My tragus and the back of both ears are still red and inflamed at 7 weeks post-op facelift. Is this normal? (Photos)

My tragus and the back of both ears are red and inflamed after 7 weeks post facelift revision. I called PS office and he said to go to ER or PCP. Went to PCP and was put on antibiotics. Seems as though it is getting worse. What can be happening?

Doctor Answers 23

Redness around incision after facelift

Thank you for the question and the photos. First, some redness or flushing around the incisions is normal as you heal from a facelift. It is important that, if there is warmth, or tenderness, or drainage, that this be considered and antibiotics be prescribed in case of infection (cellulitis). Second, there are treatments for this. In my practice, we use topical scar preparations containing silicone gel in most patients. In addition, IPL or BBL laser treatments can reduce redness and persistent bruising in many cases. Please inquire with your surgeon about these options. Take care!

Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Redness Is Normal (For Now)

The head is extremely vascular, so it's not uncommon for inflammation to still be present at 7 weeks post-op. In fact, that's often when it's at its worst. If antibiotics aren't helping, it's rather unlikely that you're dealing with an infection. Keep an eye on the area: If you notice warmth, pain, or systemic issues, such as a fever, see your surgeon. Otherwise, I think patience is the best approach.

Thomas McNemar, MD, FACS
Stockton Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Redness Is Likely Normal Healing

I'm sorry to read that you're still experiencing these symptoms 7 weeks after your surgery, and I can certainly understand your frustration. Scars tend to be most red at 6 to 10 weeks. Infection is highly uncommon and typically manifests earlier in the recuperative process, which is likely why your antibiotics aren't helping. I believe that what you're observing is a normal part of the healing process, although the redness is more pronounced than for most patients at this point. If your original surgeon's office isn't offering you meaningful help, consider visiting a different plastic surgeon for a second opinion.

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Healing and Recuperation Following your Facelift

First and foremost, its best to remain patient. It is still early in to your recovery. The healing process in general can take up to one month for the majority of swelling to subside, incisions to close, sutures to come out, and for bruising to completely go away.
#Recovery time from a #facelift varies from person to person, but patients can generally expect to be presentable within three weeks from surgery. Patients should expect swelling, bruising, and discoloration of the skin during this phase of recovery (swelling normally goes down after 48 hours; most bruising will go away within two weeks). The marks from a facelift can easily hidden with “camouflage” make-up which you can learn how to apply.
The scars from a facelift 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. 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
5.0 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

How long can I expect redness after a facelift?

The redness in the scars, when it happens can take a long time to go away may be a year or even longer. The diffuse redness behind your ear is unusual and infection has to be ruled out. Infection is very unlikely. There are other signs like increased warmth and tenderness that might indicate an infection. You should be seen by the plastic surgeon who performed the surgery as he would be the best person to help you. I am surprised that he has sent you to your PCP or ER when you are only seven weeks after your surgery. 

Farhad Rafizadeh, MD
Morristown Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Redness 2 months after face lift

Thank you for the question and photos.  I doubt that the redness is an infection since infections happen rarely in face lift surgery but more importantly they occur within the first week or so.  What you are likely seeing is the peak of the collagen building phase with its associated vascularization.  This is why incisions tend to look most "angry" between 6-8 weeks after surgery.  Time is probably the best treatment.  V-beam laser may also help.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 162 reviews


It does not appear to be an infection.  This erythema most likely has developed from tension across the line of closure.  This can lead to atrophy of the skin along the incision line and hyperemia from the resulting inflammation.  A topical ointment like Aquaphor should help these areas heal.  The erythema should gradually resolve.  

John Michael Thomassen, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Intensity of inflammation after a facelift varies from patient to patient.

Inflammation which is responsible for the redness shown in the photographs is a normal component of wound healing. It varies from patient to patient. The intensity in the short term is not a predictor of the final scar. Nevertheless, the process should be monitored by your plastic surgeon.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Erythema Along incisions

Although an examination would be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis, this is highly unlikely to be an infectious process. Erythema or redness along incisions is expected for 8-12 weeks after such a procedure and will gradually fade over the course of the next year. This question will be best answered by your own Surgeon with an inperson evaluation.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Red post lift

This is not unusual and probably is an inflammatory reaction to the sutures your doctor used.It is not an infection.You could try some mild cortisone cream.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 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.