Swelling or Sagging in Jowl Area After Facelift?

I am six weeks out from face lift and submentoplasty. Swelling in jowl area is starting to recede and now one side seems to be sagging. How can I tell if this is swelling/puffiness from the surgery or if it is a return of jowl sagging where it wasn't totally corrected. Will the skin tighten when the swelling subsides?

Doctor Answers 8

Swelling or Sagging in Jowl Area After Facelift

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The healing process in general can take up to one month for the majority of swelling to subside, incisions to close, sutures to come out, and for bruising to completely go away. #Recovery time from a #facelift varies from person to person, but patients can generally expect to be presentable within three weeks from surgery. Patients should expect swelling, bruising, and discoloration of the skin during this phase of recovery (swelling normally goes down after 48 hours; most bruising will go away within two weeks). When the skin is separated from the underlying tissues during surgery, small sensory #nerves are cut. Varying degrees of numbness will be present after surgery and will improve gradually as the nerves reconnect to the skin. This process can take from 2-6 months for face, neck and cheeks, and to 9-12 months for the forehead and scalp. Muscle weakness may also be present around the mouth especially if liposuction is used. This typically recovers fully in the months after surgery. 

As the nerves regenerate, the itching, burning, tingling and shooting #sensations will occur. Ice, moisturizers and gentle #massaging are helpful during this phase of the #healing process. Frequently there is a tight feeling in the neck, jawline and cheek after a facelift. During surgery, not only the skin but the underlying muscles are tightened to create a better and longer lasting result. Additionally, the #swelling will move downward in the first week and the neck will feel even tighter. Do not be alarmed: the sensation will decrease during the first month. 

Some degree of firmness or lumpiness under the skin is normal after surgery and will resolve with time. Local #massage of the areas may accelerate the resolution of this problem, which normally takes 2-4 months to disappear completely.
The marks from a facelift can easily hidden with “camouflage” make-up which you can learn how to apply. The scars from a facelift mature within six to twelve months from the surgery date. It is during this time that the rejuvenating effects of the facelift will become apparent and the real result will be seen. If you have certain concerns about the procedures and #healing process, it is recommended to call your board-certified surgeon or their medical staff and discuss those #concerns.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Swelling at the jowl region after facelift

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Thank you for your question for sharing your concerns with us. Swelling and firmness in the tissues will return to normal as time passes by. Between the first and second week, much of your swelling and bruising will dissipate. It may take more than a month or two for your tissues to fully soften and any residual swelling to resolve. Lymphatic massage maybe an option to help clear the swelling and firmness at a faster pace. I would make sure that you continue to follow up with your plastic surgeon during this period of time.

Face lift swelling / jowls returning after 6 weeks

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This is not uncommon after 6 weeks. At this point you likely have around 60% 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.

The recurring jowls could be swelling that could subside but it could be the recurrence of the jowling. There are many factors that lead to recurrence or longevity of your face and neck lift. If it is hard and slightly tender could be swelling that could subside. If it is soft and it could be the recurrence. I would have to see it for myself. I would consult with your physician to see what the next steps are. There are ways to help your swelling. We have a nice page on that below.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Swelling or residual jowls after a facelift

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It is too early to say at six weeks whether or not jowls are present or if there is just fluid retention in the jowl area. It is best to wait at least three to four months before making any final determinations if any revision facelift needed to further tighten the jowls.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Facelift should last a long time

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Depends on what type of procedure you had done. If it was a "quickie" lift, going by various names, the results could be less than ideal. If it was a traditional facelift, several layer, performed by a reputable plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of PLastic Surgery, the results should last quite a long time and surely not this short.

Edward J. Domanskis, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Swelling or sagging in jowl area after facelift

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Very unusual to see this. My guess is, because you did not post photos, a poor result. Go get a second opinion.

Good Luck from MIAMI DR. B

Depends on how your facelift was done

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Depending on the technique used for your facelift you may still find that there is swelling which will subside.

However, if there is still significant jowling after 6 weeks, it may be that enough was not done to correct the jowling in the first place.

At this point and depending on your level of confidence in your surgeon, you should see your surgeon in your regularly appointed visits to see what they recommend. If you are not getting the answers you need, you may then want to consider a second opinion in a few moths.

I  hope that helps.

Warm Regards.

Peyman Solieman, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Swelling after a Facelift

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Hi ,

Swelling 6 weeks after a facelift is unusual. Although occasionally one may have some residual clotted blood that may cause this. The swelling is usually associated with bruising. At this point your skin will not tighten but continue to loosen as the tissues relax.



Oleh Slupchynskyj, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 285 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.