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How long does skin necrosis last after a facelift?

Q:

I am a former smoker.  I had eyelid surgery a year ago with no problems.   I now had a facelift and am suffering with skin necrosis.  How long will this last?

A:

Skin Necrosis after Facelift.

You did not say where the necrosis is or how large an area it is.  Both these have significant impact on how long you take to heal.  Other things such as your general health and nutrition and whether you are still smoking or using nicotine or are around someone else who is a smoker.  All this aside, it usually takes somewhere between a week and a month to heal, but may take longer, depending on the above factors.

A:

Skin necrosis following facelift is more common in smokers, even those who have stopped for a few years.  If you continue to avoid cigarettes, you will heal from the necrosis more quickly. Depending on the size of the affected area, it will probably take several weeks to close.  Use of a wound care method known as "wet to dry dressings" with saline will help speed the process. Once the wound has closed, the scars may take a little extra time to look their best, but they ultimately should fade nicely.  

Pamela B. Rosen, M.D., FACS - View Other Answers by this Doctor
Pompano Beach, FL

A:

Skin loss (necrosis ) in a face lift is common among smokers, because of the effect of nicotine on the blood vessels, which causes the blood vessels to close down. thus decreasing the blood supply to the skin flaps.

Varying amounts of skin necrosis can occur, the larger the area of necrosis the longer it takes to heal by scarring.  Continued smoking will delay the healing process.  Healing can take from three weeks to twelve weeks.  Discuss your particular situation with your plastic surgeon, Follow his/her instructions in caring for the wound for optimal fast healing.  Do not smoke or use nicotine supplements in any form! 

A:

Necrosis of the skin after facelift lasts until the area heals up completely.  This type of complication requires a lot of attention from the operating plastic surgeon and the the patient. It is always best to treat this conservatively with dressing changes, and avoid major debridement unless absolutely necessary.  Your level of health, nutrition and commitment to caring for the area will be factors affecting the time it takes for the area to heal.

Scottsdale, AZ

A:

Depending on the extent of skin necrosis, it may heal within one to two weeks.  More extensive areas may take up to 6 weeks of healing.

Luckily, most people with some skin-flap necrosis after a face-lift heal uneventfully and the scar is usually still quite faint.  A small touch-up at 6 months may be required to optimize your results.

I would recommend to stop smoking and avoid all nicotine-containing products so that your circulation can improve and more oxygen can be delivered to the healing areas.

A:

A smoker has an increased risk of skin flap necrosis after facelift surgery.  This is usually at the edge of the flap near the ear and is due to decreased circulation.

If the skin is black and dry (eschar) it will separate and heal after several weeks.  The resultant scar sometimes heals without the need for revision.

If there is some redness and oozing, then local dressing care is needed and occasionally antibiotics may also be necessary.

Fredrick A. Valauri, M.D. F.A.C.S.M.D., F.A.C.S. - View Other Answers by this Doctor
New York, NY

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