PDO Thread Lift Before, During, and After Care: 6 Things To Consider

All of us want to look younger and get rid of signs of aging.

But which skincare solution provides the best results?

Thread lifts are a popular non-surgical procedure that delivers instant results by using invisible threads to penetrate deep into the dermis layer of the skin surface and lift your skin. This treatment leaves you with youthful, vibrant glowing skin without the side effects of a surgical face lift.

However, as with any medical procedure, it is important to do your research before undergoing a thread lift. 

In this article, we outline the basics of what you need to know before getting a thread lift, including what questions to ask your doctor and post-treatment care instructions.

For a quick overview instead, our most frequently asked questions and the basics of threads can be found here.

At TheLondonFacialCare, all of our clients have an initial consultation with our surgeon, Dr.Fern, to fully understand their needs. Within this session, there will be an assessment to review your anatomy, which intervention would work best for you and what outcome you can expect.

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1.Why a PDO Thread Lift might be the right choice for you:

A Thread Lift is great for anyone who wants to improve the texture and turgor of any loose skin around the face, including the neck area. The PDO Thread Lift procedure is especially effective for patients who would like to improve frown wrinkles, smokers lines and smile lines on the cheeks. They have a 100 year history in improving facial aesthetics without the need for invasive and potentially risky surgery.

This intervention is effective for those looking to lift or tighten the skin, turning back the effects of time and restoring your natural beauty.

For more pronounced signs of aging you may be advised of complementary therapies which can help you achieve your desired results.

Dr. Fern offers PDO threads at both of her London locales, Queen’s Gate in Kensington, and Haverstock Hill.

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woman face wrinkles   after treatment

2.Things to Do Consider Before Thread Lift Treatment

Why is pre-treatment and post-recovery so important with thread lifts?

There is no question that thread lift treatment is one of the most effective anti-aging procedures currently available. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind to get the most benefit from the intervention.

As with any health treatment, allowing your body to rest and repair before and after any intervention leads to the best and longest lasting results.

Below we review some important considerations in the run up to having a facial treatment with threads:

  • Cut down on smoking and alcohol.

A week prior to treatment you must stop smoking and drinking. This will help you prepare your facial skin for surgery. You don’t have to quit smoking and drinking cold turkey; it’s fine if you do so gradually to avoid potential withdrawal symptoms.

Small amounts of alcohol, i.e. a single unit is permissible, but higher volumes than this will dry the skin.

Smoking cessation is especially important as it slows wound healing. If you do smoke, stopping both before treatment and during recovery will give you the fastest recovery and the best results.

If you are replacing your nicotine intake with gum, bear in mind that you should switch to patches on your thread lift procedure is completed. Repeated chewing actions have the potential to irritate the area of intervention and bring forth complications.

  • Be Careful with Supplements.

Before you attend your thread lift appointment, you will want to make sure to avoid eating certain foods that could interfere with the procedure.

It is recommended to avoid consuming omega fish oils, vitamin E, chili,  ginseng, garlic, krill, and other such supplements at least two days before the treatment. 

It is best to avoid anything that interferes with the body’s healing process or blood supply so avoid green and ginger teas as well before the thread lift procedure.

  • Avoid Aspirin-based products

While the complications that can lead to side effects before a surgical procedure are relatively rare, it is still preferable to be sure that your body is free from any medication which can cause bleeding prior to a thread lift surgery. 

All surgical patients need to avoid taking aspirin-based products for at least 2 weeks. These include ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), naproxen (Aleve and Naproxen), and aspirin, as well as medications that contain these active ingredients.

  • Do not engage in high-intensity exercise

Research shows that there is a small risk of damage to the threads if high-intensity exercise or extreme weather conditions are experienced after getting threads. It is also recommended to avoid high-intensity exercise and sauna or steam room for a couple of days before the procedure. Other activities such as swimming and a hot tub should also be limited, having similar effects on the face and skin.

When in recovery you should not exhaust yourself or sweat excessively as it may cause undue stress on the face, skin and body, which will compromise the results. Instead of these activities you can remain active with a walk in nature or engaging in a low-intensity activity that helps you de-stress.

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3. Threads, Usage and Areas of Threads Treatment

Mono Threads

PDO Mono threads have a long and rich history in the world of aesthetic medicine. The threads are inserted through the skin and threaded from an anchor point, lifting your skin without a surgical facelift.

This creates the initial effect of drawing looser skin towards the anchor point, leaving the patient with a firmer and well-defined appearance. Over time, the threads will dissolve as the skin undergoes collagen synthesis in reaction to their presence.

After a few weeks, this process of collagen synthesis has the secondary effect of improving any fine wrinkles which may be present within the treated area.

Although mono threads may be a single filament, usually procedures use multiple threads to achieve the desired effect. Depending on the area being treated as well as your personal anatomy and needs, it is possible to use anywhere from just a few to 20 threads or more.

Results are immediate, with some further improvement being seen over the coming 1-2 months and typically lasting 48 months. The threads themselves are dissolvable and typically are resorbed by the body after 6-8 months.

Skin Tightening vs Alternative Interventions

There are several benefits to using mono threads for tightening skin compared to other methods of tightening such as botox or fillers. Neither of these alternatives can produce such a widespread or significant effect.

Botox and fillers can be more expensive and could potentially be harmful if repeatedly ‘topped up’ in quick succession. When choosing an alternative method of tightening or lifting the face, you want something that works well, is safe, and is both affordable and not damaging in the long term.

We review the pros and cons of eye fillers here, as well as lip fillers and go in-depth on whether botox may be the right intervention for those looking for a brow lift.

Mono threads have proven to be safe and effective whilst being cheaper, less time-consuming, more natural looking, and significantly faster than a full facelift.

It is important to have these treatments carried out by a skilled clinician. However, it is equally important to be assessed by an experienced clinician to ensure you receive the right treatment for you and your skin. 

At The London Facial Care, Dr.Fern uses her unique expertise to guide clients to the procedure that is best for them and their needs. The modern, central London clinic is independently audited by the CQC (Care Quality Commission) as providing safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care.

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Face slimming

As we age, our skin begins to sag and lose its elasticity. This is due in part to a decrease in the production of collagen, which is responsible for maintaining the youthfulness and firmness of our skin. A thread lift with PDO threads can help to reverse this process by promoting the production of collagen.

While this makes us think of reducing jowling or wrinkles, it also has the complementary effect of slimming the face.

Of course the procedure does not remove any tissue or fat, but having refined features with less sagging draws a more slimline silhouette.

Reducing Wrinkles (Smoker Lines)

Smoking is a major risk factor for developing wrinkles and lines on the face. This is because smoking causes the skin to age prematurely, as well as leading to other health problems such as cancer. Aside from drying the skin with smoke, internally collagen is damaged, degrading our face’s support structure.

So how can threads combat against this?

  • Smoker’s lines are caused by the repetitive motion of pursing your lips while smoking. Both smoking and pursing of the lips (such as using a straw) is to be avoided when having thread treatment.
  • The threads used in a thread lift help to reduce the appearance of smoker’s lines by providing support to the facial muscles
  • The threads also help to promote the production of collagen, which helps to fill in the lines and wrinkles caused by smoking


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Doctor injecting PDO suture treatment threads into the face of a woman.

Barbed or Cog Threads

Barbed thread lift, sometimes called a cog or barbs thread lift, is a semi-invasive method of reducing sagging skin of the face.

A single, continuous polypropylene (polyethylene) thread with one or more barbs on each side is inserted beneath the skin along the horizontal crease of the upper cheek, beside the nose, and above the mouth. The barbs grab into the skin to anchor it to support and fill out the cheek area.

The thread lifts and supports the cheeks, as well as the chin, which helps to lift the nasolabial folds. The threads suspend skin and facial fat which helps to fill out hollowing under the lower eyelid area. The thread acts like a fishhook that gently digs into the tissue to provide support and lift. 

Below are the areas where the threads can be inserted including their benefits:

Eyebrow Lift

Eyebrows can be a significant concern for some people. If you are thinking about changing your upper facial appearance, barbed threads could be an effective method for you.

While mono threads stimulate collagen production, cog threads increase this with their barbs whilst also providing more internal grip.

There are in fact 2 types of cog or barb threads:

  1. Bi-directional threads, with no anchoring points, are inserted within a hollow needle and placed in such a manner that the thread cannot move either way because of the two-way direction of barbs fixing it nicely. Examples are the APTOS® threads
  2. Uni-directional barbed threads, which are anchored at a higher level fixation point. Examples are the Spring® and Silhouette® threads

Let us have a complete and precise assessment of your needs through Dr.Fern’s expert eye. Keep in mind that the ideal candidate for thread lifts are those with minimal signs of ageing who only need a small lift to their appearance.


Cheek Thread lift  to Reduce Nasolabial Folds and Better Jawline Definition

 Cheek threads are becoming increasingly popular as a non-surgical procedure for the reduction of nasolabial folds and overall enhancement of the jawline.

Traditionally bidirectional threads such as Aptos are the thread of choice to lift the cheeks.

The benefits associated with thread use in the cheeks are the same as for other facial areas: it works well on patients who do not want to undergo surgery or people who have had previous facial surgery and are looking to ‘top up’ their appearance. 

It is also an effective alternative solution to fillers and Botox as it doesn’t freeze the muscles, which can create unnatural facial expressions, but instead helps improve the skin tone and underlying structure.

Neck Lifts

Thread neck lifts are a minimally invasive procedure used to tighten and lift the skin on the neck. Unlike a traditional neck lift surgery, thread lifts do not require any cutting or stitching, and therefore carry a lower risk of complications.

Thread lifts use polypropylene threads to reposition the delicate soft tissue within the neck, lifting them to their original position.

This has the effect of improving the profile of your neck and jawline, providing the most noticeable effect possible from the use of threads.

Some attempt to achieve the same effect through injections in the skin to break down subcutaneous fat. However, this often can make the appearance worse, as it removes structure and bulk from the neck, increasing sagging and wrinkling in some cases.

These and other alternatives like ultrasound are very expensive and require multiple interventions, costing up to £10,000 or more.

An initial consultation with Dr.Fern explores the different types of threads available, how they may change your appearance, and of course how long any effect can be expected to last.

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4. What to Expect During The Procedure?

On the day of your procedure, Dr.Fern will talk you through the potential complications and give you advice about your recovery.

The exact procedure followed can vary based on the outcome of your initial consultation. In general, the following basic steps can be expected:

  1. As you sit in a reclined seat, your face will be disinfected with alcohol. They’ll apply a local anesthetic with a needle under your skin. Some areas may only require an anesthetic cream to be applied.
  2. Dr.Fern will make a small incision with another needle and then insert a device called a cannula into the small hole.
  3. The thread will be anchored into place and the cannula removed.
  4. The procedure will conclude by cutting the excess thread and ensuring it is secure in place.

Dr.Fern will review the outcome of the thread lift and you’ll be free to go home shortly after the procedure.

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5. Things to Consider After Thread Lift Treatment

Some considerations to keep in mind:

If you’re considering a thread lift, keep some important things in mind. A consultation with a professional clinician is a must before moving forward. This way, you can learn about the process and decide whether it will be an appropriate treatment for you. Here’s some useful information about things that should be considered post-surgery.

  1. Ice the treated area for several minutes at least once a day for about a week after the PDO thread lift. The reason for icing is to reduce inflammation, bruising, and swelling from the thread lift treatment. Ice should be applied three times per day for the next 48 hours.
  2. You should limit your facial movements. That is one of the most important steps to avoid any hyperelasticity in your skin following the treatment. You want to keep it as tight, but flexible and elastic as possible, especially in those first two weeks. Avoid use any kind of make-up these days, unless it is for a special occasion.
  3. Facial movements aren’t just internally generated. Normal skin care habits such as massage, scrubbing or exfoliating should be stopped for a period of 21 days after the treatment.

Once again, these instructions are given only to address or reduce the chance of swelling.

Other considerations include rare cases of treatment failure.

As PDO thread lifts work by inserting fibers, it’s possible for the face to bunch up along the area of insertion.

These instructions are present because the PDO thread takes some time to both dissolve under the skin and stimulate collagen production along their length. If you start moving your facial tissue too much, you could disrupt the fibers and cause them to bunch up, which might result in visible lumps in those areas.

If you experience puffiness or lumps after your treatment and it’s been less than 18 hours, a doctor can usually go back in under local anesthesia and fix the issue by gently massaging out the excess fluid and/or fibers. The likelihood of this happening is low, however, so don’t skip the twenty-four-hour resting period without talking to your doctor first.

Patients need to abstain from all activities which cause much stress or strain to their skin during this period. Although PDO thread lift is generally safe and effective, the recovery period is not trivial.  Excessive sweating, friction, and pressure should also be avoided.

The time after the initial recovery is still important to be aware of: Don’t do anything strenuous for three weeks after the treatment because this can affect the results.

You don’t want to overtax the new collagen you have grown in by lifting heavy objects or contracting your chest muscles, which is how most people will be affected (by heavy lifting as an example). Other medium to long term supportive measures include eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water to aid the healing process.

Remember these final pointers for facial treatment success:

  1. It is important to give your skin time to heal and adjust to its new appearance. Always listen to your doctor’s instructions and make sure to follow her post-procedure advice. It’s not uncommon for people to have some minor bruising, swelling, or redness. Also, the injected areas may feel a little stiffer than usual. These effects should go away in about a week or two if they appear.
  2. Sleeping on your back is the best way to prevent swelling after PDO thread lifts. While there is no harm in sleeping on your side, it is best to sleep on a supportive and firm sleeping pad (mattress) because this will lessen the strain on your face. A well-constructed pillow may also help lessen the pressure on your face. 
  3. It is highly recommended that you avoid getting any dental treatment for up to two weeks after a PDO thread lift. The body needs time to heal and PDO thread can cause swelling and bleeding if pulled on or bumped into during those first two weeks. Be sure to inform your dentist of the results of your PDO thread lift and when it was performed to ensure you get the best oral health care possible.
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