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Does a Facelift Leave Scars?

Facelift surgery, a popular form of cosmetic surgery, promises a rejuvenated and youthful appearance by tightening sagging skin and wrinkles. This procedure, while transformative, is often accompanied by concerns about its potential for scarring.

In this guide, we look into the various aspects of facelift scarring, exploring the types of scars that may form, the role of the surgeon in minimising visible scars, and the crucial post-operative care required for optimal healing. By addressing common queries and concerns related to facelift scars, this piece aims to provide clarity and reassurance, ensuring that you are well-prepared to make the best choice for your cosmetic needs.

An overview

Facelift surgery, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a sought-after procedure for those looking to reduce visible signs of ageing and rejuvenate their facial appearance. The procedure primarily targets sagging skin, deep creases and wrinkles, providing a smoother and more youthful look. To achieve this transformation, a surgeon makes surgical incisions around the hairline, extending down and around the ears. Through these incisions, they can access and manipulate the facial tissues, removing excess skin and repositioning the remaining skin for a firmer appearance.

Scars are an inevitable part of any surgical procedure, as they are the body’s natural way of healing. In the case of a facelift, the incisions made by the surgeon will result in scars. However, the visibility and prominence of these scars can vary significantly. A skilled surgeon will strategically place incisions in less noticeable areas, such as along the hairline or behind the ears, to minimise the appearance of scars. Additionally, the extent of scarring can depend on factors such as the specific technique used, the patient's skin type and their healing process.

The main areas affected by facelift scars include the region around the temples, the area around the ears, and, in some cases, under the chin. While these scars are typically well-concealed and fade over time, it is important for facelift patients to have a clear understanding of where they may appear and how visible they might be. This knowledge helps in setting realistic expectations and contributes to a more informed decision-making process when considering a facelift procedure.

Types and visibility of facelift scars

The scars left behind from a facelift are typically categorised based on their characteristics and the way they heal.

  1. Fine line scars: these are the most common type of scars post-facelift and are generally thin and inconspicuous. They tend to fade significantly over time, becoming barely noticeable.

  2. Keloid scars: these scars are raised, dark, and can extend beyond the original incision site. They are more common in individuals with darker skin tones.

  3. Hypertrophic scars: similar to keloid scars, these are also raised but do not extend beyond the original wound. They may improve naturally over time but can be more noticeable than fine line scars.

The visibility of facelift scars is influenced by several factors, including:

  • Skin type and colour: darker skin tones are more prone to developing noticeable scars like keloids.

  • Age: older skin tends to be less elastic and might not heal as quickly or as neatly as younger skin.

  • Lifestyle choices: smoking, for example, can impede the healing process and result in more noticeable scarring.

  • Surgical technique: the skill of the surgeon and the technique used play a fundamental role in minimising visible scarring.

  • Aftercare: following post-operative care instructions meticulously can aid in reducing scar visibility.

Skilled plastic surgeons are well-versed in techniques to minimise the appearance of scars. They take great care in planning incision sites, ensuring they follow natural skin creases and are placed in less visible areas, such as behind the hairline or ears. This strategic placement, coupled with precise surgical technique, contributes significantly to reducing the visibility of scars.

The role of the surgeon in minimising facelift scarring

The expertise of the surgeon plays a pivotal role in minimising the visibility of scars following a facelift procedure. A skilled and experienced surgeon employs a range of techniques to ensure scars are as inconspicuous as possible.

  1. Strategic incision placement: one of the primary strategies for minimising visible scarring is the careful placement of incisions. Surgeons typically make incisions along the hairline or within the natural creases of the skin, such as around the ears. This not only hides the scars but also allows them to heal in a way that is less noticeable.

  2. Meticulous surgical technique: precision during surgery is crucial. A surgeon with a meticulous approach ensures that incisions are clean and sutured neatly, reducing the risk of wider or more noticeable scars.

  3. Tailored approach: each facelift procedure should be tailored to the individual’s unique facial structure, skin type and desired outcomes. By customising the approach, a surgeon can address the specific needs of the patient while minimising the potential for visible scarring.

  4. Post-operative care instructions: providing comprehensive post-operative care instructions is an essential aspect of a surgeon’s role. These instructions are designed to support the healing process, helping to ensure that scars heal neatly and are less noticeable.

  5. Follow-up appointments: regular follow-up appointments allow the surgeon to monitor the healing process and address any concerns promptly. This ongoing care is vital in ensuring optimal results and minimising the appearance of scars.

Choosing a qualified and experienced surgeon is paramount when considering facelift surgery.

The healing process

After undergoing facial plastic surgery, the body begins a complex healing process to repair the affected tissues. Understanding this process, along with adhering to proper post-surgery care, is pivotal in ensuring minimal scarring and optimal results.

The healing process

  1. Initial recovery: the first few days after surgery are crucial. Patients may experience swelling, bruising and discomfort. It is imperative to follow the surgeon’s advice on managing these symptoms and ensuring a comfortable recovery.

  2. Stitch removal: typically, stitches are removed about a week after surgery, depending on the patient’s healing progress.

  3. Scar maturation: over the following weeks and months, the scars will go through a maturation process. They may appear red and raised initially but should gradually fade, flatten, and become less noticeable.

Post-surgery care

  1. Follow post-operative instructions: adhering to the surgeon’s post-operative care instructions is essential. This may include guidance on cleaning the incision sites, applying topical treatments, and managing swelling.

  2. Avoid sun exposure: protecting the scars from sun exposure is crucial as UV rays can darken scars, making them more visible. Patients should wear sunscreen and consider wearing a hat when outdoors.

  3. Stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet: proper nutrition and hydration support the body’s healing process, contributing to better scar healing.

  4. Avoid smoking: smoking can impede the healing process and should be avoided before and after surgery.

  5. Be patient: healing is a time-consuming process. Patients need to be patient and give their body the right amount of time to recover.

  6. Attend follow-up appointments: regular appointments with the surgeon allow them to monitor the healing process and provide advice on any additional care needed to minimise scarring.

Scar management

In some cases, the surgeon may recommend specific scar management techniques, such as silicone gel sheets or a scar tissue massage, to support the healing process and help minimise the risk of a visible scar.

Contact us

If you have experienced significant scarring following a facelift and think it is the result of negligence, talk to our expert cosmetic surgery negligence team today. Call 0808 296 5720 or request a callback by completing the contact form.


Contact us today

If you have experienced problems following eyelid surgery and think they are the result of negligence, you may be entitled to make an eyelid surgery claim for compensation. Talk to our expert cosmetic surgery negligence team today. Call 0808 273 2903 or request a callback by completing the contact form.

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Mike Saul


Michael Saul is a partner at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, where he brings his extensive specialist legal expertise and passion for helping people to the forefront of his work. With a proven track record of success in cosmetic surgery negligence cases, Michael has dedicated his career to providing clients with the highest level of representation and achieving favourable outcomes.

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