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I Had a SMAS Facelift 2 Weeks and 3 Days Ago. Swelling/Numbness Normal?

Swelling/numbness has accumulated mostly alongside stitches & jawline & although the swelling is even on both sides the swelling feels dense, thick and kind of hard-ish. Is this normal? Also, I have these slight dents under my cheek bones that I believe is caused by a combination of wearing compression @ night & where majority of swelling begins. Is this normal? I have good things to report about my recovery: bruising is gone. symmetry is good. No pain. & an indication of results to expect.thx

Doctor Answers 10

SMAS Facelift Swelling and Numbness

Swelling and numbness after a SMAS lift can last for several weeks. Many surgeons will do facial fat injections at the same time, so the swelling can be more dramatic and take longer to resolve. By 3-4 weeks, you should expect most of the swelling to resolve. Being just 2 weeks post-op, swelling and numbness are common. Numbness can last for several months.  Some contour irregularities are common, but usually resolve with time. Good luck.


Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

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SMAS facelift 2 weeks and 3 days ago. Swelling Normal?

Hard to say anything without photos. You are too early to make any statements about long term results. There will be swelling, and some contour irregularities.  One has to also look for fluid accumulation, etc. Best to inform your surgeon about your concerns. Together you will make a plan to get through the post operative course.

Jeffrey Roth, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Normal facelift recovery

It's seems that your recovery is normal. There is always some swelling and bruising. Some experience more than others. There is always some temporary numbness especially around the ears and under the chin if a platysmaplasty was performed. I find that it takes about 3 months before it really isn't noticeable. Firmness of the skin around the ears takes about 3-6 months to soften but it's typically not noticeable after 2-4 wks post operation. Compression is usually only needed for less than a week.  

Justin Yovino, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Swelling and Numbness 2 Weeks after SMAS facelift

   It sounds as though the results are quite good from your description, and numbness and swelling early can be quite normal.  Pictures would be helpful, but dents and depressions tend to even out with the swollen areas, particularly if you are wearing compression that covers part of the area and not the other part. Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Swelling and Numbness Normal after SMAS Facelift

The symptoms of swelling and numbness are not only normal but expected after the first few weeks following a facelift of any sort  including a SMAS lift.
Patients should expect swelling, discoloration, and bruising of the skin for several weeks following a SMAS  face lift.  Individuals vary a great deal in their response, but commonly the patient will be presentable within 3 weeks. 

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Swelling After SMAS Facelift

What you are experiencing is very normal after only 2.5 weeks of healing time post surgery. You are right in that the "dents" are most likely a combination of swelling and wearing the compression dressing. The numbness is due to a disruption of the cutaneous innervation and should resolve with time. I would suggest making sure that you attend regular follow ups with your physician to ensure that you are healing properly. It's a great sign that the bruising is gone and things are symmetrical.

Carlo Honrado, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Swelling and Numbness are quite normal after a facelift

There are many different techniques and procedures that are all lumped under the term "facelift". A SMAS facelift typically describes a medium to short scar facelift that relies on manipulation of the facial muscles and their coverings. Whenever the skin is separated from this underlying layer there is going to be transient numbness. The swelling is the body's response to this manipulation and actually is part of the healing process. By three weeks about 80% of the swelling has subsided. Using ice postoperatively along with certain medications like Arnika and Bromelain can limit the swelling and bruising and help with a quicker recovery. Typically the bigger the surgery (i.e. full face and neck lift with fat grafting), the longer the recovery and the more swelling. Hope this helps.  

Giancarlo Zuliani, MD
Rochester Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Facelift results

The more swelling and numbness the better the result,  be patient and talk to your doctor

James Apesos, MD
Dayton Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Swelling/Numbness 2 Weeks after Facelift

What you describe is normal 2 weeks after a facelift. Swelling is variable and only your surgeon can tell you if he/she expected what you're experiencing.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

I Had a SMAS Facelift 2 Weeks and 3 Days Ago. Swelling/Numbness Normal?

 I have performed numerous versions of Face Lifts for over 25 years and the amount of swelling is highly variable based upon how invasive the Face Lift was.  I typical use a minimal incision Face Lift that addresses the SMAS but has limited tissue dissection, very little swelling and a rapid recovery.  You should ask the plastic and cosmetic surgeon that did your Face Lift is that amount of swelling is typical for his/her Face Lift procedures.

 Numbness is very common after a Face Lift.  Tissue dissection, during a face Lift, disrupts the cutaneous sensory nerves causing the numbness.  This usually resolves in several months.

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