I might have a slight infection. What do you think? Do I need antibiotics orally? (photos)

Should I be worried. I'm seeing my PS in two days to remove sutures and staples and sent him this pic two days ago. The nurse said to bath and just supply the clorsig ointment. I'm not sure if it's getting any better. What do you think. Do I need antibiotics orally?

Doctor Answers 9

Slow healing behind the ear after Facelift

You certainly should not be alarmed.  You appear to have a little loss (slough) of skin accompanied by light scabbing. This is very common behind the ear after facelift because the blood supply is limited in this area. The increased redness of the surrounding skin does not necessarily indication infection, however, the small white bumps toward the bottom of the photo are sometimes associated with certain bacterial infections such as Staph. In my practice, I would recommend soaking the entire area behind your ear (including the occipital hairline incision) with a low strength acetic acid solution made from water and white vinegar. I would recommend that you soak it several times a day for about 5-10 minutes at a time. The acetic acid solution can help break down the crusty scab and has a well known anti-bacterial effect. After soaking or bathing,  I would apply a generous amount of antibiotic ointment.  I would not do any of this, however, without first consulting with your surgeon. He/she will want to keep a close eye on the situation and may prescribe antibiotics if you worsen or fail to show definite signs of improvement.

Saint Louis Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

Open wound after surgery behind the ear

Thank you for your question about your ear wound.

My answer depends on the cause of the problem and the procedure.

If the ear cartilage was involved in your surgery, e.g. an ear setback, I would prescribe antibiotics to protect the cartilage. If it was skin surgery, I would only treat it locally unless the redness was spreading or you had pain, fever or increasing odor, drainage or fatigue.

Your surgeon, not the nurse, should see you.
This is a surgical complication which s/he needs to personally direct. 

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope this information is helpful. Best wishes!

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

Infection after surgery

You aren't sure its getting any better but is it getting any worse? Its essential to continue following the advice of your plastic surgeon over the next two days and then an assessment can be made by your surgeon about oral antibiotics at your post operative appointment.  If you begin to feel unwell or the wound appears to get worse then you should advise your surgeon.    

Robert Drielsma, MBBS, BSc, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 48 reviews



Elliot M. Heller, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Postoperative healing after facelift

It's hard to say if you have an acute infection. Normally we judge this by assessing redness, warmth, and pain. However, this early after facelift the pain and a bit of redness may be normal. A small area looks open to me, with some slough. It is not necessarily pus--it may be more of some epidermal breakdown and gathering of inflammatory cells and drainage.

Because an infection is a risk that is very, very important to avoid, most surgeons would want to err on the side of safety when it comes to treating. Because there is a small open area, however, at least any potential infection could drain.

The wound care instructions you received are helpful. I would put safety first and see your surgeon in person, so they can make the diagnosis firmly and treat as appropriate. 

Barbara Persons, MD, FACS
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Wound crusting and reddness

This appearance is not uncommon in the early period following facelift surgery. It is unusual that antibiotics are required, but an examination in person will help determine if there is an active infection present. Do let your surgeon know and try to see him as soon as you can so that you can be properly assessed. I think basic wound care and chlorsig ointment is reasonable management prior to review.  Keep your surgeon informed of your progress.

Paul G. Gerarchi, MBBS, FRACS
Sydney Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Do I have an infection?

Post operatively each surgeon will have guidelines as to what to do with wound care.

One of the key guideleines I give is that I want to know if you think there is a problem.  The surgeon who performed the procedure is the one to offer advice, and would rather know of your concerns sooner than later.

I suggest give them a call and ask their advice.

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, MBBS, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 119 reviews

Healing after surgery

I would advise to continue following your PS's advice until you see him/her at your next appointment.   It is difficult to give prescriptive advice without seeing you in person.  Best of luck.

Vladimir Milovic, MD, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Minor wound healing issues after facelift are not necessarily infections.

First of all your wound should be monitored by your own surgeon. It's highly likely that you need an antibiotic as this is a wound healing issue related to blood supply and tension not bacteria.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 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.