How long should you wear the elastic face tensioner after a neck and face lift? What is it's purpose?

Doctor Answers 16

Facelift Compression Garment

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Thank you for your questionPlease get your plastic surgeon to advise on their recovery protocol and voice your concerns.  I do not used chin compression garment as I strap my patients chin up using a technique which is as effective as a compression garment.  This reduces any sign of seroma.  My patients will wear this until they return for their follow up appointment (7 days later).
All The Best 

Compression garment

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Each surgeon has their own preference for compression dressings after a facelift. Their purpose is two-fold – one is to keep the skin and fascia compressed to their face and neck after a lift and second is to decrease the amount of swelling and fluid accumulation that may occur with the effects of gravity. On the first day of surgery, we start with a larger compression dressing using medical grade cotton and gauze dressings, then after we switch to terrycloth elastic head bands. We have our patients where these elastic bands 24hours/day for the first week then after that only at night time.  I hope this is helpful for you, best wishes!

Corey S. Maas, MD
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

What is purpose of tensor bandage around the neck after a facelift?

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Using a tensor bandage or a sling after your facelift is common. I would say the majority of surgeons use some form of these, however like everything in medicine there is some disagreement. 

I do use one as I do feel it helps reduce swelling and ensures you have good contact between the skin and underlying tissue. Another very important reason is that it applies slight pressure and may help reduce very small amounts of blood collection under the skin. If this happens, it can result in small areas that look like deep scars.

Now, all these points could be argued but, the risk of using a bandage is VERY low. My opinion is given the very low risk as well as the fact that most people do not find them too uncomfortable, the risks outweigh the benefits. 

I hope this was helpfull.

James Bonaparte, MD, MSc, FRCSC
Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

James Bonaparte, MD, MSc, FRCSC
Ottawa Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Facelift Compression Garment

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Thank you for your question.  We recommend to our patients to wear the compression garment 24-7 for the first 7 days.  The garment can be removed to shower but needs to be replaced immediately.  The next 14 days, the compression garment needs to be worn to sleep in only.  The purpose of the garment is to help reduce swelling and decreases the accumulation of fluid.   The compression garment is important because it assists with the overall healing process.  Happy Holidays!

R. Scott Yarish, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Compression garments after facelift

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In general compression garments after facelift help support the face/neck while there is still some swelling, and they help put mild pressure on the skin. If not used properly they can cause ridges and indentaiions, so review with your surgeon very carefully how to use one and also ask him/her for their specific protocol and time of use.  Best wishes.

Below is a fully healed facelift patient. 

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Compression garment after face lift.

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Each surgeon has their own protocol for the use of compression garment after surgery.  Some use them and some don't.  The strap after a face lift is intended to help the neck skin conform as it contracts back under the chin and jaw.  Also, It may help decrease the accumulation of fluid in the neck after a face lift.  Be aware, some surgeons don't use straps or any dressings following a face lift.  There is no one right way of doing this.

Todd C. Case, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon

Wearing support garment after face lift

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Kia-ora and thank you for you question about a face lift.

  1. The purpose is to reduce swelling and keep you comfortable.
  2. You should follow the advice of your own surgeon because every person and operation is different
  3. I let my patients wear them as long as they find they help with comfort and swelling.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
I hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes.

Support strap after facelift

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I like using an elastic support strap after a facelift/necklift.

My patients have a fluffy cotton bandage on for the first 24 hours, then we switch to a much smaller version of of a fluffy cotton head wrap for the next 24 hours.

After that I just have them wear the elastic support strap without any additional cotton padding.  I use an elastic strap that is similar to what most other surgeons use.  It goes under the chin along the neck and then extends vertically over the cheeks with two velcro pieces that rest on the top of the head (one directly on the top and the other further back closer to where the strap on a baseball cap would sit).

I like for patients to wear this support strap as much as possible in the first week, but I encourage them to take some breaks from wearing it so that it does not become annoying or irritating on the skin.  In week 2 after surgery I like for patients to wear the support strap when they are sitting around the house, watching TV, sleeping, etc.  However, they can go without it when in public.  

After 2 weeks it becomes more optional.  I encourage patients to wear it occasionally when awake and encourage them to wear it when sleeping for another 2 or 3 weeks.  Some patients really feel a great deal of added security from the support strap and choose to wear it even longer.

In week 1 the support strap is helpful for keeping swelling down.

In weeks 1 and 2 it is also important for keeping the skin that has been elevated in contact with the deeper layers so that everything heals in place as planned.

The body continues to heal and the tissues strengthen underneath the surface for another month or so before things are really healed in place, so that is why I have found that continuing to wear the strap occasionally for a few more weeks has been helpful for most patients.

The key is that there should never be excessive tension or pressure with the support strap.  It should only counteract the force of gravity and weight of the skin to gently keep things in position.

David W. Rodwell III, MD
Charleston Facial Plastic Surgeon

Post-op instructions very from surgeon to surgeon

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Hi there,

As a rule I do not employ compressive facial/neck garments after face/neck lift. My one exception is to counter oedema (swelling) in the neck and particularly under the chin after an extensive neck lift involving platysmaplasty. Should this oedema develop I have my patient wear the garment at night for up to 6 weeks.

I hope this helps...

Kind regards,


James Southwell-Keely, MD, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon

Chin Strap After Facelift

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An elastic chin strap is commonly used in the first week after a facelift, but the duration and timing of use will vary from Surgeon to Surgeon.  The purpose of the strap is to provide mild compression between the skin and underlying tissue during the early postoperative period.  I instruct my patients to use it for the better part of the first week.  If the patient is experiencing irritation or difficulty with the garment, I will have them discontinue its use sooner.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 104 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.