Will I Have Noticeable Scars After Facelift Surgery?

Published: May 2, 2024
Category: Dr. Brian Kobienia, Facelift, Blog

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery’s (ASPS) 2022 Procedural Statistic Report, over 72,000 Americans chose facelift surgery to help combat the visible signs of aging and restore a more youthful appearance. Although it is extremely popular, many people considering facelift surgery are concerned about how noticeable any scarring will be after the procedure. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect after a facelift and how your surgeon and YOU can help minimize the appearance of post-surgical scarring. 

What is achieved with facelift surgery?

“The goal of facelift surgery is to remove excess skin, lift underlying structures into a more youthful anatomic position on the face, and then tighten any remaining skin to restore a smoother, more refreshed appearance,” explains Dr. Brian Kobienia, a board-certified plastic surgeon and partner at Edina Plastic Surgery. “When performed by a skilled surgeon, your facelift results will look natural and enhance your features, not alter them,” he continues. “A successful procedure visibly turns back the clock ten to fifteen years and leaves you looking like a more vibrant and youthful version of you.”

What to expect from facelift scars

Any surgery, regardless of whether it is cosmetic, will result in some scarring if incisions are made. However, there are techniques your surgeon can implement to minimize the appearance of scarring dramatically.

“Every plastic surgeon wishes they could wave a magic wand and erase the inevitability of scarring after surgery,” says Dr. Kobienia. “But the truth is, incisions must be made for a facelift to remove lax, excess skin and tighten skin and deeper tissues. That being said, a skilled surgeon will utilize techniques that make scars as inconspicuous as possible. Where facelift incisions are placed plays a prominent role in how noticeable scars will be after surgery. Whenever they are able, your plastic surgeon will make incisions in discreet locations along the hairline, behind the ears, and under the chin where they can be hidden within the natural contours of the face.”

“Patients play an essential role in how well scars heal after facelift surgery,” stresses Dr. Kobienia. “How you care for your scars and how diligently you follow post-care instructions will significantly impact how well you heal and how noticeable your facelift scars will be.”

The Full Focus Facelift by Edina Plastic Surgery

The Full Focus Facelift is the standard approach to facelift surgery at Edina Plastic Surgery. This comprehensive technique not only preps the skin for surgery to enhance a patient’s recovery and results but also incorporates laser treatments and skincare products to improve healing, the appearance of scarring, and the skin’s overall quality.

“Our Full Focus Facelift is a 360-degree approach to surgery,” explains Dr. Kobienia. “It partners our patients with an Advanced Practice Esthetician from our medical spa, Skin Artisans, who will cater to their skin’s unique needs before and after surgery. Skin that is pre-conditioned before surgery not only responds better to surgery but also heals more quickly. Additional skincare products and laser treatments can help fade and smooth facelift scars and make them barely noticeable over time.”

What is a patient’s role in improving the appearance of scarring after facelift surgery?

Plastic surgery is a two-way street. Although the plastic surgeon’s role is vital to the success of surgery and the visibility of scars, the patient also plays a crucial role in how well they heal and what their scars will eventually look like. Your plastic surgeon will share a list of post-care guidelines that are essential to minimizing the appearance of scars after facelift surgery.

#1 – Follow your post-care instructions to the letter

“The post-surgical instructions given to you after facelift surgery are like a roadmap to a successful recovery,” advises Dr. Kobienia. “Follow all directions closely, like keeping your incision sites clean, avoiding strenuous activity, and abstaining from smoking. And always be sure to contact your surgeon with any questions.”

#2 – Shun the sun

When skin is inflamed, like incisions are after surgery, the pigment cells in the skin, or melanocytes, are active. This is why incisions are initially a darker red/purple/brown color. Sun exposure also triggers melanocyte activity – that’s why skin tans in the sun. After facelift surgery, you must protect your face and incisions from the sun with wide-brimmed hats and SPF to prevent incisions from becoming darker and more noticeable. This is crucial in the early stages of healing after facelift surgery.

#3 – Topical scar treatments

“After facelift surgery, your surgeon will instruct you on the use of specific silicone-based serums and other topicals to help improve the appearance of scars,” says Dr. Kobienia. “These products can help promote wound healing by protecting incisions and may include ingredients to help improve the texture and pigment of scars. Be sure to consult with your surgeon on when and how to start these products, and always clear any products you purchase outside of Edina Plastic Surgery with your surgeon before applying.”

#4 – Massage

Gentle massage over healed incisions is frequently encouraged after surgery to help soften and flatten scars over time. This can be done with a light vitamin E oil and by softly tapping your fingers over scars and making small circles with your fingertips. Massage can also help ease itching and discomfort as incisions heal after facelift surgery.

#5 – Laser and medical skincare treatments

“At Edina Plastic Surgery, we are fortunate to have our medical spa, Skin Artisans, and all of its amazing providers on-site for our patients’ benefit,” says Dr. Kobienia. “The treatments they offer can significantly improve the appearance of scarring after surgery. For example, BBL® photorejuvenation treatments can lighten the pigment in scars, and laser resurfacing can improve the smoothness of the scar. We offer heavily discounted scar revision packages to our surgical patients who wish to improve the appearance of post-surgical scarring further after facelift surgery.”

#6 – Practice patience

All scars take time to heal and fade. It’s natural to be anxious to see your final results after facelift surgery, but patients must practice patience after surgery!

“Most facelift patients will see a significant fading of scars three to four months after surgery, but everyone’s recovery is unique,” advises Dr. Kobienia. “It’s essential that you be kind to yourself and give your body time to heal. Within a year, most patients’ facelift scars fade to a thin light line that is barely detectable and well worth the trade-off to achieving a more youthful-looking appearance!”

Are you considering facelift surgery and would like to discuss your goals with Dr. Brian Kobienia or another board-certified plastic surgeon at Edina Plastic Surgery? Call (952) 592-5970, text (952) 925-1765, or CLICK HERE to schedule a complimentary consultation!

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