After one week of facelift surgery, should the area around the stitches be red?

One week ago 65 yr. old woman, lower facelift. Stitches behind and in front of ear. I want to know if it is a part of the "NORMAL" recovery process to still have the area around the stitches (only on one side) behind my ear to still be quite red.

Doctor Answers 7

Incision lines will still be read one week after a facelift.

It may take months before the incision lines required for facelift completely fade away. Most are hidden in the hair in those that are not are generally easy covered with a bit of makeup.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Redness after Facelift

  Dear dabu, thank you for your question.Swelling after a facelift may persists from weeks to months, causing bumps or asymmetries to appear. In San Diego, we monitor our patients closely for one year to address any issues. Follow up with your surgeon to check if this is swelling versus something else and if treatment is indicated. Best of Luck.

Roy A. David, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Redness after facelift surgery

Thank you for your question. If there is some tension or snugness of the incision, there can be some redness around the stitches.  Redness can also be a sign of infection.  Always best to touch base with your surgeon and let them know what is going on.  They know you best and obviously know exactly what they did in surgery.  They will be able to help guide you.
Best of luck.

Brian C. Reuben, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Pink or red color around stitches is common after facelift surgery the first week

It is not uncommon for areas of high tension above and behind the ear to be pink or red in the first week or 2 after facelift surgery.  Of course it is important that you see her plastic surgeon for an examination and his opinion.  Other options would include infection and this must be ruled out.

At 1 week after a facelift redness can be normal ... however

Hi Dabuji,

Some patients can get very red along their incisions early after surgery.  If the incision is not being cleaned regularly with peroxide with antibiotic ointment applied multiple times during the day, the incision can get irritated and red.  If the incision has not been cleaned since the surgery, it can be crusty, irritated and red.  By cleaning of dried blood and skin can reduce the chance of infection.  The antibiotic ointment keeps the incision moist which helps the incision to heal faster.

The suture type can cause the incision to be red also.  Chromic sutures or some dissolvable sutures which surgeons do not remove a week later, can be irritating to the skin.  The fact that the sutures are dissolvable often means that the surgeon does not see the patient back to take them out.  These sutures do not always fall out a the 1 week mark and the skin start to form "track marks" on either side of the incision if they are left in too long.

Some patients who have pink ruddy skin or have red hair, often times react to incisions by forming a very red incision line.  This seems to be how these patients heal.  Over the long term, their incisions heal without redness, but it can be alarming when it is first noticed.

Hopefully it is a normal reason for the incision to be red.  Since you are 1 week after your facelift, your sutures should be coming out.  Sometimes the redness is an indication that the sutures should be removed.  A week or two after the sutures are removed the redness improves significantly.

Good luck on your facelift recovery.


Dr. Yang

George Yang, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Redness by suture lines after facelift

Yes, it is quite normal to have redness after a facelift along the suture line. This will eventually improve in them majority of patients as time goes by.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Redness around stitches

Redness can be a sign of infection.  However, some dissolvable sutures will cause some reaction by the skin as they break down.  I would definitely check with your surgeon about this.

Matthew Bridges, MD
Richmond Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 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.