Cheek Swollen 2 Years After Facelift

I am 52 and had a full face lift and eye lift 2 yrs ago, the surgery took 8 hours and the right side of my face was quite bruised and swollen for quite some time. Now my right side is still quite a bit bigger than my left side, when I smile I look like a chipmunk on one side. Still have very little feeling in that cheek. Is there anything I can do? I did ultrasound for up to a year after the surgery. I also have very noticable scars on my eyelids. and the scars behind my ears still ache too.

Doctor Answers 18

Long term asymmetry and swelling after a facelift

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Your best best is to consult with several top surgeons who have considerable experience in revisional facelift surgery.

Your problem at this point is complex and will require great experience and judgment.

The correct solution (if there is a good one) will likely jump out at you during on of your consultations.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Face lifts move a very large area.

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It is important to understand going into a surgery what to expect.  Unfortunately not all surgeons are very good and communicating these issues and some patients are not do good a probing for information from their doctor.  The fullness you are describing is likely were the deep tissues were cinched up by your surgery to tighten the deep planes.  Some surgeons are more likely to have this issue than others.  Generally this is a very difficult issue to improve with revisional surgery.  Regarding the scars these can be revised but first you should try physical treatments with silicone gel, 5-FU or kenalog.  Abnormal sensations 2 years out may never full resolve.

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

Several possible solutions

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  • If your scars are still thick and do ache, they can be injected with cortisone.  It may take several sessions but the chronic ache will usually subside
  • The eyelid scar can be easily revised by removing the thick portion and the second healing is likely to be much better.
  • It is almost impossible to reduce the size of the swollen side, but the the other side can be conservatively augmented to create a better match.  Typically either Sculptra or Radiesse can be used. 

Hopefully this provides some help to you.


Dr. Mayl

Fort Lauderdale

Nathan Mayl, MD (retired)
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon

Assymetry after a facelift

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Essentially we are talking about a significant asymmetry after a facelift that has persisted.  The initial asymmetry may have been a hematoma which resolved over time but let some residual swelling.  The chip monk look may be the muscles of that portion of the face contracting over some scar tissue.  Your best option may be some judicious liposuction on the larger side to attain more symmetry.  The chip monk look may not be reversible at this time.

All the best,

Tal Raine MD FACS

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Swelling following facelift

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I am sorry to hear that it has take so long for the swelling to resolve.  You should see a surgeon who is an expert in facial surgery to recommend your best options.  Good luck.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Cheek Swollen 2 Years After Facelift

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It is very difficult to answer your question without seeing you in person and examining you - there are a number of possibilities here with different treatment options

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Facial asymmetry years after face lift

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Thanks for your question -

This sounds like there may be scar tissue from residual hematoma or fat necrosis.

The question is how best to restore balance to your face.  This may include fat grafting to one side or scar resection.  The key is to find a plastic surgeon familliar with facelift redos.  (Something we see a fair amount of in our San Francisco office.)

I hope this helps!

2 Years after a facelift

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The symptoms you describe are not common, I would also recommend consulting with a facial plastic surgeon or plastic surgeon that has experience in revision facelift surgery.  It is very helpful to review before pictures as oftentimes a facial asymmetry is present before the procedure was performed.  Best of luck, and let us know if you have any additional questions.

Richard Castellano, MD
Tampa Facial Plastic Surgeon

Yes, a revision facelift can help improve asymmetry

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Face lift and eyelid procedures unfortunately can some times lead to asymmetry.  Your story is a common one in that you likely had a blood or fluid collection on the right side and as it resolved, there was possibly increased scarring leading to the discrepency between the right and left side.  Revision facelift procedure can often help improve the asymmetry and impove outcome.

Babak Azizzadeh, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

8 hours is a very long time for a Facelift-swelling on one side at 2 years is a problem

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My guess based on your history is that you had excessive bleeding on the right side during your Facelift. You may have had a Hematoma, a collection of blood that was not drained or removed.

After two years a Hematoma forms a large lump of scar tissue which can be visible and palpable.

8 hours seems an unusually long time for your surgery which raises some questions in my mind.

I suggest that you consult an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who is experienced in Facelift surgery for a second opinion.

It is possible, if there is palpable scar tissue on the right side that a revision is possible.

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.