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Signs of a Botched Thread Lift Gone Wrong

Thread lifts are a popular non-surgical alternative to traditional facelifts, offering less time spent recovering and fewer risks - at least in theory. However, like any medical procedure, thread lifts are not without their pitfalls. Before you decide to undergo the procedure, you should know what to look out for in case something goes wrong. 

In the following guide, we provide advice to help you recognise the signs that your thread lift may have gone wrong, and outline what you may be able to do if you find yourself in this situation.

What is the correct procedure for a thread lift?

When done correctly, a thread lift can offer a less invasive alternative to traditional surgical facelifts, providing natural and long-lasting results. Understanding what the correct procedure entails can help you set realistic expectations and better identify if something has gone wrong. Below is an overview of how a thread lift should typically be conducted:

Initial consultation

Your journey should begin with an in-depth consultation with a qualified medical practitioner. During this session, your cosmetic goals, medical history and any concerns you may have about the procedure should be discussed. Your suitability for a thread lift will be assessed, and possibly, photos may be taken for before-and-after comparisons.

Pre-procedure preparations

Following the consultation, you may undergo some preparatory steps, such as blood tests and skin evaluations. You may also be advised to discontinue certain medications or supplements that could interfere with the procedure or recovery.

The procedure itself

On the day of the thread lift, the targeted area should be cleaned and sterilised properly. Local anaesthesia is generally applied to minimise any discomfort. Your practitioner will then mark the areas for thread insertion as a guide.

Using a fine needle or cannula, biodegradable threads are carefully inserted under the skin. These threads often have small cones or barbs that help in lifting and securing the skin in its new position. The skill of your practitioner plays a significant role here, as the threads must be placed precisely to avoid complications and deliver the desired results.

Once the threads are inserted, your practitioner will make any necessary adjustments to ensure the results look natural. This is a critical step to prevent an overdone or asymmetrical appearance.

Post-procedure care

Immediately following the procedure, you may be monitored for a short period to ensure there are no complications. You'll usually be given specific aftercare instructions, including how to minimise swelling and when you can resume normal activities.


A follow-up appointment should typically be scheduled within one or two weeks of the procedure. This is an essential step to assess the initial results and ensure that you are healing properly.

What could go wrong?

Thread lift procedures are generally considered safe and less invasive than traditional surgical facelifts, but as with any cosmetic procedure, they are not entirely devoid of risks. Many factors can contribute to these, and being aware of these potential pitfalls can better prepare you for the procedure and help you take immediate action should anything go wrong. Here are some signs to watch for:

  • Unnatural appearance: if you notice visible threads under your skin, lumpiness or asymmetrical results, these are red flags. A successful thread lift should leave you looking refreshed, not like you've had obvious work done.
  • Excessive pain or discomfort: while some degree of discomfort is normal after a thread lift, excessive or enduring pain is not. Severe pain may indicate that the threads have been incorrectly placed or that an infection is developing.
  • Infection: swelling and redness are common after a thread lift, but if these symptoms persist or worsen, they may be signs of an infection. Other indicators include warmth at the site, pus or an unpleasant odour.
  • Allergic reactions: itching, rashes, or even more severe systemic allergic reactions can occur, although they are relatively rare. Any sudden or severe symptoms should be addressed immediately.
  • Nerve damage: symptoms like numbness, tingling or muscle weakness could indicate nerve damage and should not be ignored. Consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation.
  • Mobility issues: if you're experiencing limitations in facial expressions or movement after your thread lift, this could be a sign that the threads have been improperly placed, affecting your muscles or nerves.

Medical implications

A botched thread lift isn't just a cosmetic concern; it can have serious medical implications. Infections can escalate, affecting overall health, and nerve damage could potentially be permanent if not addressed promptly.

When to seek legal advice

If your thread lift has gone wrong due to what you suspect is medical negligence, you may have grounds for a legal case. Medical negligence in the realm of cosmetic procedures involves a breach of the duty of care owed to you by your medical practitioner. Beyond securing finances, making a claim for compensation can help you to facilitate corrective procedures, care and any lost wages you have incurred or require.

First and foremost, consult another healthcare provider for an objective second opinion and to address any immediate medical concerns. Once your condition is stable, consider seeking legal advice. Specialist solicitors in cosmetic surgery negligence can guide you through the process and help you understand your rights and options.

In the unfortunate event of medical negligence, start collecting evidence as soon as possible. This can include medical records, photographs of the affected areas and any correspondence with your medical provider.

Contact us

Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors regularly helps people to handle compensation claims related to a wide range of cosmetic negligence cases, including those relating to minimally invasive procedures such as threat lifts. We can guide you through the entire process, from the initial consultation to representation in court in the rare case that it becomes necessary.

For more information, simply call us today. We can carry out a free consultation over the phone and help you to understand your options. Contact us on 0808 189 7703, or fill out an online contact form and we'll be in touch at a time suitable for you.

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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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