Will vertical folds behind my ears go away? (photo)

Is this normal? How long will it take to go away if it will go away? Is this a common thing? I know most will say wait a few months, but wanted to know how often this happens, lets say out of every 10 patients? And how often it completely disappears. I understand I have a short-scar SMAS lift so bunching, folding vertically is always a possibility? My other ear does not have any folds. I'm only at Day 6 post op, stitches / staples will be removed tomorrow. Will it only flatten after that?

Doctor Answers 9

Vertical fold behind ear after facelift--not normal.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
This fold represents what happens when the lifted facial skin is pulled backwards and upwards, and the incision behind the ear needs to have the hairline match up (to avoid a visible notch). This fold is the result of what might have been better dealt-with by a little more skin removal behind the ear to tighten this up. It's always a judgement call at the time of surgery, and is usually avoidable by better incision planning. Those of us who have not yet received our perfection badges in the mail will have to admit we see this occasionally in our own patients. It does indeed usually settle, if the fold is mild, and tissues still elastic enough to flatten and contract as healing proceeds and swelling resolves.

That being said, this seems a bit more than usual, and your surgeon may need to do a minor local anesthesia revision once things have fully softened and settled. This should not be "explained away" as "normal" nor should you accept this. After spending nearly $10 grand, I'd repair this minor miscue with a "no-charge" when things have softened and settled enough to do so safely (probably 3 months or more after surgery).

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Vertical folds behind the ear after SMAS facelift usually go away

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
yes the fold usually become much less noticeable or go away entirely after a SMAS facelift.  Ask your surgeon if massage is permissible as this can often help.

Healing after SMAS facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thanks for sharing your photos.  Early after surgery some folds may be present, often where a drain tube is placed.  These should resolve, if not discuss this with your plastic surgeon.

Smooth redraping of the skin is the goal.

Steven M. Camp, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 120 reviews


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Hi. The vast majority of these type of folds go away - improvement will continue until at least 3 months (one week is very early). Try to be patient at this stage and wait until all the postoperative changes have finished before assessing things.

Charles Cope, MD
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Fold After Facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
I can answer in from my experience.  It happens 0 out of 10 times.  I don't intentionally leave folds during facelift surgery.  

Dr. ES

6 days after surgery things usually look strange, it's normal

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
you are only 6 days after surgery.  It is normal to have folds and ripples etc.  These will settle with time.

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 517 reviews


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

That may represeant a drain tract or just a fold from the gathering of the skin, these things do settle and are common

Facelift with short scar

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Usually a short scar ends at the base of the ear lobe or slightly behind it. In patients with a lot of lax skin the incision is extended normally in a full facelift incision. You have some bunching that is irregular. It may soften with time.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Looking at your scar, you did not have a pure "short scar facelift"

The fold is too large, and may not completely disappear. The only thing to do now is to wait and see. You may require a revision by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon (American Board of Plastic Surgery)

Samir Shureih MD.FACS


Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

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.