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Can Thread Lifts Go Wrong?

In recent years, thread lifts have gained considerable popularity as a relatively  non-invasive procedure when compared to traditional facelifts. Marketed as the go-to solution for age-defying results without going under the knife, they've caught the attention of many. But like any medical procedure, thread lifts come with their own set of risks and complications.

In the following guide, we outline the potential risks of thread lifts and offer guidance on what you may be able to do in the event of something going wrong.

What are thread lifts?

A thread lift is a cosmetic procedure designed to lift and tighten sagging skin on the face and neck. Unlike traditional facelifts that require surgical incisions, thread lifts use biodegradable threads inserted under the skin to lift the tissue. The threads eventually dissolve, but the results can last up to two years, making them an attractive option for those who want to try something temporary. 

Despite thread lift procedures being less invasive, they still require a trained medical professional, meaning typical aestheticians are not qualified to offer the service. Instead, thread lifts are commonly carried out by cosmetic surgeons, dermatologists or nurse practitioners who are trained in this specific technique.

The process of thread lifts

As with any cosmetic procedure, the process should start with a consultation, during which the cosmetic surgeon assesses the suitability of the candidate for the procedure. They will discuss your cosmetic goals, medical history and any concerns you may have, and consider whether a thread lift is the most suitable option for you or if other treatments may be more appropriate.

After the consultation, there may be a few preliminary steps to take before the actual procedure. These can include:

  • Blood tests to rule out any potential complications
  • Discontinuing certain medications or supplements that might interfere with the procedure or recovery
  • Instructions on cleaning the skin properly before the treatment

On the day of the treatment, local anaesthesia is applied to the targeted area. Threads are then inserted using a needle or cannula, and once in place, they're pulled to achieve the desired lift. The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour, and recovery time is minimal.

You will usually be monitored for a short period post-procedure to ensure there are no immediate complications. Ice packs may be applied to minimise swelling, and you'll be given specific aftercare instructions to follow at home.

Most patients will resume normal activities within a few days. However, strenuous exercise and certain facial movements may be restricted for a couple of weeks. A follow-up appointment is typically scheduled within a week or two to assess the results and ensure that the healing process is progressing as expected.

Common side effects

Most people experience some common side effects post-procedure, which may include:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Minor discomfort
  • Redness at the insertion site

These side effects are usually temporary and resolve on their own within a few days to a week.

When thread lifts go wrong

Despite their minimally invasive nature, thread lifts can go wrong. Here are some complications to be aware of:

  • Infection: even with the best of care, there's a risk of infection. Symptoms may include increased redness, pus, or extreme pain at the insertion site.
  • Nerve damage: though rare, nerve damage can occur, leading to facial numbness or even muscle weakness.
  • Thread malposition: improper placement of threads can result in an uneven appearance or even the thread becoming visible or palpable under the skin.
  • Allergic reactions: while the threads used are generally hypoallergenic, allergic reactions can occur, leading to complications such as skin irritation or more severe issues.

One of the leading causes of complications is the lack of proper training or expertise by the practitioner performing the procedure. In a field where precision is key, the skills and training of the medical professional are of the utmost importance.

Proper aftercare is essential for the success of a thread lift. Failing to follow the practitioner's instructions can result in complications like swelling, bruising, and, in the worst cases, the shifting of threads that then need to be repositioned.

What to do if your thread lift goes wrong

Medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care, meaning they are obligated to provide treatments that meet the standard practices in the industry. If they fail to do this and it leads to thread lift complications, this can be considered medical negligence, and you may be able to take legal action to recover compensation from them. Negligence can range from improper consultation and lack of informed consent to faulty application of the threads themselves.

Should you experience complications following your thread lift, the first step you should take is to seek immediate medical attention to address any immediate health concerns. When doing this, make sure to speak to a medical professional independent of the one who carried out your thread lift, such as your GP.

After stabilising your medical condition, consider seeking the advice of a solicitor specialised in cosmetic surgery medical negligence. They can guide you through the process and advise you on the viability of your case.
Claiming compensation is an important step for a number of reasons - beyond financial recompense, it can pave the way to your recovery, facilitating corrective procedures and funding for support or any lost wages due to being unable to work.

At Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, we have helped many people claim for negligent cosmetic procedures, including those who have suffered due to thread lifts. To learn more about how we can help you, call us today on 0808 189 7703, or fill out an online contact form and we will return your call at a time suitable for you.

Remember - even if you are seeking non-surgical procedures - do your research and avoid cutting corners. Make sure you go with a professional who you trust and feel comfortable with.

Contact us today

If you have experienced problems following eyelid surgery and think they are the result of negligence, you may be entitled to make an eyelid surgery claim for compensation. Talk to our expert cosmetic surgery negligence team today. Call 0808 273 2903 or request a callback by completing the contact form.

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Mike Saul


Michael Saul is a partner at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, where he brings his extensive specialist legal expertise and passion for helping people to the forefront of his work. With a proven track record of success in cosmetic surgery negligence cases, Michael has dedicated his career to providing clients with the highest level of representation and achieving favourable outcomes.

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