like an infection.
  • We schedule follow-up appointments with all thread lift patients to assess the potential need for removal and promote optimal results.
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How much does a thread lift cost?

Thread lifts generally cost between $800 and $2,500, with the price depending on various factors, including (but not limited to):

  • How extensive the procedure is
  • How experienced the cosmetic surgeon is
  • The location of the treatment provider

Even on the higher end of the scale, the cost of thread lifts is only a fraction of the cost of facelifts. In fact, according to the latest information from the ASPS, the average facelift costs about four times as much as the average thread lift procedure. To get specific pricing on a thread lift and to find out if this procedure is right for you, schedule a consultation with one of our nurse injectors today.