Thread Lifting

Written by: Alice Hart-Davis

Last Updated: 22 September 2023

What is a thread lift?

A thread lift is a kind of instant facelift that uses ‘threads’ – fine sutures of biodegradable material – instead of scalpels. The sutures are threaded along your face under the skin using a needle, then pulled tight to hoist saggy parts of the face back to where you would prefer they had remained.

Using a narrow-bore needle, the practitioner places the threads in the superficial fat layer beneath the skin, above the muscle and also above the fibrous layer that lies between the muscle and the fat. This fat layer, you’ll be glad to hear, is clear of nerve endings, so you shouldn’t feel any discomfort while the practitioner is placing threads in it. Scroll down for more info and all the FAQs about thread lifting.


£ 1500


30 - 60 minutes


18 months


Numbing cream


1 - 2 days

Find a Practitioner


What does a thread lift do?

A thread lift has two effects:

  • First, the threads actually lift your face. The threads have tiny barbs or cone-shaped lumps along them, so as they are pulled tight, they lift the skin tissues and anchor them into a new position.
  • Second, the threads stimulate the production of new collagen in your face. The threads take about three months to be absorbed by the body. During this time, new collagen grows to help hold the skin tissues in their lifted position.

A thread lift can be a good choice if your skin is losing its elasticity and sagging somewhat. If performed expertly, a thread lift can make your face look tighter and fresher while still looking natural.

What I think about thread lifts

Thread lift Silhouette Soft 3

How long does a thread lift last?

A thread lift lasts from 15 to 18 months on average.

You can prolong the effects by treating your skin and your body gently. If you’re highly active – for example, if you run and work out frequently – the thread lift won’t last as long as it might otherwise because your activities will put greater stress on the tissues of your face. Collagen-impairing activities such as smoking will also cut down the longevity of the thread lift.


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What are the differences between different types of threads?

Apart from being made from different materials, threads can have different designs that give different effects. Here are three examples:

  • Barbed sutures (yes, that sounds grim) are good for gathering skin and giving a greater lift. The barbs are spaced along the threads.
  • Sutures with bidirectional cones anchor the threads firmly, making retightening more effective. Like the barbs, the cones are spaced along the threads.
  • Smooth sutures are primarily used to stimulate the production of collagen.

These are important differences to remember, so download my full thread lifts factsheet here to refer back to later on.

Threadlifting 100

Thread lift Silhouette Soft 5 1

Are there any side effects to thread lifts?

After a thread lift, you will have small holes in your face from where the practitioner inserted the threads and drew them tight. You are also likely to experience the following side effects:

  • Swelling. Your face is likely to swell from the insertion of the threads and the manipulation of your flesh. The swelling should subside over the next few days.
  • Bruising. Your face may also develop bruises from the procedure. Any bruises should dissipate in a week or so.

If the thread lift is not entirely successful, the following side effects can occur:

  • Rippling of the skin. If the practitioner over-tightens the threads, the skin may be rippled rather than smooth.
  • Granulomas. Granulomas are grainy growths. They can form along the threads.
  • Threads sticking out of the skin. Barbs, cones, or the ends of threads can stick out of the skin if the practitioner doesn’t get their positioning quite right.

Thread Lifts - Before & After

FAQ ABOUT Thread Lifting

Do thread lifts work?

Yes. Thread lifts are effective, but they’re not suitable for everyone.

To find out if your face and skin are suitable for a thread lift, consult an experienced practitioner.

Is a thread lift as good as a facelift?

No. A thread lift moves the superficial tissues of the face and has a temporary effect. A surgical facelift goes deeper, and repositions the deeper layers of the face, and has a permanent effect.

What are the threads used in a thread lift made from?

The threads are made from biodegradable substances that are safe in the body, such as these:

  • Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA). This is a bioplastic that is used in dissolvable stitches, so it is well-proven to be safe.
  • Polydioxanone (PDO). This is a biodegradable synthetic polymer.

Silhouette Soft threads and NovaThreads have both received FDA approval for lifting facial tissue. Silhouette Soft uses PLLA; NovaThreads uses PDO.

Where can I get a thread lift?

You can use the Find a Practitioner tool on this website to find a practitioner who performs thread lifts.

How much does a thread lift cost?

The cost depends on how many threads are used. As an example, the cost of an average four-thread lift using Silhouette Soft threads is around £1,500.

How long does a thread lift take?

A thread lift normally takes 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how many threads the practitioner inserts.

What is it like to have a thread lift?

A thread lift starts with an initial consultation at which you discuss your goals with the practitioner. The practitioner examines your face, looking in particular at how much loose skin there is in which areas, and assesses whether a thread lift would work for you.

Assuming the practitioner finds the thread lift suitable, and you decide to proceed, a thread lift normally goes something like this:

  • The practitioner decides how many threads to use and where to place them. The practitioner draws on your face to mark where the threads and cones will go, also marking the exit points for the threads. The exit points tend to be in the eyelid closure line, the line that runs from the outer corner of your eye around toward your ear.
  • The practitioner injects a small amount of anaesthetic to numb the entry point, then uses a needle to make a hole through the skin and a ‘well’ down to the fat layer.
  • The practitioner pulls the thread to close the knots in it, then drops the thread into the well and passes the thread along under the skin to the exit point.
  • With the thread in place, the practitioner pulls it taut. Then, starting from the entry point, the practitioner works along the thread, inching the tissue over the cones until it is in the right place to achieve the lift.
  • As the practitioner works, you’ll feel the pressure as they pass the threads under your skin. You may feel some smarting, but there should be no pain as such. Hard as it may be to believe, a fair number of patients actually fall asleep while having the threads inserted.

After having a thread lift, you must treat your face gently for at least the first two weeks to give the threads time to settle down. That means not only shunning vigorous activity and impact sports but also avoiding anything that will require stretching your mouth open wide, from having a dental appointment to biting into a whole apple. You should also be scrupulous about washing your hands before touching your face – harder than it sounds – and absolutely not rub your face. Your practitioner will likely also recommend staying out of the sun and avoiding alcohol, ibuprofen, or anything that might encourage bleeding.

Remember, you can download my thread lifts factsheet to keep all these details on file.


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