How Visible Facelift Incision Scars are Avoided, Treated, and Healed
Thank you for the question. You are asking how long does it take for the scars near the ear related to facelift to go away. Well, certainly I can give you some guidance to this question. I’m a Board-certified cosmetic surgeon and fellowship-trained oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon practicing in Manhattan and Long Island for over 20 years.
Facelift has been a very big part of my practice for 20 years and certainly I have a lot of experience in trying to help my patients not only the best healing but quickest recovery. And certainly I can share with you how I approach this issue in my practice for my patients who I perform facelifts for. So to begin with, it is important to understand that a scar or an incision is not something that really goes away and it is done by the doctor in a way to try and maximize its ability to camouflage.
So you cannot say that a scar will go away because once you make an incision, there is some type of a scar. What I think is important is to define that a scar in a late person’s perspective, it is an undesirable scar and for a doctor, a scar is simply an area where it was healed and we usually refer to it as an incision line and we don’t refer to it necessarily as a scar. Now the strategy I typically employ is basically to place the incisional line in very natural creases of the ear and then decide whether there is a benefit of going inside the openity of the ear or to use a natural crease that is in front of the ear. On top of that, of course the technical aspects of performing face lifting all contribute to the outcome related to the scar so what we do is we will actually make sure I minimize the tension on that incision.
Very often people come to us for some type of scar rehabilitation because the scars has gone wide, they have gone stretched out and so what I try to do is avoid that problem by minimizing the tension at the time of surgery by performing the other elements of the procedure in a way so that there is minimal tension. And on top of that, I use platelet-rich plasma (PRP) which is derived from your own blood. This is basically a concentration of healing and growth factors necessary for wound healing. To facilitate the wound healing, I also use a material called Acellular matrix which further enhances wound healing.
Basically, I do everything I can to make sure not only are the risk of problematic scarring such as widened scar, thickened scar and avoid it. I also try to optimize the healing process so it blends very well. I always tell my patients that my goal is to try to make or perform the procedure in so that if a woman wants to pull her hair back, it won’t be a problem and if someone looks at you from the side, it is not going to be very obvious. Now when someone does come with problems with scars, I will often do scar revision and sometimes we even use laser to try to blend the scars. So certainly it is understandable why you’re concerned.
I would also say that it is important for the doctor to follow the patients after surgery in a way to manage any undesirable healing. So it is not just when the scar is going to be healed to the point where it is minimally visible, you also want to manage any issues along the way to optimize the healing process. What I tell my patients is basically for women, it is a little bit easier because they tend to wear longer hair. After we take the stitches out after a week, it is pretty much okay to go back to work and being able to wear your hair down a little bit. With men, I also think it is comparable and I often tell them to grow their beard a little bit so that it kind of blends over the incision line so that in a couple of weeks, they can shave their beard and no one noticed that they had some healing process going around there.
The strategy is always individualized and customized. When you think of the science and wound healing, you can understand that the line will continue to heal over the course of the year and I think that most of the patients, I basically explain that it will look very good in about 3-6 months but I will continue to blend and fade over the course of the year. So again it is still individual and there are variables like ethnicity, skin type, sun damage, the quality of the skin, sun exposure, environmental issues, tissue elasticity and there are so much variables in that’s the art that contributes to the art of facelift surgery and strategizing face lifting surgery. So I hope that was helpful, I wish you the best of luck and thank you for your question!