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How Long Should Swelling and Numbness Last After a Facelift?

recently had a lower facelift, necklift, fat injections in nasafolds. 6 weeks postop still swollen and numb. Is this normal, and if so how, long before i am completely healed?

Doctor Answers (41)

Healing after a facelift

+6

I usually tell patients to expect about 10 days to two weeks for bruising to resolve after a facelift.  Many times it can be earlier, but I have heard so many patients say that "I am a good healer and will be less", and then it is still 10-14 days, that I want to be realistic and conservative.  I have also experimented with different aspects of the lift, including bigger, bulky dressings, tissue glue, and/or drains and none of them have appreciably improved healing time over other means. 

The swelling is typical, and begins to create a horizontal fullness to the face through the first week.  The second week the face looks more like patients expect, but can still be heavy or masculine along the jawline. By about a month, the face takes on a more natural, heart shape that showcases the strengths of a rejuvenating facelift.  But there is clearly swelling to the incisions, jawline, and neck to three months.  As swelling resolves, gravity draws it lower in the face.  So the jawline and neck take longer to resolve than the cheeks.

Madison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Swelling and Numbness after Facelift

+5

Numbness is a normal part of the recovery after Facelift and most will resolve in 6 - 8 months after surgery.  Some areas of numbness, like the cheeks, fade more quickly. Others like the stitch lines themselves take longer, maybe 18 months or longer.

Swelling will mostly dissipate within a few days to a couple of weeks, but some spots, like around the internal stitches in the cheeks and under the chin will take longer. Some of these areas of swelling are subtle in appearance, not so much noticeable by others, but may be felt as firmer spots under the skin.

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Face Lift Numbness and Swelling

+5

It is normal to have numbness around your ears after a face lift. Normal sensation typically will return within 3 months, but can take up to a year if not longer in a select few. As things return to normal, you may experience some sharp shooting pain, tingling, or even the urge to itch the skin. Return to normal will not be that far off if you start to experience these symptoms.

Swelling may also take a while to resolve, but typically residual swelling may be confined to certain areas, not the whole face. Many patient will actually feel more swollen than they physically manifest. This is like when you walk out of the dentist's office, the lips are numb and feel like they are huge, but they are not. The same applies to the face; when it is numb, those areas will feel more swollen than they actually are. But even in the presence of identifiable swelling, it may take months to resolve. 

Dubai Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Swelling after a facelift

+5

The swelling and numbness following a face lift typically are most notable for the first 3 months but may take up to 6 months prior to achieving a stable appearance. The numbness may continue to resolve over a period of 2 years.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Normal Swelling and Numbness After a Facelift

+4
Recovery times after facelift procedures depend upon the extent of procedures performed and often takes up to a year before numbness and swelling completely subside.  In patients with "thick-full faces" that undergo liposuction, often the recovery and swelling persists longer than in those patients with thin faces.  Normal swelling and bruising that other people can see generally subside within 3-4 weeks, with most patients socializing at the end of two weeks.  Numbness is variable in all patients, and unless some permanent nerve injury was suffered, patient experience fleeting numbness that seems to normalize at 3-6 months, with generally complete return of all sensation by the end of a year.  This is not gospel though, and numbness can last longer.
In your case, the degree of swelling and numbness that you are experiencing I suspect is not abnormal, and you can expect further swelling when the fat injections are introduced to the equation.  I would recommend you discussing possible lymphatic drainage by a physical therapist or some possible ultrasound treatments to the cheeks and neck to help reduce lingering fluid, but you must be careful not to affect the fat that was injected to add youthful volume to your face.  There is little to be done with regards to your numbness, try to be patient as sensation will return eventually.
Good luck.

Web reference: http://www.shapiroplasticsurgery.com/surgical-procedures/face.php

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Swelling and numbness after a face lift

+3

I usually tell people that most of the healing including swelling, numbness will be 60% complete at 6 weeks and 90% around 6 months. The nerves grow at a maximal rate of 1 mm per day. but is usually slower than that in my experience. Taping, pressure dressings, steroids orally or injections could work.

Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Recovering from a Facelift

+3

Swelling and numbness are both to be expected, of course, after a Facelift. Of the two, it is the swelling (and bruising) that keeps people out of work/circulation. Most of my patients are able to go back to work in about 7-10 days as 70-80% of the swelling will have resolved. The remaining swelling can take 6-8 weeks more to fully resolve. The numbness takes longer to totally resolve (even up to a year in some case), but in the majority of cases, the numbness is a non-issue after about 3-4 months.

Dr. Y

Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Swelling and numbness are two different things

+3

Swelling is different with different techniques. Deep plane swelling is far worse and lasts much longer than a SMAS procedure. Numbness is a result of separating the skin from its nerves. The nerves  regrow in 3-6 months after surgery.

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Swelling and Numbness in Facelift

+3

It really depends on the patient.  The majority of the swelling resolves by around 6 weeks.  But the ultimate result may take 4-6 months.

As far as the numbness goes, it may take 6-12 months for complete return.

Good luck.

Web reference: http://www.feplasticsurgery.com/orange-county-facelift-newport-beach.php

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Swelling and Numbness after Facelift.

+2

You are still early in the post operative course.  Everyone heals at a different rate. Also, did you have any bleeding under the flap, or any other issues?  It takes weeks to months to finally see the swelling go away.  This goes for the nerves as well.  Nerves do not like to be pushed or otherwise messed with.  They may take their time coming back.

Web reference: http://www.jjrothmd.com/procedures/facelift-necklift

Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 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.

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