Does scar tissue develop under the skin after face lift surgery? If so, where, and will it eventually soften? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 19

Scar tissue under the skin after a facelift

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Dear Seajay,
It is quite expected for some scar tissue to develop under the skin after a facelift.  Scar formation is a normal part of healing and is absolutely essential for long lasting facelift results.  In most situations the scar formation initially exceeds what is necessary to hold the tissue together.  This excessive scar tissue will be remodeled and removed over time.

Deep scar tissue that forms after a facelift often feels as areas of hardness under the skin and can sometimes cause "bumps" and visible creases.  It takes 2-3 month, on average, for this scar tissue to begin to soften.   In some patients the process of scar remodeling might take a bit longer (up to a year was the longest I've seen).  

If you do have some signs of excessive scar tissue formation after your procedure, I would advise patients.  
Scar remodeling can not be rushed.  Using warm compresses and gentle massage helps to expedite this process, but by no means will make it happen overnight.   Eventually all the noticeable signs of scar tissue should disappear and the skin will get back to normal. 

Best wishes!
Dr. Konstantin


New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Scar tissue after facelift.

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Scar tissue will form anywhere where surgery is performed. It will form underneath the facelift flap, but it should not affect the final result. Scar tissue softens over a period of months.  Abnormal scar tissue can form if there was a hematoma in the area that was not drained at the time it formed.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

There should be minimal scarring under the skin after a facelift.

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The development of the flaps for the proper execution of the facelift should be done gently. This should result in scarring that is completely imperceptible.

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Facelift scars

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Yes, scarring and swelling can occur after undergoing a Facelift.  Swelling alone may give your skin the feel of scar tissue. It can take up to 3 months for all the swelling to resolved to not only see your final cosmetic result but see what is swelling or scar.  

Facelift Scar Below The Skin

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Any time we make an incision or develop a surgical plane of dissection scar tissue will form.  A facelift is no different, however, the scar that forms under the skin is very soft and pliable.  The only person who will ever notice it is the plastic surgeon who does the second facelift.
Of course there are some incisions through the skin behind the ear and such that can be noticed, but we try to hide those using strategic surgical planning.
Hope this answers your question.

Thomas P. Sterry, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Does scar tissue develop under the skin after face lift surgery? If so, where, and will it eventually soften? Thank you.

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Normally visible or palpable scars do not occur after facelift. If there is bleeding, called a hematoma, it can leave a lumpy scar which usually goes away with massage.

Healing of the skin on the face does produce normal scar tissue but this should not usually be visible.

Scar tissue with face lifts

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Yes scar tissue does form under the skin in a face lift.  Any time an incision is made in or under the skin, the body heals by making scar tissue.  Scar tissue is usually thick and firm for 3 months or so before it tends to soften and become more pliable.  The scar remodeling process can take a year or two to get as good as it is going to get.

Todd C. Case, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon

Scar tissue below the skin after a facelift

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there is always some level or degree of scar tissue. It can form anywhere where the skin was separated from the tissues below. It can be stiff for a while but in time it gets softer and pliable so that in most cases you cannot see a difference when moving your face. That whole process can take up to one year though

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Scar tissue after facelift

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Yes, scar tissue will for after facelift. Whenever I perform a secondary or revision facelift, I encountered a thin sheet of scar under the skin. This normal aspect of healing is not concerning and represents the remnant signs of the body's recovery after the lift. initial firmness routinely softens leaving these areas normal appearing with a natural feel after about 6 months.

Frank P. Fechner, MD
Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Scar remoldeling

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Dear Seajay:

Please read the prior reply and link. 

Following scar formation, scars along the incision AND under between the layers of tissue lifted (called a flap) will undergo 9 months and more of remodeling. This phase in scar healing changes the scar molecule from a weaved and bundled collagen lattice to a smoother,softer, thinner and less bulky but stronger molecule. It reduces the swelling, tightness and allows for greater nerve growth through the tissues. 

Good luck with this. Be patient and return to your surgeon.

Dean P. Kane, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 103 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.