Internal Sutures Snapping?

I had a complete facelift 3 1/2 weeks ago. I'm very happy with my appearance now; however, I'm still a little stiff and when I turned my head (not too far) I felt a sort of snapping like guitar strings happened in my jaw as well. It's a painful now in my neck under my chin where the snapping took place. Are those my internal sutures...should I be concerned?

Doctor Answers 10

Post Operative Snapping

Thank you for the question. You are still in the early phases of healing. At 3 1/2 weeks there is sufficient scar tissue that is actually stronger than the suture material itself. If your appearance has not changed after the "snapping", continue to follow up with your surgeon for now. A re-evaluation of your results in 3 to 6 months will reveal if anything was affected. If so your surgeon will be able to make appropriate recommendations at that time.

Best wishes.

Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Internal Sutures Snapping after Facelift

Hi.  I tell patients not to turn their head too much for the first 6 weeks after facelift surgery to prevent sutures in the muscle layer from tearing.  I tell patients that they can turn until it feels tight.  I recommend that they turn at their waist more than at the neck.  

Jonathan Pontell, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

Internal sutures snapping?

Hello, and sorry to hear about the issue you experienced following surgery. After 3.5 weeks, you are still going to have significant stiffness from your surgery. In general, the side effects of a facelift can include the following:

1) Swelling
2) Redness
3) Bruising
4) Stiffness
5) Tenderness

The snapping you felt was likely a result of scar tissue, but without knowing the details of your surgery it is difficult to pinpoint the problem and say for sure if they were your internal sutures. This should not be of great concern, but I would recommend speaking with your surgeon. He/she knows the extent of your surgery and will be able to advise you. I hope this helps, and best of luck!

Jonathan Kulbersh, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Snapping 3.5 Weeks after Facelift

    This snapping sound could have been suture or it could have been scar band.  If your contours have not changed, then you are likely fine.  Followup with your plastic surgeon for confirmation.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Internal Sutures Snapping?

 Snapping sensation under the chin is most likely from the internal sutures either breaking or going through the Platysmal muscle layer which is not an ideal situation after a Face Lift especially if your plastic and cosmetic surgeon used suspension sutures to hold up the muscle layer.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Snapping Sutures after Face Lift

Thank you for your question about the 'snapping' you feel after your face lift.

  • it sounds as though sutures in your face and neck may have broken,
  • but after 2 weeks, your healing is 70% of normal,
  • So the good news is  that even with broken sutures, you have an excellent chance of getting an excellent face lift result,
  • and since your appearance hasn't changed, that seems to be the case,
  • See your surgeon however about the pain under your chin - broken sutures don't often hurt.
  • Hope this helps!

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

Snapping sounds after facelift

The  situation you describe could be several things- while it is possible that some of the internal sutures have snapped, it is also possible that these feelings are from stretching of healing tissue or other aspects of postoperative inflammation.  

At this point, regardless of the reason, there is not much to be done surgically until the healing progresses.  Even if some of the sutures have ruptured, there is still an excellent chance that things will look good.  After 3 weeks, your body has started the healing process with the tissues in the new correct position.  Wait and see how things look in a few months, but certainly discuss the situation with your surgeon as I'm certain he or she will want to  remain involved with your care.

Adam David Lowenstein, MD, FACS
Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Healing after a facelift, litelift, quicklift,

the snapping my have been sutures breaking..   i wouldnt do anything now but let it all heal and see if you look fine in 3-6 months

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Internal sutures snapping??

I recommend that you see your surgeon to answer that question.  The sutures used to tighten the tissue under the skin are usually dissolving sutures. 

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Did my suture snap?

3 1/2 weeks is still in the initial stages of the healing process following a facelift. It is not uncommon to have all sorts of strange sensations at this stage of healing. Typically, by 3 1/2 weeks the muscle layer will already be partially scarred down and providing some strength to the lift meaning that the sutures are not doing all of the work. It may also be scar tissue forming in the neck as well. If you appear to be healing normally I would not be too concerned about it. Regardless, you would need to wait several months to have any revision work. Make sure that you follow up with your surgeon so that he or she can closely evaluate and make sure there is nothing that needs urgent attention.

Todd C. Miller, MD
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 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.