I Had a Facelift 2 Months Ago and Have a Lateral Sweep on the Right Side of my Face? (photo)

After a facelift 2 months ago I have a lateral sweep or "Nike swoosh" on the right side of my face extending from the corner of my mouth and sweeping upwards under my cheek. My surgeon blamed the condition of my skin for this outcome and after telling him how concerned and depressed I was about it he told me I was being over dramatic. His method of dealing with this problem has been injecting restylane to try to camoflague the swept up skin and he has told me that I have to wait for 9 months. Looks like a Nike swoosh.

Doctor Answers 13

Lateral sweep (Nike swoosh) after lower facelift

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First off, thank you for providing photos. It is likely that this will improve over time but it's unclear how much improvement you can expect. Time will definitely tell. I would recommend against fillers to camouflage this while you heal. You would require enough volume of filler that it would make your lower face look heavier and unnatural. Massage will likely be beneficial as well and should not interfere with the lift itself. I hope this continues to improve for you over time. I would discuss with your surgeon the possibility of revising this result if it does not resolve on its own. If they do not acknowledge your concerns, I would recommend seeking a second opinion.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Consider second opinion

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Hello. It is hard to evaluate your result based on this picture alone. However, it appears that you do have a lateral sweep deformity. This usually occurs when a facelift is done without addressing the underlying SMAS or by directing tissue vectors in a totally vertical direction. At two months from surgery, it would be difficult to imagine this problem would correct itself. I would recommend you talk to your original plastic surgeon and discuss the possibility of reoperation. If he disagrees, I would then consider a second opinion. Hope that helps.

Marcelo Ghersi, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

I Had a Facelift 2 Months Ago and Have a Lateral Sweep on the Right Side of my Face?

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I would like to see a before photo in same view if possible. It appears as the surgeon's judgement or his/her technique was faulty. The vector was off by 3 degrees to the upward sweep. Unfortunately as Dr Mayer starred fillers will do little. Reoperation after 6 months with wider direction and lateral vector pull is the one options. But I might in the meantime try fat grafts could alleviate some of the sweep effect. Sorry for your issues. Was the surgeon a boarded PS?, Was the operation in a center or clinic (i.e. LSL?)?


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Firstly I have not seen your preops and am not sure whether you have irregularities beforehand.

I am not sure what type of facelift you have had - where are your scars? and how much undermining of the face and neck skin was done. It would appear that there is skin tethering and a tunnel effect that has been created. This may be tethering due to stitches - did your surgeon use barbs or threads? Barbs and threads can lead to irregularities like this and is common when the face/neck skin has not been lifted fully off the underlying layers where stitches etc are placed.
I am unclear why your PS is using filler - I am concerned that the filler could be making things worse.
I would get a copy of the operative note, your photos and ask for a second opinion. 

Gary L. Ross, MBChB, FRCS
Manchester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 177 reviews

Nike Facelift

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I am sorry for your experience.  It is best to wait at about 6 months.  Seek other opinions concerning a secondary facelift.  Restylane injections are a waste of your time.

Dr. ES


This is simply an inartful facelift.

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The difference between this facelift and one with less sweep (and necessarily less pull) is judgement.  There is a limit to tightening that is different for every face.  It is determined in part by skin quality, bone projection, and facial fullness.  Facelifting is an art of limitations.  It is essential to make the most of what one has without over doing it.  Can your lateral sweep be improved?  Well, time will help this certainly.  However you may also benefit from fat transfer and chemical peeling.  Your current surgeon is likely to be the most motivated individual to help you with this situation.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Lateral Swoop after facelift requires revisional surgery

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Facelifting requires deep understanding of vectors of pull. Unfortunately, if the side is pulled to tight in a lateral vector, without supporting it with an upward vector, a lateral swoop deformity can occur. No amount of filler can correct this. It is possible that it improves over time, but this takes many years and basically means that you are waiting for the results from your facelift to go away.  The only way to correct this is to redo the facelift. you will need to wait about 6 months before having another surgery. Sorry.

Correction of the lateral swoop deformity ("Nike" deformity) in facelift surgery

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The lateral swoop problem results, quite simply, from the side of the face being lifted up and the center of the face not being lifted.  This creates a "hanging curtain" appearance.

No amount of injections can overcome the lateral sweep problem:  the simple physics still apply of something being lifted on the side, and not in the center still applies, even after fillers.

Often the lateral swoop deformity goes hand in hand with loss of the sideburn (or excess elevation of the sideburn), and problems with the ear configuration and the posterior hairline.

It is possible to correct or reduce this problem with two maneuvers:  first, redoing the facelift with a technique that does not pull primarily up at the temple.  Second, performing a cheek lift.

Patients never like to hear that they may have to undergo another facelift to fix or reduce this problem, and they should certainly weigh whether it is worth it to incur considerable expense with a new doctor when their neck might look quite good.  Patients may perceive their results of a complex revisional surgery as subtle given the money they have spent.  So it is a highly personal decision.

For some patients, it is preferable to wait 5 - 10 years or so when some looseness starts to recur and then redo the facelift with an eye to correcting the lateral sweep effect.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Lateral sweep after facelift.

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Lateral sweep after facelift is treated after 6-12 months by redoing your facelift. Injections probably will not do much.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Need for underlying support with facelifting

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It appears that more artful (multi-vector) under-supporting of the soft tissue below the skin would have given a more youthful and natural fullness to the "apples" of your upper cheeks and thus prevented this sweeping of the overlying skin layer.  However, at only two months out, you may well still see satisfactory resolution of this concern in the coming months through natural healing alone.

David Hartman, MD, FACS
Dover Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 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.