Does a facelift leave scars?
A surgeon must pay attention to detail; put the scars in the right place; use the right suture; and spend time doing it neatly and beautifully. Some of this will depend on the patient’s skin.
The best way to really try and show patients what kind of scarring they’re likely to expect is to show them past patients and their scarring. Naturally, scarring is a process, healing and results are not instant. When you stitch two bits of skin together, the skin goes through a process of forming a haphazard scar under the skin. That will form some hardness and some redness to the scar. But over time, that will mature and become a faint, thin, white line, and not hard at all. This scarring process can vary on people depending on their skin quality. Therefore, it is important for patients to be shown stages of scarring on other patients, clearly identifying how scars will look after one week, after a few months and after a whole year.
It’s important to also note that during the first two weeks, you can’t put any makeup or any camouflage on the scars because this increases the risk of infection. But after the initial two weeks, it is fine to use makeup on the scars.
How can you reduce scarring after facelift surgery?
The scarring after a facelift is naturally a big concern for a lot of patients. As a surgeon, it’s really key to pay attention to detail during the surgery and place the scars in the folds and the creases around the face and ears so that the scars are conspicuous and not visible. With any scar tissue, the scarring partly depends on the quality of the patient’s skin.
Additionally, scarring is also partly dependent on the suture material used. For example, some surgeons use non-absorbable stitches, however we have moved away from using non-absorbable stitches because whilst they often make the surgery quicker, because the stitch comes in and out of the skin, it leaves visible marks. To avoid this, at Bella Vou, we use absorbable stitches. All of these stitches are buried under the skin and typically leave a very fine line in the creases that are hardly noticeable.
What should I avoid after facelift surgery?
After facelift surgery, patients often want to know what can they do to make their scars mature quicker, heal better and be hidden sooner. It’s really important to emphasise that during the healing process, patients should not start massaging their scars. Massaging the scars is really important when the scars are immature and they are a few months old. If these scars are healing and the patient starts massaging them early, then the scar tends to separate and this causes the patient to be left with more unsightly stretched scarring. Hence, it’s really important that patients are educated on keeping their scars clean, showering daily and not touching their scars. Besides this, there’s nothing more for patients to do in the early stages.
Often with the face, the scars heal really well and they hardly ever need massaging. If a patient has the type of skin that does form bad scarring and it starts to be a bit lumpy and red, then when we see them during our follow-up period, we would guide them as to when to start massaging and moisturising.