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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 83

Face Lift Numbness and Swelling

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. 

Lone Tree Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

9777 South Yosemite Street
Lone Tree, CO 80124

Healing after a facelift

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.

Kevin Robertson, MD
Madison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

3205 Glacier Ridge Road
Middleton, WI 53562

Swelling after a facelift

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.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

880 W Central Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60005

Swelling and Numbness after Facelift

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.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

2050 E County Line Rd
Highlands Ranch, CO 80126

Swelling and numbness after a face lift

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.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

1810 116th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

Recovering from a Facelift

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

Haresh Yalamanchili, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

7700 San Felipe St
Houston, TX 77063

Swelling and numbness are two different things

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.

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

170 East End Avenue
New York, NY 10128

Swelling and Numbness in Facelift

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.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

10861 Cherry Street
Los Alamitos, CA 90720

Swelling and Numbness after Facelift.

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.

Jeffrey Roth, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

9280 W. Sunset Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89148

Duration of swelling and numbness after facelift

 Visual is bruising and swelling after a facelift has subsided in approximately 10 days. Minor swelling and numbness typically lasts three to four months after a facelift procedure. The majority of numbness and swelling is gone in about four to six weeks, but it can take upwards of several months for all of it to completely subside and go away.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

1101 Madison St
Seattle, WA 98104

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.