Facelift surgery can be a game-changer for many men and women. They’re able to achieve a younger, more youthful contoured facial appearance with a single procedure. Today, we’re going to address one of the most commonly asked questions “Are there any scars with a facelift?” Understandably, scarring can be a valid concern with any surgery, but I’ve got good news for you!
Through advanced surgical techniques, patients are able to get the results they want with almost no visible signs that they’ve had any surgery at all. You’ll achieve a refreshed, naturally-younger looking you with minimal downtime, and generally virtually invisible scars.
Where Are Incisions Made?
Reality check – there is no such thing as a facelift without incisions. To recontour and reposition structures in the face that have sagged and drooped, we have to make incisions in the skin. While I perform the latest techniques, including minimal incision facelifts, your particular anatomy and desires determine what has to be done – and what has to be done always involves some skin incisions. The goal is to make those incisions invisible to both you and your friends and loved ones (as well as those jealous people you also know!!!)
During facelift procedures, incisions are typically made in well-hidden locations. In most cases, I will create an incision along the base of the sideburn, beveled so that when your hair grows it will grow through the incision and conceal it. I then move just in front of the ear, in the natural crease and shadow line where the upper ear touches the cheek. I continue in that crease line to the tragus – the little flap of skin and cartilage that covers the ear canal. At that point, I go inside the ear, then just in front of the earlobe where it connects to the cheek. I then turn around and under the earlobe into the crease in the back of behind the ear up to the hair then either into the hair-bearing scalp or along the hairline behind your ear. The purpose of hugging the ear so closely is to take advantage of natural shadows and creases. That way, any residual scar that is seen will appear to be a crease line, not a scar!
When a neck lift is performed with the facelift, a small incision is made under the chin – this generally appears as a natural skin crease. No additional skin incisions are necessary for the neck lift.
Concealing the incisions in shadow and crease lines is the first step. Gentle handling of the skin during surgery is critical, and obsessive attention to suturing technique is also necessary to make your incisions virtually invisible. Skin staples, which were developed in the 1970s, are a quick way to close skin incisions but are not a substitute for artistic suturing using sutures that are often thinner than a human hair. I never ever use staples to close the skin… and I never will!
When done correctly by a skilled surgeon, facelift scars are almost non-existent. I work in such a way as to meticulously open and close my incisions to minimize tissue disruption. This specialized technique ensures an optimal outcome with minimal swelling, bruising, post-surgical bleeding, or scars.
Facelift Consultations Available
What Can You Do to Minimize Scars?
With facelift procedures, you do not need to actively do anything – my techniques produce the thinnest possible incisions, and the two-layer SMAS technique eliminates the tension on the incisions seen with most single layer techniques. The SMAS layer, which is under the skin, absorbs the tension. Smoking (including nicotine patches), excessive alcohol, and sun are all enemies of wound healing, and these must be avoided.
Your recovery plan typically includes avoiding smoking of any type, alcohol, and sun exposure. Furthermore, pushing yourself too hard initially can prolong the healing process and widen scars. In the majority of cases, I do not recommend any of the available scar creams, Vitamin E, or Aloe.
When Will Scars Go Away?
Incisions are typically red, then gradually fade. Scars mature with time, and if your incisions are red or slightly raised, that will generally disappear with time. It can take upwards of 6-12 months for scars to diminish in size and color completely, but typically, after several weeks, scars are barely noticeable. Makeup can be applied about the time you get back into your normal routine to minimize the appearance of surgical scars. Most patients find the minimal scars well-worth the final outcome of their facelift procedure.
During your in-person consultation, we’ll go over every aspect of your procedure from start to finish. After surgery, we will continue to meet for follow-up exams until you are fully healed. I will provide you with guidance throughout recovery for achieving an optimal outcome with little to no scarring.
“Beyond his very impressive education and training, Dr. Barnett approaches his patients from an artistic perspective rather than strictly procedural. He takes into consideration how each procedure will affect the overall result, which gives a very natural outcome. I interviewed several doctors before choosing him, and he did not disappoint! Professional and direct, yet warm and communicative. His staff is extremely accommodating and always there to patiently answer questions. A+++++!”
Take the Next Step
Ready to look and feel your best? Schedule a consultation with Andrew Barnett M.D. to discuss your options today. Consultations are available in both our San Francisco and Walnut Creek offices. You may schedule for either location by calling (415) 943-0749. Renee or Laurie will help you and answer any pre-consultation questions you may have!
*Individual results may vary.