How long does it take to heal from a Facelift and Necklift?

I am four months Post Op from having a Face and Necklift. I still have tenderness, soreness and tightness behind my ears. How long does it take for this to heal?

Doctor Answers 21

Post op healing timetable

Since everyone heals at her own rate, it's hard to say. Most patients will see a significant improvement at 6 months post op but it may take up to a year for your face to fully resolve. If the swelling gets worse, however, schedule an appointment to see your surgeon to have your face assessed in person. Hope this helps.


Kouros Azar

Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Facelift/Necklift Recovery

Thank you for your question. 

Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. In facelift surgery, the costs vary quite a bit from a mini facelift to a complex facelift with forehead lift, eyelid surgery and perhaps an implant or laser resurfacing. Please see our Payment Options page under About Us.

We always present our plastic surgery consultation patients with a “fee quote.” This fee includes:

    • Surgeon’s professional fee
    • Facility fee
    • Anesthesia fee

It does not include any laboratory tests, preoperative examinations, garments or postop prescriptions. Best of luck!

Dhaval M. Patel 

Double Board Certified 

Plastic Surgeon 

Hoffman Estates 




Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

It's Worth Consulting With Your Surgeon

Usually, tenderness, tightness, and soreness will resolve within 2 months. I do not know if you had open wounds with delayed healing, but I would consult with your surgeon. This is unusual. With time, your symptoms should resolve, but when they are this prolonged, the process will be slow. I have seen several patients for a second opinion with prolonged symptoms. Sometimes massage, ultrasound, physical therapy, or other treatments can improve the situation. Although it is a difficult problem, symptoms have always improved with time in my experience.

Thomas A. Mustoe, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

You're Experiencing Normal Sensations

Thanks for your question. The localized tenderness you're feeling is quite normal, even 4 months after facelift surgery. The incisions and surrounding areas are usually the last part of the face to fully heal after surgery. As long as the pain is not severe enough to prevent you from enjoying your regular activities, there's no cause for alarm. If you still don't feel an improvement after another month or so, though, please reach out to your surgeon. Best of luck to you.

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Recovery after facelift

There are a couple of ways to answer your question. I tell patients that they will be out and about in public in 7-10 days, with cover-up make up. I call this social recovery. It takes an additional six months or so to completely recover to the point that there is no tenderness or swelling

Ben Lee, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Healing After a Facelift and Necklift

Every patient heals at their own pace. On average, I find that most of the visible signs of surgery have resolved in the first 1-2 weeks after surgery. This may vary based on patient medical issues, the type of face/neck lift performed, and how well patients follow the pre and post-op instructions. The healing that takes place underneath the skin can take up to a year.  That being said, it is worth a visit to your surgeon to take a look at any underlying causes of the soreness that you are feeling such as inflammation of the incisions. 

Mark Karolak, DO, FAOCO
Bridgewater Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Healing Often Takes 6 Months or More

Healing following a facelift involves multiple stages, and it can take 6 months to a year before short-term side effects completely disappear. Swelling, bruising, and numbness typically resolve earlier in the healing process. The areas behind the ears may remain tender, sore, and tight for 6 months or more. The recovery process is gradual, and it can be difficult to be patient. If the symptoms persist for several more months without any noticeable improvement, you should consider contacting your plastic surgeon. Best wishes for your continued recovery.

Thomas McNemar, MD, FACS
Stockton Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

How long does it take to heal from a face and neck lift?

Thank you for your question.  Generally speaking it can take 6 months to a year to completely heal from a facelift.  That said, everyone heals at a different rate.  Numbness, swelling and tightness are all very normal symptoms to have after a facelift.  Make sure to follow up with your surgeon for regular visits.  
Best of luck,
Dr. Hisham Seify

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Facelift post op

It can take up to 6 months or so to heal completely from a facelift.  But everyone heals differently at a different rate.  So, although it may be difficult, be patient and let time pass.  In the meanwhile, I recommend that you continue to follow up with your surgeon.  Good luck and hang in there~

Sunny Park, MD, MPH
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

How long does it take to heal from a Face lift and Neck lift?

I would expect by six months you should be completely healed and seeing the end results of your face lift procedure.  Continue to be patient and consult with your surgeon if you have any concerns. Best of Luck!

Michael Sullivan, MD
Columbus Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 88 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.