Post to Forum

How long before complete facelift/necklift recovery?

  • springup
  • Staten Island, NY
  • 3 years ago

I'm almost six months into recovery from facelift, necklift and lower bleph.  There are so many issues I never expected to experience.    I still have tightness around the neck and behind the ears and two swollen glands in my neck.  I wake up every day hoping to feel different but I'm aware of the discomfort all day.    My jowl line is higher than it was and I have a sort of ridge above my jaw that  sometimes seems to relax and drop but then raises up again as the tightness returns.    In low light I look worse than in sunlight .  I can see shadows and lines and hardness that actually make me look older than I did before.  I have dark stains on my cheekbones under my eyes which is taking a very long time to fade.  My scars are still visible at my hairline and I have a raised one on the corner of my eye.  My husband is not at all happy with my results, but no one else has seemed to notice a change, or maybe just haven't said anything because  I camouflage with makeup.   I was a very young looking 59.   All I initially wanted was some filler in my marionette lines, but I wound up getting all of this done.  Now I have scars, lumps, uneven skin tone and discomfort.   My confidence is not what it used to be and I also feel really foolish and guilty for having chosen to do this to myself.  I get so discouraged when I read about short recovery time and wonderful results after a few months.  Actually,  I seem to look a tiny bit better and more like me this month, but I still look  'strange" to myself and not what I had hoped for.  Realistically, when should everything loosen up, scars fade and see full results.  Has anyone else had a rough recovery? 

Comments (1,795)

Sort by

I had a macs lift and a neck lift two weeks ago. The left side behind my ear is still oozing and very swollen. There is also a large ridge of skin around the stitches. I have been back to my surgeon , once to get the stitches removed from in front of my ears and again to remove the ones behind the ears. He would not remove the ones behind the ears because the left side was still oozing . I went back again to have him check it and he says it's fine. I'm very worried. My surgery was August 20th. Any comments would be appreciated .
  • Reply
yes I see your correct point. But I am going to say this for the last time- see if there is something else going on in your head and neck such as your thyroid or herniated disc in cervical spine. Otherwise just complain and be amazed.
  • Reply
I had surgery August 12, 2014. Upper and lower eyes, neck lift and face lift. I stayed overnight in the medical facility that was provided. I highly recommend this. I had general anesthetic and the surgery was four hours. The next morning my bulky headdress was removed along with the drains. I did not experience any nausea and not a lot of pain. I had a lot of bruising and swelling and numbness. It is now 8 days post op and I am doing better with everything, but my neck still is a little swollen and numb. It feels like I have an ACE bandage around my neck. But each day it does get better. I will get my sutures out August 27. My husband took care of my stitches using peroxide and Vaseline. It would be very hard to do this on your own. I showered and shampooed the day after surgery and have continued to do this every morning and evening before using my ointment...I get a lot of rest and I think this is very important for the healing process. I did not realize I would be numb for this long.
  • Reply
I'm about a month from mini-facelift procedure. It was such an ordeal. After surgery in morning, was sent home wrapped in compression bandages. All seemed fine and then the swelling and pain hit. Took the pain meds - no relief - more pain meds - no relief. Surgeon was wonderful about driving to our hospital emergency room, saw my condition and arranged a surgical team in 20 minutes. Had to re-open everything, clean it out, re-stitch, install a couple of drains in back of head, direct admit for overnight. Said it was a hematoma (sp?) and there was pressure on my brain. He kept checking on me, drove back up the next morning to check on me and release to go home. This was now Saturday - wrapped in the compression bandages and gauze. No pain; laid low. Felt good Sunday but Sunday night started feeling like there was a boa constrictor around my neck. Called the office in the morning and they said to come for a look-see. Said there appeared to be another blood clot and to come back at 1p.m. Relief surgeon was upset to have to come in (my surgeon was away on family emergency surgery out of state). He apparently was doing well on the golf course and didn't want to wait for the anesthesiologist so gave me one 'local' and re-opened one side and started gouging the old accumulated blood from under my chin -- pain was so intense the nurses holding my hand were crying. He installed a drain that went behind my ear to under my throat along with a little pouch to pin to my shirt to collect any blood and sent me home. My husband wanted to a have a little "chat" with him but he had already left the building! Wore the compression bandages for another couple of days and went back - told the staff not to let that surgeon near me so one of the nurses removed some stitches and the drain. It's been - like I said - about a month............ most of the swelling has gone down - still some lumpy areas, but I keep massaging them with oil. Still feels as though I have ear muffs on and no feeling on either side of my face. Spoke to one of the nurses there who had had one of these procedures done about 7 months ago and she said what I'm feeling is normal but if I have any pain or intense discomfort to come in and see them. She said the feeling started coming back about a month ago, so I felt better after talking to someone who's going through this and from the same office. My surgeon is back and so very apologetic about what happened while he was away taking care of his father. I'm somewhat pleased with the results - people look at me and can't quite figure out what's different. The comments range from - "Wow, you've lost a lot of weight and look great" and some add on "you look like you've gotten taller!" which makes me chuckle. My family all say that I look very well rested and thinner, and at least 20 years younger! My poor husband is just happy that I'm okay -- after what I put him through............ Would I do it again knowing what I know now? Probably not. Apparently, I'm a fast clotter and prone to blood clots. I had not been operated on for anything prior and no test were done to prove otherwise. Hope this helps to hear another person's story. I'll let you know when I get the feeling back on the sides of my face!
  • Reply
Dear Spring Up, I'm so sorry to hear you have had such a difficult recovery. Most people have a very different experience, but when it'd YOU gong through the long recovery, YOU are what matters. It does sound like you are continuing to improve. I hope that is the case. Some simple things like camoflaugue make up application and lessons, lasers to help with scarring and uneven skin tone, facials and lymphatic drainage to assist with excessive swelling should be available from your plastic surgeon. These remedies will not correct all the things that aren't as they should be, but they can be a help. When you get to a plateau and your face is no longer improving, know that revision surgery is available and it can help. It can be performed by your same surgeon if y=he is someone you know and trust, or by another surgeon if you think you would like other opinions. heck the training, background and expertise of each plastic surgeon very differently as it can be ski different. Then, look at many, many photographs of the surgeon's work to be sure he has the expertise you desire, and that you share the same aesthetic sensibilities. Thank you for sharing and I wish you luck.
  • Reply
I am 4 days post surgery. I am thrilled with results so far. I absolutely have major tightening but trust that will ease up when swelling goes down. I had face/necklift, fat grafting, upper bleph. I know 3 other people who had it and are pleased with results. Stitches come out next week. I hope your issues get resolved and don't know how significantly mine will change over time.
  • Reply
I'm reading these posts and my heart goes out to each one of you. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm about 2 months post op face lift, neck lift with a little lipo under my chin, as well as fraxel repair, and other than some light scars still present at my hair line by my temples, I'm completely back to normal. Up until a couple weeks ago I still had some numbness in front of my ears, but all of the feeling has now returned. I was on the VitaMedica surgical program since Mid- March ( prior to tummy tuck, breast lift and lipo on hips). I definitely noticed my bruising and swelling was much much less than others have had. My surgeon ( Dr Reedy, Berks Plastic Surgery, Wyomissing, Pa) did a fabulous job and Im just wondering if he did things differently than some of the other surgeons out there where recovery wasn't so smooth. Perhaps I'm just healthier than some and bounced back quicker. With that being said, anesthesia was a different story....shakes for 2 days was a bit scary. One thing I have learned is always go with a board certified plastic surgeon with experience in the areas you want work done on.
  • Reply
Sorry - posted twice as the first didn't appear straight away so assumed it had been lost in transit !
  • Reply
I'm nearly 6 years out from face and necklift .... I think of it more as a head tightening rather than a facelift ... Muscles along Jawline, around my ears , back of head, temples and side of head all feel tight as piano wires and/or inflamed ... Massage makes my face and scalp ache and brings on stinging / burning above the ears... Was referred by my ps to a pain specialist who prescribed baclofen for muscle spasm (useless - not in spasm just pulled too tight) pregabalin for stinging and burning (horrible drug). Now I live on codeine and ibuprofen which gets me through the day :-(. Am going to consult with another to ask whether revision or reversal is feasible or advisable - I have to explore every possible treatment - this is now about retaining my sanity rather than pandering to vanity :-(.
  • Reply
I do read comments when they pop up but have not posted for quite some time. I am 3 1/2 years post op now. When I read my first post I can still feel the desperation and regret I felt for so long after having the surgery. It took over 2 years to feel somewhat like myself again. I had thought that perhaps I was over-tightened, but I see that the pulled, overly tight feeling is really common and to be expected...only no one ever tells us that before the surgery. The strangulation sensation I felt for so long was almost unbearable and I am so happy that it is gone. I do, however, constantly feel that I have a pair of glasses on top of my head which many times is the case, so there are times I touch the top of my head only to find there are no glasses, just my tight head LOL. There is still some pulling on my neck down the sides of my jaw as well, which I have become used to. The "new normal". I prayed for the very gravity that caused my decision to get surgery to return and loosen my muscles and skin which it eventually did (a bit). Thanks to my wonderful dermatologist, the discoloration is minimal now and some collagen has returned . I get IPL treatments and, ironically, the filler in my marionette lines which I went for in the first place and still needed after the facelift. I have been massaging my face with various serums morning and night for three years now, and wear a lot more makeup than I did before the surgery. I do get compliments on my appearance and have had no serious health issues, thank God. It's just that, as Carol99 said, I wanted to make my later years happier but instead I had almost three years of discomfort and regret. I think I had a good surgeon because I still look like me and no one has asked if I did something to my face other than to ask if I lost weight because I lost my fuller cheeks. I just think that I agreed to more surgery than I needed and was not a really good candidate in the first place. My heart goes out to all of you who are experiencing pain, discomfort and regret. PBelli, we have been on the board for a long time and I had so hoped to hear that all of your nerve damage and problems had resolved. Liphook, you should be fully recovered after 6 years and I pray that you find a treatment that offers you some relief. I so wish I had some good advice for you all to help alleviate your suffering. I have two daughters who, after seeing what I went through, have sworn never to let anyone put a scalpel to their face. Best of luck and good wishes to you all. Love, Springup
  • Reply
Hi Springup, The discoloration you mentioned, was it initially bruising that never really went away? I have awful discoloration along my jawline and right above and below it. I am day 26 post op (most say waaaay too early to tell anything as things will resolve). I have been so patient I feel...took all the right things before and after, rested, hydrated, don't smoke..I haven't seen a major change day to day in awhile...but,it is getting better. I promise myself I will not look in the mirror, but give in. The area in front of my left ear is still irritated but sllllooowwwly healing...ps not concerned.He says patience and time for this of course. He is right, but I have been holed up in my house for almost 4 weeks!!! I never wore a lot of makeup...I did this so I could wear less eventually....geesh. I am with you, I would never do this again, even though I can see how great a job he did. The swelling, horrible bruising (everyone is different, now I know, never again), loneliness, insecurity and worry are not worth it. I have had Botox before (like it) and Juvederm (twice) and bruised badly for that too, with a different ps. I was hoping that by taking Arnica, Bromelain, Vit C, etc. before would alleviate the bruising. I have lumpiness in my right cheek and jawline, but it is getting better with the fingertap tapping. Thank you for listening...I don't know how people can get "hooked" on this! I had a lower facelift and necklift. Very good job...he did SMAS. I actually found myself getting angry reading an article in a magazine yesterday about the new trend "the ponytail lift" ....they just go in right on top of the ear and pull some back. Made it sound like a lunchtime excursion! lol
  • Reply
Hi Kittarwen, It sounds like you do have bruising which I think should fade gradually. I had what is called hemosiderin staining. It took sooo long to fade. Now I see a little darkness under my eyes on my cheekbones, which I believe is due to the fact that my skin is closer to my bone than before and casts that sunken shadow. Cover up has become essential. I used to have more volume to my cheeks, which gave me a more youthful appearance. Now I am more sculpted looking and it took a while to get used to that. My jaw line and neck are both pulled so tight that I don't have any jowls or loose neck and don't expect to until I'm like 90 LOL! I get Juviderm in my lower face to give it a bit more volume and fill in lines. The truth is that some people bruise and swell more than others. I also had SMAS and neck tightening. What a heck of a journey this was. I am very relieved that I did not really ruin myself, which was my big fear for a long time (I actually had panic attacks over it and felt so self conscious). It sounds as though you are healing at a normal rate and will get better each week. My Doctor did tell me that the healing process would not be complete for almost a year, and that my results would get better and better with the passing of time. He was right about the passing of time but unfortuately each month felt like a year. Ponytail lift sounds way too good to be true. Sounds like using a twist tie on a garbage bag! I do wish you well and I so love that this forum is a place to find some comfort and advice and encouragement among kindered souls.
  • Reply
I'm nearly 6 years out from face and necklift .... I think they should refer to it as head tightening rather than facelift ... The muscles around my jawline, around my ears, back of head, temples and up the sides of my head are tight - running my fingers over them I can feel they are raised as if swollen or pulled tight like piano wires. I start everyday taking codeine and ibuprofen just to get going and to take the edge off the discomfort ...have been prescribed all sorts of meds including baclofen for 'muscle spasm' (it's not in spasm, it's just pulled too tight in my view), pregabalin for burning scalp, and anti depressants ......all useless..... I have regretted every single day since having my surgery - chose one of the UKs most 'respected' and recommended surgeons ! Am going to consult with another surgeon to get a view on reversal or revision ... Don't know if it would help to release all the sutures or even if it's feasible or what the implications of doing so .... But I have to have some hope of relief :-(. If you're fortunate enough to not have yet had surgery, take my advice and learn to love yourself as you are .....
  • Reply
Liphook, so sorry to hear of your situation. I could've written your comment except that I'm "only" 2 years out from a mini-FL & neck lift and I can't manually feel the raised muscles like you can. Has yours gotten any better at all in the 6 years or do you have some good days? Sometimes my situation is completely tolerable, not normal but more or less OK; other days it drives me nuts. I've tried a laundry list of medications, acupuncture (horrible experience), months of neuromuscular massage, even Reiki & energy healing. Nothing works EXCEPT a low dosage (.5 mg) of Klonopin (generic is called clonazepam.) It's not a perfect solution because it's a schedule 4 controlled drug and some people have addiction problems with it & if you take it too often you'll become tolerant to it. I take it a few days per week for the last 1.5 years and so far I haven't needed to increase the dosage. Don't know if you've tried it or if you are able to get it in UK but it's worth a try if you can. Also I've heard that marijuana is one of the few substances that reliably helps this kind of nerve/muscle pain. I haven't tried it because I don't live in a state where it's legal & I've never smoked anything in my life, including regular cigarettes. Also, as crazy as this sounds, I've found that wearing a headband or pulling my hair back helps with the discomfort, God knows why. I feel this surgery that was intended to give me a little boost going into the later years has actually transformed my life for the worst. Please post again or send me a private message to let me know if you find any relief. And I agree with you 100% -- if you haven't had plastic surgery yet, DON'T.
  • Reply
Hi carol ... It has changed rather than improved .. When one issue resolved another became more apparent ... As stinging and burning subsided and numbness decreased so the tightness and muscle soreness seemed to increase ? Worst decidion of my life - like you this procedure was meant to improve my later years rather than ruin them ... I've spent 5 years taking all sorts of Meds and nothing has really helped ... The tightness going up the sides of my head from the ears is the most upsetting thing - there's no slack/ movement in my scalp at all - if you know what I mean ? So long story short - things have changed rather than improved :-(. Sometimes I wish i could just cut through the tightness for some relief - sounds dramatic but it just becomes overwhelming some days ... I retain my sanity by cycling ( like u it helps to wear a tight cycling helmet) and going to the gym and having a really tough workout just to divert my thoughts for an hour or so ... Never tried clonazepam but will google it got more info ... Thinking of u ....
  • Reply
Hi all ....Does anyone have cervical stenosis? or have any of you thought about something else that the rough surgery may have caused? I had herniated disc problems for years and it was chronic pain along with fibromyalgia. But after what was supposed to be an easy neck lift the pain of my neck turned into horrific nerve pain which is indescribable. I believe its possible that it basically caused my reason now for having cervical surgery with disc replacement due to the trama the plastic surgery caused. My doc did not really care about the pain issue. Most of what I had has fallen out and I could never try that sugery again so i am stuck with it and I need my eyes repaired- just had the puffiness removed with no idea he would change the shape of my eyes. Anyway you might think outside of the box to check if your pain is being inhanced with something else. Not that ripping your face open isn't enough to deal with. Hope you are all better. I hope it just seems endless but it is NOT and will end. Also wondering if anyone had their ear lobe tied up into a knot with stitches probably to serve as an anchor because I had such minimum sirgery that it was not enugh to hold up what it had to hold up> almost 18 months and my ears are still horrible. Thanks best and warmest wishes to you all. mj
  • Reply
I am sorry. has it ever occurred to you that something else is wrong? Turns out I had cervical stenosis along with all you described and having surgery sept 5. See if you can get an MRI by telling them you think something else may be wrong. best wishes.
  • Reply
A neck lift surgery recovery is pretty straightforward than you think. I had mine from Dr. Joseph togba’s clinic in Oakland. I experienced 1 n half weeks of swelling and bruising. My doc recommended to sleep with my head elevated to speed up the recovery process. I wore a really bulky dressing for few day and after that I was given an elastic compressive bandage to use. I was allowed to engage in activities after 6 weeks only. Zoeyclare, there is nothing to worry. Healing process is different for people, be cool and everything is going to be alright for you. Best of luck for the surgery and a faster healing. Stay blessed!
  • Reply
interesting attitude. You were very lucky.
  • Reply
Ok, I'm totally freaking out over these reviews. I'm having face and neck lift with fraxel on May 20. Did I make a mistake? I am about 4 weeks post op tummy tuck, breast lift with lipo on hips and felt 100% in just a few days. I figured the face would be pretty simple after all the other work I just had done. I know everyone heals differently, but I'm not reading many positive reviews. I'm hurting just reading! I pray you all heal soon.
  • Reply
I don't know this for sure, but I would think that if you did so great with your procedures that you will do just fine with your face lift. Please keep us posted. I think you mostly see people on here that are having issues and need to talk to someone. At least that is the case for me. Wishing you the best, Leslie
  • Reply
It sounds like you are a fast healer! The fact that all my bruises last a long time, not just my facelift but all bruises linger is an indication that I heal slowly at this point in my life. I bet you will be fine, keep us posted.
  • Reply
I think that this forum tends to attract those who have had complications or prolonged healing issues, and probably shouldn't be viewed as a neutral sampling of overall facelift outcomes. What you're reading here are not reviews, they're responses to a specific forum topic. Facelift reviews on this site show an 88% favorable rating, which is quite high. That said, I think it's important to read plenty of both positive and negative experiences, so that you're entering in with eyes wide open. Most important to a successful outcome is your selection of a surgeon. Do not even think about having a facelift without carefully, thoroughly scrutinizing LOTS of your prospective surgeon's before and after pictures. Pay close attention to incision placement and how scars heal, whether or not the hairline is significantly altered, how the neck and jawline look, whether results look "natural" while still showing dramatic improvement, etc. A surgeon who is great at body work may or may not be expert at facial surgery, and vice versa. A facelift surgeon should perform LOTS of face and neck lifts and be well-versed in the different approaches (as should you), and able to customize them to address individual anatomy and aging issues. Be wary of trademarked or gimmicky names for types of facelifts, and know that a mini-facelift may deliver mini-results with just as long a healing period as a full lift. Find out what your surgeon's revision rate is, and try to talk to a couple of patients who have undergone the procedure. And last but certainly not least, the face is far from "simple" and in my opinion warrants the MOST meticulous, prodigious research and preparation. This is your face, after all! The wrong vector of pull, poorly planned lift, or bad scarring, for example, can leave a very unfortunate result that can be difficult to deal and live with. Odds are you will do great and be thrilled, but those odds are increase exponentially if you have done very thorough homework in your selection of an expert facelift surgeon. Good luck, and please report back!
  • Reply
Hi Zoeyclare, thanks for the well wishes. Since you asked I'll tell you my story -- please bear in mind that everyone's experience is unique and by no means am I suggesting that you will have the same outcome that I did. First of all I had an excellent surgeon - 20+ years doing facelifts, no negative reviews on the internet, double board certified,very nice person and trained at one of the best ps centers in the US. I was 60 when I had a mini-lower face and neck lift two years ago -- a 90 minute procedure under local anesthesia in his office. I was very healthy and never had a sick day in my life. All I can tell you is that since this surgery my health & quality of life has declined dramatically. From the very day after surgery I had excruciating pain around both ears as well as intense pain throughout my head(like a vise). The pain in the head situation SLOWLY resolved over 16-18 months but I still have moderate pain and pressure around both ears which I'm fairly certain I will have until the day I die. (Google "permanently altered sensation around ears after facelift.") As I understand it, this is not a common outcome but it's not rare either.(Plastic surgeons never mention this as one of the risks.) As far as the aesthtetics, everything was fine -- scars were virtually invisible after 2 months, no bruising or swelling, but, nonetheless, I wish everyday that I had made a different decision. It's an awful feeling to not be comfortable in your own skin anymore. Anyhow, I wish you the all the best & sincerely hope that you have a better experience than I did. Please let us know how things work out for you.
  • Reply
Sallisu2...... We have had close to the same EXACT experience! We could be twins.....with the exception of the outcome of my dissatisfaction of my surgery. Nerve damage, especially around the ear area is, unfortunately, one of the most life long injuries from facelifts that we are not informed of during our search and interviews of the BEST PS's available. I agree with Cac47...it is unethical to with hold this information. 24 months and it is still as painful as the day of surgery. This is my new normal as well.
  • Reply