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Ripples After a Facelift - Is This Normal?

Had Facelift 3 Month Ago, and Still Have Ripples Around my Jaw Line and Mouth, is This Normal?

Doctor Answers 34

Rippling after facelift - how to avoid

Rippling after a facelift is more likely to occur if the "high on the side" vector was used to tighten skin.  In that case, the lateral lines of tension sweep upward on the side of the face.  Often loss of the sideburn and temporal hair go hand in hand with this approach.

The problem is worse in patients with sun damage creases, as the creases are altered in their destination and may be somewhat obvious.  Fractional laser resurfacing helps these as well.

A facelift can also be done with the deep tissue being restructured upward, while the skin is pulled in a more backward direction.  This avoids the high lateral sweep effect you may be referring to.

Another factor contributing to an upward sweep is if the midface is not elevated at the time the side the face is elevated; therefore cheeklifts can reduce the "Nike swoop" effect.

It is also possible that you are very early after your surgery.  Hopefully this is the case.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

Ripples After Facelift are Not Normal

Absolutely not normal. After 25 years and 3000 facelifts I would be appalled to see ripples with one of my results. Any problems related to surgical swelling should easily have passed after 3-4 weeks.


Rippling after a facelift is not an acceptable condition. There may be many causes. Some are minor and may resolve with time. Others may not. It is impossible to say without an examination what the cause is and whether this will resolve or not. I would recommend returning to your surgeon and asking for their help.

Marc Schneider, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Ripples after a Facelift

Ripples  after a facelift are not normal, but hopefully yours are  temporary. There are many possible causes, including underlying sutures, deep contouring after liposuction, or vectors of pull on the facial skin. Massage and ultrasound therapy are beneficial.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews


Ripples can be normal and will go away.  Massage, faciasl, time will help.  Remember the whole healing process takes 12 months.  I bet you will look great at 6 months.  Go discuss this with you surgeon, follow up is an important part of plastic surgery. There is much anxiety after plastic surgery and reassurrance from your surgeon help a lot.  Good Luck.

Ripples in the face after facelift.

These may resolve with more time. Is it "normal"? That depends on many factors but in 35 years of facelifting I have never had this problem, but I am usually doing a forehead lift at the same time which changes the "pull" vectors.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

What are ripples after a facelift

The only thing I can think was that you had superficial liposuction of the jawline at the time of the facelift.  Unfortunately these lines can be permanent.  All you can do is massage and see what happens.  I personally do not use liposuction on the face because of this risk going too superficial and making contour irregularities.

Ripples After a Facelift

Although it is hard to tell without seeing your pictures what you are referring to is possibly deep wrinkles and skin creases which are typically not corrected with a face lift

Sam Naficy, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Ripples after a Facelift are not normal

The facial skin should appear smooth and normal after a Facelift. Several factors can cause ripples to appear in the facial skin after a Facelift:

  • The direction of pull (Vector) of the skin during Facelift was too high toward the top of the head
  • The Facelift Scissors were passes too close to the underside of the skin injuring the fat immediately beneath the skin
  • Inappropriate fat was surgically removed beneath the skin during Facelift
  • Liposuction was performed on the face during the Facelift

Correction of an incorrect vector or pull requires surgical revision of the Facelift. Problems with lack of fat can be addressed with fillers or Fat Transfer or Injection


Ripples after facelift are not normal but not unheard of.

Ripples after facelift are not normal but not unheard of.  Thick skin, previous scar tissue, or adhesions may be the root cause.  We often recommend ultrasound therapy after surgery to improve this or speed it along.  If it is still there at this point, you should be doing some type of therapy to ensure it goes away and does not become permanent.

Ritu Chopra, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.