Will I have visible scars from a face lift?
Facelift Surgery Scars
Doctor Answers 42
Scars from a Facelift
Following surgery, many surgeons, myself included will offer complimentary V-Beam laser treatments to help speed healing and minimize scarring. Most plastic surgeons also make topical silicone gel treatments available to help minimize scarring. Close monitoring following surgery is imperative. If scars start start to thicken, they can be treated with steroid injection. But early treatment is key. You don't want to wait until a scar is a problem before you begin receiving treatment
Anytime that the skin is cut, there is a scar which is...
Anytime that the skin is cut, there is a scar which is formed. Surgeons trained in facelift and cosmetic surgery techniques are trained to minimize the scars.
One important technique is to place the incision in areas which are hidden and in areas where they may look like natural wrinkles. Other techniques rely on minimizing the amount of tension on the wound to prevent widened and elevated scars.
There is also a risk of 'hypertrophic scars' and 'keloids' anytime the skin is cut. This risk is greater in African Americans and Hispanic individuals. Again, a trained surgeon can identify the risk and minimize the risk as best as possible.
Facelift incisions generally heal very well
It is impossible to say with 100% certainty that your incisions will heal perfectly. Incision healing is dependent on several factors, including surgical technique, prevention of infection, reduction of tension, patient nutrition, not smoking (before or after surgery), genetics, etc.
For the most part, however, facelift incisions heal very well. The incision starts in front of and within your ear and then curves behind the earlobe and extends along the crease behind your ear. For the first several weeks after surgery, you will definitely be able to see the incisions, so it is best if you have longer hair that can cover them. However, you can also be creative, such as wearing glasses with a hanging lanyard that hangs in front of the incision.
Alternatively, you can just go along your business like noting happened. If you live in a metropolitan area where many people have plastic surgery, then it really will be no big deal. Those people who notice it probably have had the surgery themselves (they know what to look for). However, after several weeks to months, the incisions fade away and just become a memory. I hope this is helpful.
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The incisions for a face-lift are well hidden under the...
The incisions for a face-lift are well hidden under the chin, in front and behind the ears. In time, hairs grow right through the scar, concealing it almost entirely.
The incision is actually placed paralleling the hair shafts and bulbs so that bald areas do not exist in most cases. There is little to no tension placed on the skin to allow proper healing and prevent wide scars from forming. Sutures are removed four days after the procedure to prevent “rail-road tracking” along the incision line.
The goal of any cosmetic procedure is making the negatives out weighed by the positives. Any time the skin it cut, there is potential for a scar. A board-certified plastic surgeon, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, is trained in techniques to minimize visible signs of surgery.
Most facelift procedures have scars that fade away and hide over time. The scars are often hiden in natural skin creases and hair, to conceal the nature of the surgery. There is always a risk the scar does not heal the way we want, but that risk is usually very small.
It is ultimately important for you to discuss your concerns with your board-certified specialist.
Facelift scars will be hidden
There are different forms of facelifts with variations on where the incisions are made, so the scars depend on that. In general they are around the ear, tucked into places where they are very inconspicuous. One important thing is where it transitions into the hairline above the ear. Traditionally it goes behind the hairline where it is completely hidden, but this can displace the hairline upward which looks odd and is a tipoff to a facelift. An alternative is to go across at the sideburn, which works very well and avoids that problem. Another important trend is to reshape the face by working on the layer under the skin; this not only looks more natural by avoiding the pulled look, but helps take tension off the edge of the skin where it is sewn together. This makes for very thin scars, and the quality of the scar is often as important as the location.
Facelift scars should not be easily visible, if at all
It is not possible to make a facelift incision without creating a scar. However, facelift incisions should be designed to make very hairdresser proud. That is, the hairdresser should be the only one who spots them. In most cases, the incision is minimally visible in front of the ear. In back of the ear, we design the incision such that it does not or minimally alters the hairline and allows the hair to be worn back.
The accompanying video may help with understanding facelift techniques.
Scars from a facelift are almost never an issue.
Scars are the byproduct of any operation but are almost never an issue after a facelift. As this operation has evolved, positioning and management of tissue has allowed most scars to be almost invisible. Even in men with no hair, facelifts are a legitimate aesthetic alternative because the scars are seldom a significant aesthetic problem.
There's no such thing as a Facelift where the scars are completely invisible. If you look up closely you'll see them but they are typically placed in very, very inconspicuous areas. Because I do deep plane techniques in facelift, I've seen it first hand. With the deeper structures suspended securely, the tension is placed under the skin and it just sits up against the other skin edge.
The scars heal so well that some of my patients have said that they didn't even realize they had scars there.
Will I have visible scars from a face lift?
I THINK what you meant to ask was "Will I have NOTICEABLE scars from a face lift?"
Every incision results in a scar and every scar is permanent AND visible to close examination. The question is can a Facelift be done and for the scar to be almost unnoticeable?
The answer is - YES.
All the pulling in a Facelift must be done by deep stitching NOT the superficial skin stitches closing the incision. IF the Facelift incision is placed along the margin of the hair and along the border of the ear WITHOUT any pull on the margins, the vast majority of such scars are not noticeable at a social conversational distance.
Peter A Aldea, MD
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.