Lip threading is also known as a lip thread lift. This nonsurgical procedure uses small dissolvable threads to smooth out fine lines around your mouth and boost collagen production.

Unlike lip fillers that add volume to your lips, lip threading adds curve and definition, primarily to the cupid’s bow area of your upper lip.

Lip threading appeals to people who want a natural look, rather than the pouty, plump look that lip fillers provide.

This procedure is different from the minimally invasive barbed suture thread lifts that may be done around your jaw, jowls, and other areas of your face and body. It also differs from lip lift surgery, a minimally invasive procedure done to shorten the area between your nose and the top of your lip.

When done by a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist well-trained to perform this nonsurgical procedure, lip threading is considered safe.

A lip thread lift takes around 30 minutes: 15 minutes to numb the area and 15 minutes for the procedure itself. Here’s how the procedure is done:

  1. Your plastic surgeon or dermatologist will create a small puncture hole at the corner of your mouth, flush with your lip line.
  2. 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.
  3. Threads used for this procedure range in size, from that of dental floss to that of a human hair; they may also be “smooth” or “twisted.”
  4. Once inserted, the cannula or needle is gently pushed toward your cupid’s bow, where it’s typically stopped.
  5. Your doctor will then repeat this procedure on the other side of your upper lip.
  6. After each thread is placed, its end will be trimmed with a surgical scissor if there’s any excess thread beyond the insertion site.
  7. Then, the tail end of each thread will be manipulated into the hole, so that it’s not visible.
  8. This procedure may also be repeated on your lower lip: Your doctor would advance the thread to the center of your lower lip and repeat on the opposite side.

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

The look you wish to achieve and the type of thread used will determine whether you have this procedure once or several times over the course of a few months.

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

This nonsurgical procedure also stimulates collagen production around your lip area, which may reduce wrinkling in the future.

As with most cosmetic procedures, the safety of a lip thread lift will be largely determined by the expertise of your provider. For that reason, it’s imperative you use only a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist who’s experienced in lip threading.

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.

More common side effects of lip threading include:

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

Lip thread lifts add definition to your lip line area, and they can also reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth. This procedure provides a natural look, as these before-and-after pictures illustrate:

Lip threads dissolve within approximately 3 months, but the results last for a longer period of time and are comparable to that of fillers. You should continue to see more definition and height to your upper lip for around 6 months to 1 year.

Since collagen production will be stimulated from your body’s reaction to the threads, you may continue to see less wrinkling around your lips for a longer period of time.

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.

Lip threading should only be done by a qualified medical professional, such as a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist.

Always schedule a consultation prior to the procedure, where you can ask questions and assess whether the doctor is a good fit for you. Things you may wish to ask include:

  • Am I a good candidate for a lip thread lift?
  • How many times have you done this procedure?
  • What board certifications do you have?
  • Is your practice accredited?
  • What are the benefits and risks of a lip thread lift?
  • Based on the result I’m seeking, do you recommend an alternative or complementary procedure?
  • How much pain should I expect?
  • What side effects can I expect, and how long will they last?
  • How much will it cost?

You can find a professional in your area through the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.

There are several procedures available for lip enhancement that you might prefer instead of lip threading. Their effects — and the results you’re hoping to achieve — should be taken into account when you’re deciding which treatment to have.

In general, lip threading is used to define and add height to your lip line. Fillers and other alternative treatments are often done to add varying amounts of volume.


Botox injections are used primarily to minimize wrinkles and creases around your lip area. They can also create the illusion of a plumper-looking lip or raise the corners of your mouth.

Dermal fillers

Several different types of dermal fillers can be used in your lips. They include Restylane and Juvederm.

Fillers last as long as or longer than lip threading does. They give you the option of creating much fuller lips, if that’s your goal. The type of filler you use will determine how full your lips will appear afterward.

One benefit of fillers is that they can be broken down with an enzyme and removed immediately if you don’t like the way they make you look.

Some people opt to do both fillers and threading to achieve a fuller lip in addition to a more defined lip line.

Lip coloring

This procedure is also known as lip pigmentation and lip blushing. In it, a tiny needle is used to deposit pigment directly into your lips. It’s considered a form of semi-permanent makeup.

Lip coloring is a cosmetic tattoo that can improve the shape of your lip and add the illusion of fullness.

Lip lift surgery

If lip threading, fillers, and other treatments don’t give you the look you wish to achieve, a surgical procedure known as a lip lift may be more to your liking.

This permanent procedure is done under local anesthesia. It makes your lips look fuller by shortening the space between your upper lip and your nose.

Lip threading is done to add definition, rather than fullness, to your lips. It also helps eliminate fine lines and wrinkling from around your mouth.

This nonsurgical procedure provides contouring, primarily to your cupid’s bow area.

Lip threading is considered to be a safe procedure, provided that it’s done by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist.