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 48

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
4.8 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

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
4.8 out of 5 stars 170 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.

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
4.7 out of 5 stars 138 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
4.9 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Facelift Scars

Hi David Paul

Thanks for your post. Scarring is always a common question and it's very helpful to the RS community when others post similar. If it is done well, the scarring should be minimal and with time, likely to be almost invisable, providing no infection is present, and no complications happen.

Our Concept Facelift is less invasive than a traditional facelift and there is less scarring, bruising and swelling for a significantly quicker recovery period. This innovative procedure combines the latest surgical techniques with the use of local anaesthetic to dramatically reduce the risks associated with traditional facelifts, while significantly reducing the bruising and downtime of your recovery, from months to a matter of days.
This is a combination of a SMAS lift and skin tightening that allows the procedure to have it's longevity without the trauma and invasiveness of a traditional facelift. 

There is minimal bruising and swelling, especially when compared to traditional facelifts
As the procedure is performed under local anaesthetic, you can go straight home following the procedure
Full recovery in a matter of days rather than months
Significantly less risk than Facelifts performed under general anaesthetic
Fresh, youthful and long lasting results

Facelift Scarring

Fortunately, advanced surgical techniques can help reduce the risk of scarring after a facelift. Incisions are strategically placed, so obvious scars are not a typical outcome. But there are steps you can take to help your skin heal so that traces of your incisions are hardly visible. Immediately after your surgery, you should avoid the sun. After surgery, your skin will be particularly sensitive, making it susceptible to permanent discoloration if exposed to the sun. Consider applying scar-reducing topical products, which your surgeon can recommend.

The amount of scarring left behind after a facelift depends on the technique of the surgeon.

The amount of scarring left behind after a facelift depends on the technique of the surgeon. A double board certified facial plastic surgeon with experience and skill is able to perform a facelift in such a way as to result in almost invisible scarring. At my practice, my facelifts involve lifting of deep tissue, which is then secured with sutures. The skin comes along with the deep tissue, excess skin is removed and the remaining skin is secured without any tension, which results in an easier healing process and almost invisible scar. In addition to this technique, I place incisions in less visible or noticeable areas, and a scar cream can be used to help healing as well. I understand how important it is especially for men with short hair to have scarring that is not obvious, and one of my goals is to help you achieve the most natural looking results with the most minimal scarring possible.

Incision location is different on a male than a female.For a male, the incision will be hidden in a crease in front of the ear to prevent moving the location of the beard.

Realistic Result of Scar from Male Facelift?

To obtain the maximum improvement it's necessary to not only lift and fill but to remove excess skin for both men and women.  Incisions that are properly camouflaged become quite difficult to see especially when there is no continuous line in front of the ear.  Plan on approximately 4 weeks for the redness to leave the incision, possibly sooner.  
A major factor for men to consider is that the beard line will be raised both in front of and behind the ear changing your shaving pattern.  There is also a likelihood of some hair growth on the tragus in front of the ear leading some patients to have electrolysis or laser hair removal (I don't know many though who found it bothersome at all).  
Best wishes.


Jon A Perlman MD FACS
Certified, Am Board of Plastic Surgery
Member, Am. Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS)
Beverly Hills, CA

Jon A. Perlman, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 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.