Had lower face & neck lift. Stitches on front of ears are fine, but staples at back of my ears and neck sting and itch?

I was wondering if it may be anything to do with my Nickel allergy? I know that surgical staples are usually made from Titanium, but medical advice that I have read states -"Titanium staples are never solely titanium; they all have some amount of nickel content. Patients who have allergies to nickel, for example cheap jewelry causes a rash or earrings cause break-outs, oozing, or itching, should discuss nickel allergies with their surgeon." Can you advise please?

Doctor Answers 7

Problems with staples after facelift

I personally haven't used staples in almost 20 years. I'd discuss your problems with your surgeon. Maybe they will be willing to remove the staples a little early. Also, they can examine the area and try to determine if you are truly having a reaction, or if you just don't like those annoying staples. If the tissue is inflamed, they may treat you with some steroids before removing the staples.

Andrew Campbell, M.D.

Facial Rejuvenation Specialist

Quintessa Aesthetic Centers

Milwaukee Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Discomfort from surgical staples

Hi kaymorton. I'm sorry you are feeling major discomfort from the surgical staples. It is the reason why I prefer to use dissolvable sutures. It is possible you are experiencing discomfort since it is along the hairline and that area alone is always prone to irritation. I recommend following-up with your surgeon for examination to see if you are healing well and there are no possible signs of infection. I wish you the best of luck!

Peter Newen, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Staples after a Facelift

Often times the incision at the back can itch for a few reasons. For one, it is in your hairline and can be irritating. The other issue, is that the incision right behind your ear can sometimes get a bit moist a little fungus can build up there. Ask your doctor to take a look and make sure it is not too must thus causing resulting an minor fungal irritation. 

James P Bonaparte

James Bonaparte, MD, MSc, FRCSC
Ottawa Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Behind ear staples from facelift irritating

I too have abandoned staples behind the ear in a facelift simply because of the reason you are experiencing. I'm not sure if you are having an allergic reaction to them or if that is just the nature of the beast. Every facelift patient I have had absolutely cannot wait to have the staples out and have a huge relief once they are out. The area itself is difficult to sleep on and prone to irritation. Ask your surgeon when they can be removed as hopefully it is soon. Additionally, ask your surgeon if a mild hydrocortisone cream (or Benadryl cream) would be OK to use. 

Lily Lee, MD
Pasadena Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Surgical Staples

Thanks for your question. This could be caused by a few things. It's been years since I used surgical staples regularly (it was during my residency) but I never saw a reaction like you're talking about. I guess it would be possible if you were really sensitive to Nickel. More likely, you're having itching and stinging because of nerve regrowth and healing in the area. You can also have a contact allergy to certain topical antibiotic ointments if you're using one. In any case, you should visit with your surgeon ASAP to get things checked.

Robert S. Schmidt, MD
College Station Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Allergic reaction to staples?

Dear Kay,

I am sorry to hear about your discomfort. My best advise would be for you to schedule an appointment with your surgeon so he or she can take a look. It might be possible to take the staples out early.


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Post Facelift Necklift Concerns

Dear kaymorton, I would suggest that you see your surgeon for an examination to determine a proper diagnosis and then a treatment plan can be addressed. Best regards, Michael V. Elam, M.D.

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 208 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.