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Facelifts and Neck lifts are the standard of care when it comes to addressing signs of aging on the face and neck. There are several different technical approaches at Face Austin. Dr. Marcelo Antunes performs facelift procedures to reposition tissues that have sagged over time; the goal is to restore lost volume to the cheeks, remove jowls and rejuvenate the contour of the neck.

Facelift surgery is, however, a surgical procedure. Incisions are made on the skin in order to remove the excess of tissue; therefore, scars will be present. In fact, one of the most frequently asked questions during our consultation process is, “Will a facelift leave a scar?” The answer is yes, but in the right hands, the scars will be minimized and hidden as much as possible. There are a few key factors that play a role when we create those “invisible scars” such as performing the lift on the muscle layer, avoiding tension on the skin and soft tissues by properly releasing the facial ligaments, and by placing the incisions on the proper places on the curves around the ears. That way there will be no distortion on the ear and the area will not draw attention to itself. That being said, there are some patient factors that can influence how the scar will appear in the end like proper post-operative care, the patient’s skin texture and pigmentation, and overall health.  

Dr. Antunes examining the patients face

Facelift Incisions

During facelift surgery, the incisions are camouflaged in front and behind the ear, and once healed, generally are not noticeable. The skin typically heals exceptionally well due to the robust blood supply to the facial tissues. In addition, if the surgeon is experienced in facelift surgery, the potential for visible scars is greatly reduced.

Facelift scars are designed to be undetectable once fully healed. However, it requires years of experience, a trained eye and the skill to be able to place them in the proper location along creases and other natural hiding spots around the ears to help them be less visible. Making facelift scars as invisible as possible is truly an art.

Facelift incisions are typically placed at the following locations:

  • Along the hairline above and in front of the top of the ear
  • Directly in front of the top of the ear
  • Behind the tragus (cartilage in front of the ear canal)
  • Around the earlobe
  • Behind the ear along the ear crease
  • Along the hairline behind the ear
  • If a neck lift is being performed as well, a small incision under the chin will be made

Below are examples of Dr. Antunes’ facelift patients’ scars:

Before & After

Before and 6 months after facelift surgery. Scars are virtually invisible at this point. Results are natural. There is no tension on the skin and no distortion of the ear shape. The facial contours appear natural, and the ears do not draw attention to themselves. 

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Before & After

Before and 6 months after facelift surgery. Another great example of Dr. Antunes' work.

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The areas that are most likely to result in visible scars are in front of the ear and around the ear lobe. Hiding a portion of the scar behind the tragus (cartilage in front of the ear canal) significantly decreases the visibility of the scars.

There are other important factors in reducing scarring during facelift surgery:

  • Avoid tension (pulling tight) when closing skin incisions – by performing the facelift in the muscle layer rather than in the skin, tension is reduced.
  • Use very fine sutures to close the skin.
  • Apply proper wound care after surgery.
  • Have a surgeon with the utmost attention to detail who truly cares about the patient’s outcome and is not in a hurry to finish the procedure. 

Before & After

Before and 6 months after facelift surgery. Another great example of Dr. Antunes' work. Scars are virtually invisible.

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Before & After

Before and 6 months after facelift surgery. Another great example of Dr. Antunes' work. Scars are minimal and results look natural.

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Before & After

Before and 6 months after facelift surgery. Scars on the ears 6 months after facelift surgery are minimal.

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The Length of the Scar

Many patients are concerned with the length of the incision and scar after a facelift procedure. Dr. Antunes typically advises patients that the length of an incision or a scar is not as important as how well it is concealed and how well it heals. On many occasions, a longer incision will heal better and be less noticeable than a shorter one. Some surgeons do shorter incisions with the thought that this will lead to a better result, but sometimes shorter incisions can also lead to distortions and bunching of skin.

The incision is key to minimizing scarring. Dr Antunes will use the shortest possible incision to achieve a great contour and avoid any distortion of surrounding tissues. This enables the scarring to be minimized.

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