Potential Feather Lift Complications

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Despite the somewhat timid nature of feather lifts compared to other types of cosmetic surgery, there are still potential complications that may make it just as undesirable as a more invasive procedure. After the feather lift, many people report minor side effects such as swelling and bruising. Such outcomes are extremely common and tend to clear up after a few days. However, there are a number of more serious complications, which although relatively rare, are still worth considering before committing yourself to undergoing a feather lift.

Anaesthetic Allergic Reaction

One rather serious complication can be considered an issue for all surgical procedures and is the possibility of having an allergic reaction to the local anaesthetic. It is likely that you will be aware of this allergy if you have had previous experience with the anaesthetic, however this is not always the case. Allergic reactions to anaesthesia can vary greatly in severity and so if you have any doubts that you may be allergic, it is probably a good idea to look for an alternative solution.


The human body is extremely good at identifying when there is something in it that does not belong and can respond accordingly. In regards to a feather lift, the body can sometimes recognise the threads used as being foreign objects. It reacts by rejecting the material in question so it will leave the body through the skin’s surface. To have a successful result from a feather lift, it is vital that the threads are not recognised by the body as foreign therefore they must be thoroughly sterilised prior to insertion and the needle being used for positions must be also.

The general rule of how the body will function in terms of rejection (or extrusion) is that it is less likely to occur the deeper the foreign object lies. This makes it extremely important to have the threads perfectly positioned, which will require a skilled, experienced surgeon. But despite however experienced you surgeon is, the depth available for thread positioning is extremely limited and so often there are rather close to the surface. This makes a feather lift rather susceptible to extrusion and the threads may have to be reinserted by your surgeon in the future.


Infection is a potential issue with anything that penetrates the skin and leaves it vulnerable to bacteria. Therefore, sterility is key during feather lift surgery. It is extremely vital that the threads and needles being used are completely disinfected prior to use. The skin should also be thoroughly cleaned to eliminate as much surface bacteria as possible to try and prevent infection. If you do suffer from an infection, you should contact your surgeon as soon as possible and if they are unavailable, visit your local doctor or hospital for further advice.

Facial denting

Occasionally, a patient may develop small visible dents on their face after a feather lift procedure. This is generally because one of the barbs on the thread catches more on a localised point in the tissue. This means that the skin is hooked tighter to that specific point and a puckering effect appears. Your surgeon massaging the area affected can sometimes reverse this, however you should not try this yourself. An alternative solution would be to have a corrective procedure.

Lack of facial lifting

There have been some cases of feather lifts being unsuccessful as the threads fail to hold the skin in position and so the face may fall. This may be due to a variety of reasons from a lack of fat under the skin to an inexperienced surgeon. This complication may be remedied by a subsequent feather lift procedure, however this is very dependent on the reasons behind the failure of the threads.

Nerve damage

Nerve damage is quite possibly the most dreaded complication that may arise from a feather lift procedure. It is the most debilitating and irreversible although it is somewhat rare. If, during the feather lift procedure, the surgeon damages a nerve branch it can consequently lead to facial paralysis or sagging. This has an effect on the ability to display emotion, raise your eyebrows, smile and even shut your eyes.

Luckily, this complication has been recognised by most surgeons and they have perfected their techniques to try and avoid it. However, if you have the procedure performed by an inexperienced surgeon, they may not be aware of this potential issue and may damage the nerves. This is particularly a problem in feather lifts, as the surgeon cannot see beneath the skin where they are inserting the threads. This can lead to incorrect positioning and hitting nerves.

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