What can I do about painful stitches around the back of my ears after having a facelift 4 weeks ago?

The stitches behind my ears and down around my ear lobes are quite painful still (making it difficult to sleep) after getting a facelift (4 weeks ago). How do I tell if there is infection in the tissue surrounding the stitches and can you tell me what to put on the stitches. I have cleaned them every couple days with hydrogen peroxide and have put neosporin on them a few times. Thank you!

Doctor Answers 18

Painful stitches

Patients can sometimes experience pain around the ears following surgery. This may take several months to subside. The best way to determine the cause of the pain would be to follow up with your surgeon for an in-person examination. I would additionally suggest that you stop applying peroxide and Neosporin to the incisions as this can cause irritation. Good luck!

Barrington Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Post op stitches


4 weeks after your surgery, your stitches must have been removed, and if not, please have them removed asap.  I do not believe there is an infection, or else the area would be red, hot, and with purulent liquid dripping.  Best regards,

Alberto Arguello, MD
Costa Rica Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Stitches still palpable after 4 weeks post #facelift?

Thank you for your questions.

Most of us remove the black or blue stitches 7-10 days post facelift surgery.  So if those are black or blue, I would visit your plastic surgeon.

If they are more clear-looking, they might be the dissolving sutures that we put deeper; they are meant to dissolve over 6-12 weeks but often the body tries to push them out.  In my practice, I would see my patient and pull and snip those ones.  

Otherwise, I recommend massaging the scars with vitamin E oil daily, which seems to stimulate the inner blood flow and help the dissolving stitches to dissolve faster.

Hope this helps!

Best regards,

Dr. Marc DuPere, Toronto Aesthetic Plastic Surgeon

Marc DuPéré, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Face lift - still painful behind the ears after a month

Thank you for asking about your face lift.

  • It isn't clear if the sutures are still in - or if the incision is what is hurting you.
  • After a month, the sutures should usually be removed.
  • I suggest you see your surgeon to have your healing checked and to have sutures removed, if you still have them.
  • Anything except plain water and sometimes, aquaphor, can irritate healing tissue - leave the peroxide and neosporin off your skin until your surgeon sees you.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes.

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

Time to Switch Products

I'm sorry to read that you're still feeling such bothersome discomfort at this point after your surgery. In my experience, it's very uncommon for a facelift patient to still have permanent sutures in place a month after surgery. Those should have been removed a couple of weeks ago. But perhaps there are some deeper, dissolving type sutures spitting out. Infection is typically quite painful and often includes redness, swelling, or oozing at the site. Even if you don't suspect an infection, please see your surgeon to determine a timeline for suture removal. Best of luck.

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Painful sutures

Incisions after surgery can be tender for months as the body recovers and this may be normal. However, if you have any concerns of possible infection, you should contact your surgeon immediately so appropriate action can be taken.  In addition, I would recommend you stop the peroxide and neosporin as these can often cause further irritaition and discomfort. 

Adam Bryce Weinfeld, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Stitches should be gone!

Those stitches should be out by this point. Please show them to your plastic surgeon. I suspect that removal and cleaning will make your symptoms go away

best wishes

Michael E. Kelly, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Painful stitches following facelift

It seems a bit unusual to still have stitches in place 4 weeks following a facelift.  If they are still in place, you may be experiencing inflammation around the stitches.  Although inflammation is not the same as infection, it can make the area tender and painful in a way similar to infection.  I would call the office of your plastic surgeon and ask to be seen to  make sure you do not have an infection, and to have any remaining stitches removed as soon as possible.  Best wishes for a beautiful final result, and for a swift resolution to your discomfort!

Alyson Wells, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

What can I do about painful stitches around the back of my ears after having a facelift 4 weeks ago?

Dear janloumac

Most of the time, at 4 weeks, its the scars that are bothersome and not sutures. In my experience using peroxide and neosporin at 4 week is not only not needed but also can lead to significant irritation. If you dont have open wounds, you can stop peroxide and neosporin and switch to a moisturizing cream or lotion. If you have open wounds, generally peroxide is irritating and delays wound healing.
It seems like you would benefit from a visit to your surgeon to get some guidance for help with your healing. congrats on having the procedure!

Afshin Parhiscar, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 57 reviews


thank you for your post and concern. To add to the other answers, yes at 4 weeks, sutures should be removed, however, what you might be feeling are scabs rather than stitches. Have your surgeon look at them. Also not uncommon to have most pain behind the ears because this can be an area of high tension. Hope this helps!

George S. Miguel, DO
Troy Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 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.