3 1/2 mos post op lower Facelift and Necklift. What is causing this pain and discomfort?

fit 67 yr old female. pronounced facial swelling more left side than right. extreme tightness, like wearing tight diving mask. face feels: sun-burned, pins/needles, rug-burned. Bumps (tender to touch), indentations mid to upper cheeks. Feel sutures at temples/ear lobes-painful to touch. Housebound. Live 200 mi from PS who wonders about RSD reaction due to my previous 8 yr history significant pain from cervical stenosis/fusion+ cochlear hydrops all left side. PS says "b patient". Ideas?

Doctor Answers 7


If you could share pictures that might help, but mostly you need to see someone. If not your surgeon a doctor in the area. Take care of yourself.

Birmingham Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Facial swelling and pain 3 months after surgery

There are a range of possible explanations including a viral infection, sensitivity to the internal sutures among them.

If you cannot see the plastic surgeon who operated on you - which ideally you would - is there a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon nearer who will see you? This is not the usual recovery and sounds distressing. A cause should be determined and treated as needed.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Pain 3 1/2 months after a facelift is extremely uncommon.

Pain can originate from a number of sources so the information provided does not allow for diagnosis. He certainly should have situation worked up is most facelifts are accompanied by very little discomfort even right after the operation.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Many problems after Facelift

Your symptoms and complaints are rather complex. Although some could be normal (pins & needles), others are unusual. If you do not want to travel to your plastic surgeon, see somebody locally to be evaluated. 

Frank P. Fechner, MD
Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Pain and Discomfort after Facelift

Dear corvair, thank you for your question.Swelling after a facelift may persists from weeks to months, causing bumps or asymmetries to appear. In San Diego, we monitor our patients closely for one year to address any issues. Follow up with your surgeon to check if this is swelling versus something else and if treatment is indicated. Best of Luck.

Roy A. David, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Pain and swelling after facelift

Nerve pain and sensitivity can occur after a facelift and last for many months even up to one year. Swelling or sutures can affect nerves causing numbness or sharp shooting or burning pains. Areas of firmness or scar tissue with mild swelling can persist for about 6 months. Our faces are naturally asymmetric, and sometimes one side heals faster than the other. I would again see your plastic surgeon or get another opinion to make sure everything is healing normally. Usually with time, these symptoms do continue to improve so it is important to be patient as well.

Hayley Brown, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews


Some lumps and bumps three months out from the surgery is still a possibility as you are still healing. Hard drive lymphatic drainage? Another possibilities local reaction to the stitch that was used for the facelift. Your surgeon will be the best person to advice you how to manage this.

Vartan Mardirossian, MD
Jupiter Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 37 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.