is this normal scarring following a face lift/neck lift? (photos)

I had a horrendous facelift/necklift which resulted in many complications following the surgery so I am beginning to wonder if I was in good hands. I didn't even think that I needed a neck lift but was reluctantly convinced. Are these scars normal for a faceleft/necklift? One scar is on the hairline (left ear) whereas the scar on the other side is more than a half inch below the hairline which means that it will be visible when I wear my hair up. It has been 8 weeks since the surgery.

Doctor Answers 20

Facelift scaring

Incision lines after face and neck lift surgery will take about 6-9 months to mature. You are in early stages of healing. It seems you're healing well. There are silicone gels and laser treatments that can improve incision lines less visible. 

Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 208 reviews

Scar Management

Best Scar Management is important to minimize or completely hide from view, the telltale signs of your surgery—namely, scars. Both you and your surgeon want you to have the most minimal scarring possible. There are many possible causes for scars that are enlarged or not healing well. Unsightly scars are most commonly due to genetics, underlying medical conditions, or improper scar/wound care. The last part is very important and patients can make a noticeable difference in their scars’ appearance by following best scar management practices. Here are some simple tips.

Scar Management tips:

  1. Minimize tension on the scar. Steri-Strips and/or surgical tape are often placed in non-hair bearing areas at the time of surgery to minimize tension and keep pressure over the scar.  This minimizes the  stress that  can pull the scar apart (dehiscence) creating a wound and  delaying healing time, and can make the scar wider, or more “ropy”. In the first few weeks after surgery, I recommend the use of Embrace Scar Therapy which is an adherent silicone sheeting pre-stretched when applied so as to offload tension on the scar.
  2. Keep your incision site/scar clean to prevent infection. Follow your surgeon’s wound care instructions to the letter with out modification. Never apply different products then recommended without first discussing them with your surgeon. This is especially important during the first few weeks. If there are any signs of infection, contact your surgeon’s office right away and/or see your doctor or his nurse immediately. Typical signs of infection may include redness outside the immediate incision site, asymmetric swelling, and drainage, of pus, fever, chills, and “feeling sick”.
  3. Protect your scars from the sun. Staying out of the sun is the best advice. Minimal exposure to sunlight is prevents hyperpigmentation (permanently turning brown) and other problems that can make the scar more noticeable. Sunscreen, at least 30 SPF and an overlying make camouflage make up additionally protects the scar from the suns harmful rays. This advice is especially important the first year following your surgery.
  4. Use specific scar maturation products recommended by your surgeon. Patients seem to have their own opinions on this touting everything from Pure Vit E, Coco butter, to Aloe Vera, etc but most have minimal benefit other than keeping the scar hydrated. Although hydration is important there are better, scientifically studied products with greater efficacy. Most of the scientific articles written about this subject indicate that topical silicone gel or silicone sheets work the best. The best product available in my opinion is the Embrace Scar Therapy System by Neodyne BioSciences, Inc. available in many surgeons’ offices. Essentially this is an adherent silicone sheeting pre-stretched when applied so as to offload tension on the scar. For areas that are not applicable for this product (e.g. smaller areas or on the face), I prefer BioCorneum or Kelo-Cote products There are a lot of products to choose from, but silicone should be one of the key ingredients. Although Mederma, an onion extract derivative active ingredient rather than mainly silicone based may help, primarily silicone based products are better and many also contain other ingredients that may be synergistic (hydrocortisone or other steroid, Vitamin E, Sunscreen, etc).. If the reader has problems obtaining these they can call my office. Patient compliance is also critical – use often and according to directions or it will not work optimally. NEVER apply products without first discussing them with your surgeon.
  5. Monitor to make sure your scar is progressing optimally. Keep your scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon to verify that your scars are maturing as expected.  Occasionally if indicated you may need a topical steroid preparation or even a series of  injections (5-FU and/or Steroids) or laser treatments  to treat or  prevent scar hypertrophy or keloid formation (red raised scars), or other topical medicines to treat post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (brown scars) with prescription creams and possible laser treatments.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Scar Healing after Face lift / Neck lift

Scars typically heal in an orderly fashion, and are at their most intense about 6-8 weeks after surgery.  The scars will slowly recede, with less redness and thickness.  Complete scar maturation may even take up to two years to realize.  The left ear scar looks to be healing very well, and though the right one is lower, it also seems to be healing within reason, and with proper wound care, massage and scar gel, should continue to improve.

The position of the scar likely will not change, though, and if the difference in symmetry between the two sides is bothersome once healed, then perhaps a local scar revision may be possible after a number of months passed, in order to allow full resolution of tension and scarring.  I would suggest patience and a conversation with your surgeon at present.  Good luck with your recovery!

Howard Silverman, MD, FRCSC
Ottawa Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Managing Scars Following Your Facelift & Necklift

The #scars from a facelift or necklift mature within six to twelve months from the surgery date. It is during this time that the rejuvenating effects of the facelift will become apparent and the real result will be seen. We find that scar reducing product, BioCorneum , appears to be very effective.
If you have certain concerns about the procedures and #healing process, it is recommended to call your board-certified surgeon or their medical staff and discuss those #concerns.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Healing Scars 8 weeks Post Op

Thank you for your question, it is still very early days, your scars are healing and will take 3-6 months to mature, fading to skin colour.  You may want to massage on a regular basis, in the future if you wanted to use steroid injections to soften the scars or scar revision would be a possibility.  Be patient and give them time, please return to your surgeon for regular follow ups to assess your healing progress.  All The Best

Scars after facelift

time heals all wounds. I would treat your scars with hydro cortisone , massage, and most importantly time. It is too early to considers surgical scar revision.

things should improve dramatically over the next 4 months. At that time, I would consider a scar revision if needed.

best of luck

Michael E. Kelly, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

When scars are visible

as they are on your one side, your surgeon simply had a bad day... and he/she should bend over backwards to help you resolve this if it doesn't heal to your satisfaction and remains extremely visible.  In the meantime, you are still early in your recovery and I hope the rest of your procedure has produced the results that you were hoping for.  Your surgeon can also help you with camouflage strategies as you continue to heal.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Scars & Healing

While the scar on the right side is lower than the scar on the left which is less than ideal, you are still very early in your recovery. It can take up to a year for scars to fully resolve and there are lots of options to make scars less visible. In the meantime, there are makeup options that do a really nice job of hiding scars. 


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Post facelift Concerns with Low Incision

Dear Davinci7, Neither of the incisions look  well placed and the right one is obviously lower then the left side. With that said, you are early in the recovery phase and you will have improvement in these incisions over the coming months. Keep in mind this can be improved upon at a later date. Best regards, Michael V. Elam, M.D.

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 210 reviews

Concerned about face lift scars

Thank you for asking about your face lift scars.

  • I am so sorry you had many complications and hope all are taken care of now.
  • The scar on the right side is not, as you know, as high as the other and may be visible.
  • However you are early into your healing and things will steadily improve with time.
  • In the meantime, you might hide the scars with make-up or with a tendril of hair behind the ear when you put your hair up - 
  • The healing period from face lifts can be frustrating but things can improve dramatically.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 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.