Can I Wear my Hair in a Ponytail After a Lower Facelift?

I had a consultation with a surgeon who told me I would not be able to wear my hair up after a lower facelift. Is that the norm?

Doctor Answers 14

Facelifts, necklifts, etc.

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Today most doctors are able to perform these surgeries with very fine scars. Most if not all of my patients can wear a ponytail. Good scars in good position can be almost invisible.

warning, some patients do not heal as well as others.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Hair conservation during facelift

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Hair is your friend when recovering from a facelift as you can cover up healing incisions.  It is also best to have as little hair as possible removed during the procedure and often incisions can be fashioned to leave the hair alone.

Joshua Korman, MD
Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Lower facelift incision lines are often invisible even in a ponytail

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All fresh incision lines are pink, often for 2-4 months. This pinkness, if troublesome, can be covered with makeup.

Once they heal fully, however, facelift incision lines are generally nearly imperceptible, and should not prevent you from wearing your hair in any style - including a ponytail.

Laxmeesh Mike Nayak, MD
Saint Louis Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

Facelift and hairstyle

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Depending on where the cuts were made. I usually make them within the hairline so you should still be able to wear a pony tail and your hair up. Watch my video

Edward J. Domanskis, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Can I wear my hair back after a facelift

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Depends on what technique is used, how well you scar and skill of the surgeon. Although all scars will be pink at first they they should fade progressively and easy to cover up during these first several months if visible.

That being said mini-facelifts that end the lower scar  behind the earlobe as the furthest extention will allow you to wear your hair back . Names  such as LifeStyle Lift, S-Lift, Quick Lift, LiteLift, MACS and others usually fit this bill. The skill of the surgeon however also play in to this answer - for example if there is too much pull on the skin the scar may be wide, ropy or more visible. Starting with a board certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive experience in these techniques is a good place to start. 

There is no free lunch in a facelift.

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To perform a facelift, there will be some scars around the ears.  This will be visible when the hair is pulled back and reasonably hidden when the hair is down.  Most good facelift surgeons go to lengths to hide their facelift incisions.  However, some never learned the tailoring methods that allow the scars to be minimized around the ears.  With excellent tailoring and using these methods to hide and minimize scaring, after a period of healing, it should be possible to wear your hair as you see fit.  It sounds like this surgeon is simply managing your expectations so you don't complain about visible scars about the ears.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Ponytail after lower facelift?

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Sure you can, but if your surgeon has told you you can't, he or she may be making incisions in places where other surgeons among us would not!

The scars in front of the ears are visible because of their location, and surgeons differ in their incisional choices here. They fade over time, and depending on technique and attention to detail, can be truly insignificant. The earlobe attachment is the next area of concern--surgeons who try to suspend the cheek tissues from the earlobe cause "pixie ears" that are pulled down and forward, often with a widened white scar in front of the earlobe. (BAD) There are techniques to avoid this, but they only work if your surgeon chooses to use them.

Then there are the scars behind the ears! These are likely the ones that might inhibit your wearing a ponytail. If your surgeon makes an incision across the bare area of the mastoid skin and along the scalp line, this scar is not only visible but quite unsightly, and in need of hairstyles that cover this region. Surgeons who use this incision tell their patients that this is "necessary" to "get the neck right" and justify this tell-tale sign of facelift with this statement. Perhaps that is their training or habit, but those of us who choose a better incision placement along the backside of the ear high enough to cross the bare skin behind the ear at the level of the fossa triangularis (upper third of the ear where the pinna covers this skin), and from here into the scalp, will have NO visible scar. Closure technique is important for this incision to "work," as "notching" of the hairline needs to be avoided, and the incision should be beveled to avoid damage to hair follicles so there is not a bare area within the scalp either. Suture choice and tightness of closure are additional issues to be addressed by the careful and experienced surgeon!

No ponytail after facelift? Norm? Perhaps. Necessary? Absolutely NOT!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Facelift and Hairline

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In general, the goal of incision placement and meticulous closure after a Facelift is to make the incisions inconspicuous.  However, the healing process that is inevitable after an incision is made, leads to a light red coloration of incisions for several months.  This gradually resides as the Collagen remodeling process settles down.  Wearing a ponytail is generally possible 4-6 months after the surgery.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

Healing of incision lines after lower facelift

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Dear Lower Facelift Patient from San Diego,
During initial healing process the incision lines are slightly red and it is recommended to wear your hair down. After two months you should be able to wear a ponytail. A well performed facelift should leave imperceptible incision lines.

Kevin Sadati, DO
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 224 reviews

Avoiding visible scars in a face lift

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For great majority of my patients the face lift scar are barely perceptible with time, so there are no restrictions in any hair styles, including a ponytail.  It takes expert planning and execution of a face lift to not deform the hairline and not to leave any tel tale signs of a face lift.  Typically face lift  would leave a scar along the hairline in the back of the scalp, this can lead to a "step-off" deformity.  A well executed face lift should leave a much shorter scar and leave no hairline distortion.

Boris M. Ackerman, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.8 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.