A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review of the Incidences of Complications Following Facial Thread-Lifting

Zehao Niu, Kexue Zhang, Wende Yao, Yan Li, Weiqian Jiang, Qixu Zhang, Maria J. Troulis, Meredith August, Youbai Chen, Yan Han

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Facial thread-lifting (FTL) has gained more popularity, but the incidences of complications following FTL remain controversial. We aimed to perform a meta-analysis and systematic review to estimate the incidences of complications and to compare the short- and long-term satisfaction rates following FTL. Methods: We searched PubMed, Web of Science, Embase and Cochrane library for eligible studies. The primary outcome was the incidences of complications following FTL. The secondary outcome was the satisfaction rate immediately and 6-month after FTL. The pooled incidences of complications and 95% confidence intervals were estimated using random-effects models. Results: A total of 26 studies were included in this meta-analysis. Swelling was the most commonly reported complication with a pooled incidence of 35%, followed by skin dimpling (10%), paresthesia (6%), thread visibility/palpability (4%), infection (2%), and thread extrusion (2%). Absorbable threads were associated with a significantly lower risk of paresthesia (3.1% vs. 11.7%) and thread extrusion (1.6% vs. 7.6%) than non-absorbable threads. Patients older than 50 years had a significantly higher risk of dimpling (16% vs. 5.6%) and infection (5.9% vs. 0.7%) than their younger counterparts. In addition, the pooled long-term satisfaction rate was significantly decreased compared to it immediately after FTL (88% vs. 98%). Conclusion: Non-absorbable threads and older age of patients are associated with higher risks of complications. Therefore, we recommend a judicious use of non-absorbable threads and FLT in older patients. Furthermore, it should be discussed with patients preoperatively that the rejuvenation effect of FTL may not maintain in the long-term. Level of Evidence III: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors www.springer.com/00266.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAesthetic Plastic Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Complication
  • Facial thread-lifting
  • Long-term effect
  • Meta-analysis
  • Thread removal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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