8 Possible Complications of Thread Lift and How to Manage Them

June 12, 2019

In recent years, thread lift procedures have steadily gained popularity amongst practitioners and patients alike - becoming one of the most highly sought-after non-surgical procedures due to it being low risk and minimally-invasive. However, as with any aesthetic and cosmetic procedures, low risk does not mean no risk.

 

Advantage of Thread Lift

 

 

It is common knowledge that thread lift has gained significant prominence in the medical field since its introduction due its superior lifting effects as well as its ability to boost and stimulate collagen synthesis and production while the threads gradually dissolve under the skin over time. From little to no down time, immediate and more natural results (as compared to fillers) there are many factors that make thread lift an attractive option for those seeking non-surgical procedures.

 

8 Possible Complications of Thread Lift

 

Thread lift procedures are known, and have been proven, to be extremely safe. Despite so, complications and risks are ever present; just like in any medical procedure.

 

 

The Top 8 Complications are:

 

1. Discomfort and Pain: One of the top most common complaints and reported “complications” is discomfort and pain. While minimally-invasive, thread lift procedures are not entirely pain-free.

 

2. Bruising, Swelling and Soreness: Although it is one of the most minimally-invasive procedures there are the market today, patients do some times experience post-procedural bruising, swelling and soreness. If not the most commonly reported complication, it is still one of the top. Nonetheless, most reviews and studies have chose not to define discomfort, pain, bruising, swelling and soreness as complications.

 

3. Patient Dissatisfaction: Similar to the classification of discomfort, pain, bruising, swelling and soreness, some studies do not define patient dissatisfaction as a complication, as this is often attributed to the discrepancy between patients’ expectations and actual results. 

 

4. Hematoma: In rare cases, patients may develop hepatoma when a performing practitioner accidentally injure/damage the wall of a blood vessel causing blood to seep out into the surrounding area during the procedure. In extremely rare cases, permanent immobility can occur if a deep facial nerve is damaged during the procedure. Hematoma and permanent immobility cases are rare and far between, but not impossible.

 

5. Infection: Another possible complication that may arise from the performing of a thread lift procedure is infection. Despite it being uncommon, infection associated to the procedure can occur.

 

6. Facial Asymmetry: Facial asymmetry is another possible complication that can arise from the performing of thread lift. Facial asymmetry can be caused by various factors such as the use of anaesthetic, inherent facial asymmetry, and/or inadequate lift in one side.

 

7. Protrusion, Extrusion and Migration of Threads: Protrusion, extrusion and migration of threads, if any, are often than not due to thread barbs being weak or when an inserted thread overlays an area of aggressive animation.

 

8. Dimpling & Irregularities: Dimpling and irregularities can occur in a patient, post-procedure. One of the most common areas of occurrence is in the subcutaneous tissue of a “sunken cheek” and/or in the oral angle areas where there might be excessive facial expressions/movements.

 

 

Managing the 8 Possible Complications

 

In any procedure, complications can occur. Therefore, it is important for a practitioner to be equipped with the right techniques, skills, knowledge and ability to manage them should they occur.

 

 

1. Discomfort and Pain: As with any aesthetic and cosmetic procedure, minimal discomfort and pain is to be expected. This can be minimised and managed by applying/administering local anaesthesia, if required.

 

2. Bruising, Swelling and Soreness: While often not defined as a complication, bruising, swelling and soreness associated with thread lift usually subside over a period of 1 to 2 weeks as the threads eventually dissolve under the skin. A practitioner should recommend patients to ice the affected area and avoid the following, post-procedure; excessive facial movements, sleeping on the face, shaving, using harsh cleansers, strenuous exercise as well as massaging or rubbing the affected area.

 

3. Patient Dissatisfaction: Patient dissatisfaction is often not considered as a complication. Yet, it is equally important, if not more so, that patients walk away satisfied. Managing patient satisfaction is crucial and it begins from the minute a patient walks in. It is essential for a practitioner to set realistic expectations with the patient during consultation, help them understand the limits of thread lift and, always under promise, over deliver.

 

4. Hematoma: Should, in rare cases, hepatoma occur in patients, it is recommended to prescribe 20mg of Kenalog on the same day.

 

5. Infection: The recommended procedure to address infections that may occur is a prescription of Kelfex (or any antibiotics) over a period of 5 days. 

 

6. Facial Asymmetry: As facial asymmetry can be caused by various factors such as the use of anaesthetic, inherent facial asymmetry and/or inadequate lift in one side, it is therefore, important to administer the correct amount of anaesthetic pre-procedure. If it does occur post-procedure, assure the patient that the effect is only temporary. Just as equally important, a practitioner should always go through a thorough consultation session with the patient so as to highlight any inherent facial asymmetry to the patient as well as manage expectations pre-procedure. Lastly, should the lift be inadequate for whatever reason, it is the onus of the practitioner to have it rectified as soon as possible.

 

7. Protrusion, Extrusion and Migration of Threads: Protrusion, extrusion and migration of threads can be addressed by injecting fillers such as hayluronic acid (HA) in the superficial layer where the suture can be seen. Removal of threads is rarely necessary, but is an option. 

 

8. Dimpling & Irregularities: Dimpling and irregularities management is perhaps the most complicated. Therefore, it is more important to prevent than to correct. To prevent dimpling and irregularities, ensure that dimpling is removed during the procedure and before cutting the threads. Inserting the threads into a slightly deeper layer can also be considered. In some cases, HA fillers or additional thread may be required. For extremely rare and severe cases, consider removing the threads.

 

Despite all the above possible complications that can result from thread lift, the general consensus is that thread lift procedure is one of the most advanced, minimally-invasive and safest non-surgical procedures. By understanding the cause, effects and right procedures to manage the different possible complications, a practitioner can safely deliver the best results in patients.

 

Hope you have enjoyed the article! Stay tuned for our future posts on more techniques and information related to our advanced aesthetic and cosmetic training courses! 

 

 

 

 

Resources:

https://e-aaps.org/upload/pdf/aaps-23-11.pdf

​​Understand more about the 8 Possible Complications of Thread Lift and Learn How to Manage Them at our ever-popular Hands-On Aesthetic Training Course happening in Vancouver, Canada

 

 

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