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How Long Does a Thread Lift Take to Heal?

Thread lifts are a popular and minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgical facelifts. However, like any medical procedure, it comes with its own healing process. This typically takes around three to six months, but can be affected by how smoothly your healing progresses - some people will naturally heal more slowly, and complications can arise.

In the following guide, we outline what you can expect the healing process to involve after undergoing a thread lift procedure, and offer guidance on what to do if you are worried something has gone wrong.

What is a thread lift?

Unlike a surgical facelift, which involves making incisions to remove excess skin, a thread lift uses biodegradable threads to lift and tighten sagging skin, giving the face a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance. Being less invasive than a traditional facelift, the recovery time is often quicker, but it is not instantaneous.

During a thread lift, a qualified healthcare provider will insert fine threads under the skin using a needle. These threads, often made from materials like polydioxanone (PDO), have small cones or barbs that latch onto the tissue, allowing the skin to be lifted and repositioned. Once the threads are inserted and positioned correctly, they are tightened to achieve the desired lift. Over time, these threads dissolve naturally, leaving behind stimulated collagen production that contributes to maintaining the lift.

The importance of healing time

When contemplating any cosmetic procedure, it's easy to get wrapped up in the exciting aspects - like imagining how you'll look after the treatment. However, it's equally important to consider and understand the healing process because the time it takes to recover from a thread lift - or any cosmetic procedure - plays a critical role in the overall success and satisfaction with the treatment.

Each stage of healing may require specific aftercare measures, like avoiding certain activities or taking particular medications. Ignorance or disregard for these guidelines can delay healing and might even result in complications that could adversely affect the final outcome. Collagen production, skin elasticity, and the ultimate lift depend not just on the skill of the practitioner but also on how well your body heals post-procedure.

Understanding the timeline for healing is vital for anyone considering this treatment. Not only does it help set realistic expectations, but it also provides you with the information you need to plan your post-procedure life, from work commitments to social engagements.

The first few days

Immediately following the procedure, it’s normal to experience some level of redness, swelling or even minor bruising. These symptoms are generally a normal part of the healing process.

During the first few days, it's advisable to avoid strenuous activities and follow any guidelines provided by your healthcare provider. This helps to mitigate the risk of complications and aids in a smoother recovery.

The first week

As the initial symptoms start to subside, you may still notice some mild discomfort. Over-the-counter medication and cold compresses are often recommended for symptom relief during this stage.

While individual experiences can vary, many people find they can return to their usual activities within a week or so, albeit with some limitations on heavy exercise or other strenuous activities.

The following weeks

In the weeks following the thread lift, your body will continue to adapt to the threads, and collagen production is often stimulated, contributing to the lift's longevity. It’s generally advised to schedule a follow-up appointment a few weeks post-procedure. This allows your healthcare provider to assess your progress and make any recommendations for further care.

Over the coming months

Over the course of the following months, the final results of your thread lift will become increasingly apparent as the threads fully integrate and stimulate collagen production.

Should you feel that the results are not as you expected, or if any complications arise, adjustments may be possible. Consult with your healthcare provider for personalised advice.

Factors that can influence healing time

Throughout the healing procedure and even before your treatment, various factors can affect how quickly and well you heal from your thread lift. Here are some examples of these:

Personal health

Your overall health and age can impact how quickly you heal post-procedure. Ensure you disclose all relevant medical history to your healthcare provider, as things like allergies to dermal fillers and PDO threads or anaesthetics can have serious consequences, as can a poor diet.

Practitioner expertise

The skill and experience of the practitioner performing the thread lift can significantly affect both the outcome and the healing process. Always choose a qualified and reputable healthcare provider whom you trust to carry out your thread lift.

Pre-existing conditions

Certain health conditions could extend your healing timeline. It’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider regarding any pre-existing conditions you may have.

General tips for facilitating recovery

Facilitating a smooth and efficient recovery from a thread lift involves more than just waiting for time to pass. There are several proactive steps you can take to help your body heal effectively, minimising the risk of complications and making sure you get the best possible results. Here are some general guidelines for aiding your recovery:

Follow aftercare instructions meticulously

After the procedure, your healthcare provider will give you specific aftercare instructions. This could range from avoiding certain facial movements to applying topical ointments or taking prescribed medications. Listening to this advice and sticking to it is essential for minimising risks and encouraging a healthy healing process.

Keep all follow-up appointments

The follow-up consultations with your healthcare provider are for monitoring your healing process and making any necessary adjustments in aftercare. Don't miss these appointments as they offer the chance to address any concerns or questions you may have.

Use cold compresses for initial swelling

Swelling is a common side effect in the first few days after the procedure. A cold compress can be a simple yet effective way to reduce this swelling. However, always check with your healthcare provider before applying any compress to make sure it's appropriate for your specific situation.

Maintain hydration and nutrition

Maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of any recovery process. Proper hydration and a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can support tissue regeneration and overall well-being, potentially aiding in a quicker recovery.

Avoid strenuous activities

Avoid strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting and high-impact exercises, for a specific period post-procedure. The aim is to prevent any sudden movements that could dislodge or strain the newly inserted threads. However, short walks and fresh air can benefit you - if not directly to your healing process, to your general physical and mental health.

Be mindful of sun exposure

It's generally advisable to minimise sun exposure during the initial stages of recovery to prevent any additional skin irritation or damage. If you must go outside, using a high-factor sunscreen and wearing protective clothing like hats can be beneficial.

Don’t rush to judge results

Keep in mind that the full results of a thread lift are not immediately apparent and can take several weeks or even months to fully manifest. Patience is key, and it's essential not to rush to judgement about the efficacy of the procedure.

Keep communication open with your healthcare provider

Throughout your recovery, maintaining open communication with your healthcare provider is critical. If you experience any unexpected symptoms or have any concerns, don't hesitate to reach out for professional advice. Early intervention can often prevent minor issues from becoming major complications.

Limit alcohol and smoking

Both alcohol and smoking can impede the healing process. Limiting or avoiding these substances in the weeks following your thread lift is generally recommended.

What to do if you believe something has gone wrong

Recognising that something has gone awry during your thread lift recovery is undoubtedly stressful, but taking swift and appropriate action can limit complications and help you to achieve your desired outcome. Here are steps to consider if you suspect that something has gone wrong post-procedure.

Seek immediate medical attention

The first and most important step is to seek immediate medical advice. If you experience extreme pain, infection symptoms or other severe complications, don't wait - consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible or head to the nearest Accident & Emergency department.

Document symptoms and changes

Keep detailed records of your symptoms, including photographs if applicable. This documentation can be invaluable in diagnosing the issue and determining the most effective course of action. It also provides an important record if you need to consult with other medical professionals or pursue a legal case due to medical negligence.

Obtain a second opinion

If you are not satisfied with the assessment or recommendations provided by your original healthcare provider, don't hesitate to seek a second opinion from another qualified medical professional, such as your GP.

Consider legal advice

If you believe that medical negligence is the cause of your complications, it may be advisable to consult a law firm that specialises in medical negligence cases related to cosmetic surgery. When you get in touch with our team at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, we can guide you through the legal options available and help you understand whether you have a valid case.

Understanding what to do if you believe something has gone wrong after your thread lift can be invaluable in mitigating the impact and finding a solution. Always prioritise your health and well-being and take proactive steps to resolve the issue effectively.

For more information about how we can help, call us today on 0808 273 2903 or fill out an online contact form and we'll be in touch at a time suitable for you.

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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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