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Hard Swelling and Brusing on Lower Cheek After Face Lift Three Weeks Ago

My wife had a face lift three weeks ago. After first week, returned to Dr's office, he noticed abnormal swelling on Lower cheek that was hard and bruised about 3cm x 4cm in size) it swelled out about an inch from the rest of her cheek. Was told to do nothing about it. Stated that the hematoma should go down and not to worry about it. My wife dosent want a picture taken, due to the size of the swelling. All I am asking if this is normal. Im just trying to get info and help her out...Thanks

Doctor Answers 12

Swelling after a facelift, bruising with swelling, seroma, hematoma

Swelling that has occurred after a facelift will often be seen in the cheek or neck area.  This is usually either a hematoma or a seroma( the liquid part of blood).  I will usually recommend letting the fluid resolve over a period of time, and this may be as long as several months.  If you desire a quicker resolution to this problem, ask your Plastic Surgeon if there are any other options, such as a needle aspiration of the fluid or limited suctioning.  There may be some stretching of the skin initially, but surprisingly the skin oftentimes will tighten down after the fluid has been removed. I hate to advise you as to whether ice or heat will be of some value in resolving this swelling.  Ask your surgeon which he or she recommends at this early time.


Good luck, and realize that this problem will eventually go away.

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Swelling after facelift

Uniform swelling and some bruising after facelift can be expected.  However, asymmetrical swelling or excessive bruising is unusual and must be investigated.  While hematomas usually occur in the first hours to days, it is possible to have a delayed hematoma.  Your surgeon can drain the fluid in the office.  However, if they are unsure of the diagnosis, then they can arrange for an ultrasound guided drainage. 


Good Luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Possible hematoma

Each situation is unique and only your surgeon knows the specific details of your procedure and should be the person commenting on post-operative questions such as this

Sam Naficy, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Face lift swelling in lower cheek that is hard 3 weeks after a facelifting procedure

Swelling at 3 weeks is not unusual. At this point you likely have around 40% of your healing. We usually tell people that they will have 60% of their healing / recovery complete by 6 weeks, 80-90% by 6 months. 100% can take as long as 2 years. This is based on wound healing studies and tensile breaking strength of a heal wound.

This area is likely an old fluid / blood accumulation that has settle into this lump. A 3 weeks, it is possible that this fluid could be aspirated but likely it is hard and full of inflammatory tissue and collage build up. Steroid injections would be my first thought along with pressure dressings and judicious taping.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Hard swelling 3 weeks after facelift

  I vote that this is probably a hematoma, just like your doctor said, and that it will almost certainly resolve with time (think 3-6 months).  I think you try not to worry, reassure your wife and that continued observation and patience is the answer.

Lawrence Kass, MD
Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Hard Swelling and Brusing on Lower Cheek After Face Lift Three Weeks Ago

A small amount of blood clot or hematoma is not an uncommon finding after a facelift.  There is truly nothing to worry about at this point based on the size of what you are seeing besides giving it time and patience.  All will be well once your wife is farther out from having a major procedure completed.  I would not recommend reexploration AT ALL 3 weeks after surgery.  She should do great.  Cheers!  Dr. Shep

Shepherd G. Pryor, MD
Scottsdale Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Brising and swelling after a facelift

A firm area of swelling along with bruising indicates a hematoma. If this is small it may liquefy and respond to aspirations, however this seems a little too large, and if left alone can leave permanent deformities. I would ask your surgeon about evacuating the hematoma. This can sometimes be done with a very fine liposuction cannula, without having to re-open the entire surgical incision. Good luck.

Johan E. Brahme, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Hard, raised swelling 1 week after Face Lift

If there was a raised, hard swelling at 1 week after a Face Lift, IMHO, it's one of three things.

  1. A deep this case, a needle aspiration would reveal bright red blood indicating an active bleed, dark red blood from a previous bleed that's now a dissolving blood clot, or nothing that means the blood clot is recently formed and not yet liquified.
  2. An accumulation of clear fluid with needle aspiration that indicates a salivary leak into the tissues.
  3. A localized infection that yields yellowish, brown fluid with needle aspiration.

There are small portable ultrasound devices that can help break up these hard lumps and bumps with repeated treatments.  If the area is still raised and hard, you may consider having another postop visit with your Face lift surgeon.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Bruise after facelift

You are describing what is likely not a bruise but a small hematoma which is a collection of clotted blood. When one of these forms each surgeon uses his/her own judgement on how significant they are and how aggressive to treat them.  Large expanding ones need to be opened and drained. Smaller ones can be aspirated or allowed to organize and resolve on their own. This approach can take 6-8 weeks and have a firm area during this time. Talk to your surgeon about how/she anticipates this progressing and what if any other steps are planned.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Large facelift hematomas should be promptly drained.


What you are describing is pretty large, and may leave a deformity.  Three weeks is pretty late, but drainage may still be indicated.  An ultrasound of the area may help choose best management.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 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.