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Realistic Result of Scar from Facelift?

I'm a 54-year-old male who could use a facelift. However, I am afraid that the scars in front of the ears will become too obvious. I'm not a smoker and fair skinned. What is a realistic outcome for the scar in front of the ears?

Doctor Answers 41

Facelift Scars

Facelift scars can and should be placed so they are vitually imperceptible. With men,in particular,  it is critical to find a plastic surgeon with experience providing both men and women with natural looking results.  You should look closely at surgical scars so you know what to expect, and so you can assess the skill of your plastic surgeon. . You should also look for changes in the hairline ears, and sideburns. You want a natural looking result. A distorted hairline, or "pixie ears" can be a few things that can make surgery look obvious and unnatural.  During a consultation your plastic surgeon can discuss your goals with you and based on what you are hoping to achieve, can help you understand where surgical incisions will be placed and what scarring will look like short term and long term. 

Following surgery, many surgeons, myself included will offer complimentary V-Beam laser treatments to help speed healing and minimize scarring.  Most plastic surgeons also make  topical silicone gel treatments available to help minimize scarring. Close monitoring following surgery is imperative. If scars start start to thicken, they can be treated with steroid injection. But early treatment is key.  You don't want to wait until a scar is a problem before you begin receiving treatment. 

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

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Facelift scar can be hidden in the ear canal and almost invisible with good healing

Careful surgical technique by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon should create very well healed scars that are not conspicuos.

There is a specific technique for hiding the visible portion of the facelift scar inside the ear canal which can make the visible portion of the facelift scar almost invisible.

Excellent facelift scar in the hands of a good surgeon

The incision should be placed in little wrinkles in front of the ear for a male. The secret to having minimal to no scarring in the long run is in the technique of the surgery. When a good lift is done the deeper tissues are pulled tightly and skin just comes along with it. This way only the excess skin is excised and the incisions are closed with no tension at all, resulting in very thin lines. When the skin itself is pulled tight and sewn together, the risk of thicker, wider scars is much higher. The placement of the incision is also important so be sure to find someone that does a lot of facelifts and shows you pictures where you can see minimal to no scarring.

Good luck.

Andrew Miller, MD
Edison Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Facelift Incisions

One of the biggest concerns for patients, in particular short haired patients or men, is the appearance of the facial scar.  In men, I still perform a retrotragal incision (which is an incision behind the ear), as I find that the scar is much more difficult to see than a straight lined pretragal incision (incision in front of the ear).  The keys in a male facelift are concealing the scar, avoiding hair loss, and achieving a robust change to the face and neck.

Seek consultation from a surgeon who has experience with male facelifts.

 In the attached video, a male patient with short hair received a full facelift.

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Facelift Scarring

Both men and women are concerned about the facelift scar in front of the ear. That is why we place the incision within the ear. This is especially important in men, who rarely style their hair so it covers the ear.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Facelift scars

For a male, it is critical to have inconspicuous scars especially in front of the ears. This requires excellent artistry on the part of the surgeon, a proper choice of placing the scar entirely in front o the ear or behind the tragus (the middle portion), absolutely no tension on the skin and with all tension placed on the deper layers of the tissue. Generally the "mini" procedures place more tension on the skin and are not as good for scars as are the proper full facelifts where the tissus are undermined wider and the tension is placed deeper.

The secret to a good facelift scar

In the hands of an appropriately trained and experienced plastic surgeon, a facelift scar should fade very quickly to become almost imperceptible. The key to this is closing the wound with little or no tension (tightness) across it. 

Scarring After Facelift

The scarring from a facelift is usually surprisingly minimal, since they will be carefully placed and typically turn out to be quite flat and narrow. Your exact scars will vary depending on factors like genetics and nutrition, but you can help minimize them by not smoking, avoiding unprotected sun exposure, and carefully avoiding infection. Scar massage and corticosteroids will also help reduce scarring.  I would suggest scheduling a consultation with a board certified facial plastic surgeon to determine what options are best for you and answer any other questions you may have.

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

What Kind of Scar can be expected from a Facelift?

Facial scars after a facelift is the second most concern by most patients, especially men (fear about having a “pulled look” is number one concern). Meticulous and artistic surgical technique by an experienced facial surgeon should leave a very well healed incision lines that are not noticeable in 3 weeks. The key is an absolute tension free skin closure with all tension placed on the deeper tissue layers (SMAS). I utilized a different type of skin closure for men especially bald men that leave minimal sign of incision lines. I have performed this technique on over 200 males in my practice with good results. Post surgical laser resurfacing and laser hair removal is also recommended after facelift surgery for men.

Kevin Sadati, DO
Orange County Otolaryngologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

​Ideal incisions in Male Facelift

Men can achieve a wonderful result after a facelift, is it is performed by an experienced and talented surgeon. Hallmark of a great facelift in men is youthful and yet natural appearance. Incisions should be inconspicuous without any tell tale signs of a facelift. Unfortunately that is not achieved in some surgeons’ hands. We’ve all see the unnatural facelifts in some male celebrities – funny pull lines, visible scars, ear distortion. There are many factors to consider in placement of incisions – beard distribution, skin thickness, ear anatomy, etc. An experienced surgeon will make a thorough analysis of the face and create an individualized plan for a male facelift, as no two faces are alike. Pick an experienced and talented surgeon with excellent track record. A photo gallery of before and after photos is a good start to make sure that the surgeon can deliver the desired results.

Boris M. Ackerman, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.