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How Long Does Neck Lift Swelling Last?

I'm 6 weeks into my healing and I'm still very swollen under my jaw. When I came home from the procedure I was swollen like a watermelon it was enormous. The swelling is about half the size it was but I'm concerned because it seems to have slowed down and staying the same size since about a week 1/2. I still can't go out in public because the swelling is so noticeable. I'm worried that something might be wrong and I don't see my doctor till next week. What can I do to help with the swelling until I see him again or should I ask to see him early?

Doctor Answers (16)

Still swollen 6 weeks after neck lift! This is not normal!


"Half the size" of "enormous" or "like a watermelon" at 6 weeks post-op is concerning to me. How often have you seen your surgeon? Are you wearing an elastic chin strap to help reduce swelling and promote smooth healing? Are you sleeping with your head above heart level (sofa cushion under the mattress works great) to allow gravity to help reduce the swelling? Is there fluid or blood beneath the skin flaps?

See your surgeon, NOW, not at your next regularly-scheduled appointment. Even if everything is found to be "fine," you shouldn't have to be online seeking help with what is clearly out of the "norm!" Click on the link below to see a 66 year-old woman who had more surgery than you and is 6 weeks post-op in her "After" photographs. Case 3 shows a 73 year-old woman who also had more surgery than you and is 7 weeks post-op in her "After" photographs. These are just examples, but what you describe is potentially worrisome to a good long-term result!  Best wishes!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Neck Lift Swelling Following Surgery


Swelling following neck lift surgery varies from patient to patient and depends on the surgical technique and wound healing characteristics of the patient.  The majority of swelling usually resolves in about two weeks following neck lift surgery.  At this point, most patients can return to work and resume normal activities.  In most cases, total resolution takes about three months.  In rare cases, swelling may persist for up to six months following surgery.

It’s important to realize that more aggressive neck lift procedures cause more swelling, which can last for longer periods of time.  Elevation of the head and decreased salt intake may help decrease swelling after surgery.  Swelling is normal following surgery, but persistent or extreme swelling should be evaluated by your surgeon, especially if it’s accompanied by bruising. 

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

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Swelling after neck lift


Hard to say without photos or exam.  Your descriptions of "watermelon" size swelling are a unusual.  While you are still early in your post operative course, I would suggest contacting your surgeon and letting him/her know what is going on. 

Jeffrey Roth, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
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Swelling after Neck Lift surgery


Thank you for your question.

I always tell my patients that if they are concerned about recovery, to come in sooner (not wait until their next scheduled appointment) so I would recommend that you call your surgeons office and ask to be seen sooner.  Swelling is normal but a "watermelon size"? I am not sure.  Best to be safe and be checked by your surgeon as soon as possible.

Good Luck!

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
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Contact your surgeon and schedule a follow up asap


I would contact your surgeon and schedule a follow up consultation asap to ensure there are no problems.

Babak Azizzadeh, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
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Still swollen 6 weeks after Neck Lift and Lipo


My rule of thumb is 3 months for the neck to have residual swelling after lipo and/or a Neck Lift however, this depends on how active you were immediately after the procedure and remain today.  Increased activity within the first few weeks, IMHO, causes increased swelling that will take longer to resolve.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
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Swelling after neck lift


It is better to be safe than sorry. Contact your surgeon and request a follow-up appointment to be evaluated and ensure that you do not have a hematoma (blood) collection or seroma (collection of serum) which may need to be drained.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologist
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How long does swelling last after a neck lift?


Most swelling should resolve in 4 to 6 weeks after a neck lift or face lift.  If the swelling is lasting longer check with your surgeon this may be due to a seroma or hematoma formation (fluid or blood) which may be easily treated by needle aspiration.

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
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Neck swelling


The majority of swelling from a neck lift should dissipate after a few weeks.  If it truly is quite large, you should speak with your surgeon ASAP.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
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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.