Lip filler is one of the most-searched terms on the internet since many of us are exploring ways to make our lips appear bigger on a semi-permanent basis. But it looks like there might be a new lip-enhancing procedure sweeping cosmetic clinics in the form of lip threading.  So what is this trending treatment all about?

Lip threading is also referred to a lip thread lift. This non-surgical procedure uses small dissolvable threads to level out fine lines around your mouth and increase collagen production.

lip threading
Pic Credit Flawless Medical Spa Instagram

Lip threading consists of passing “threads” through the skin to accentuate the outer edge of the lips, mainly the Cupid's bow, making lips appear more defined — unlike regular fillers, which plump the area from within.

Lip threading appeals to people who want a natural look, instead than the classic ‘pouty' look that lip fillers give.

Upper lip threading method

The process takes around 30 minutes: 15 minutes to get the area numb and 15 minutes for the procedure itself. Here's how the procedure is done:

Your cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist will make a small puncture hole at the corner of your mouth, flush with your lip line. Using a cannula (a thin tube) that's prepackaged with a thin thread, your doctor will insert the thread. The thread may also be prepackaged in a needle with a point, which would remove the need to create a puncture hole at all.

Your surgeon will then repeat this procedure on the other side of your upper lip. After each thread is placed, its end will be trimmed with a surgical scissor if there's any excess thread beyond the insertion site.

If you wish to get extra height or volume, more threads could be added. This is done by placing an already threaded cannula through the original puncture site or by making extra punctures with pointed-tip needles prepackaged with threads.

The final look you hope to achieve and the sort of thread used will determine whether this is a one-off treatment or something that you will need to book extra sessions for.

Lip threading – what are the advantages?

Lip threading provides a more natural look compared to the pouty and plump effect achieved with fillers.

This non-surgical procedure also stimulates collagen production around your lip area, which may reduce wrinkling in the future.  The advantages of collagen production are disputed by quite a few aesthetic surgeons (see below).

Is lip threading truly safe?

As with most cosmetic procedures, the safety and security of a lip thread lift will be largely determined by the expertise of your service provider. Because of that, it's imperative you use only a fully qualified cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist to carry out the procedure.  This is not suitable for doing at a local ‘pop up' spa.

lip threads
Dr Esho a leading cosmetic surgeon.

The well known UK surgeon Dr Esho says in an interview, “This is a medical procedure and all medical procedures will carry risk, but within the correct, experienced medical professional's hands, this can be a safe procedure,” he says. “I pioneered something known as the ‘Cupid’s bow lift,' where small threads are used to lift and define the Cupid’s bow.”

If the procedure isn't done properly, your lips may appear lopsided. You may also see visible threads after the procedure is complete. Scarring may also result.

There are, however, 2 sides to the story.  Some cosmetic surgeons are unconvinced by the threading procedure.  According to a leading plastic surgeon, Dr. Ben Talei, lip threading is a substantial “don’t-do” procedure.  saying that lip threading is an old process that fell out of favour years ago but has been re-introduced with the advent of dissolvable threads.  As for the collagen production argument, Dr Talel says ”  Patients are forming fibrosis, which is a type of scarring where type I and type III collagen are interchanged in a very negative way. ”

More common side effects of lip threading include:.

A temporary pulling or tugging sensation while smiling, eating, or talking.
minor swelling or bruising. Also slight asymmetry due to swelling, which should subside within 2 weeks.

How much does lip threading cost?

Lip threading costs are largely determined by how many threads are used and where you live. In general, you should expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,500 for one to three lip threading sessions.

You do, however, have to consider the pros and cons of lip threading and whether it will work better for you than fillers.   This is something that you need to discuss with your surgeon since I am not qualified to give a medical opinion.