Ice After Facelift

I had my SMASS facelift (and upper eyelids) done 4 days ago. My cheeks are very swallen and hard, and I wonder for how long is it helpful to use ice pads to reduce bruising/swelling. Can the skin stretch considerably from prolonged swelling? One side of the neck is very bruised, but not swallen like the cheeks. I am 49 y.o.

Doctor Answers 17

Okay to ice after facelift

You appear to have a normal amount of swelling at the 4 day postoperative point. Ice is most helpful in the first 2-3 days after surgery but it is okay to continue using it if you want. As many of the others have mentioned it is important to protect your skin from the ice pack so as to not harm the skin.

It isn't uncommon to have asymmetric bruising. This usually resolves during the first 10-14 days after surgery. Sleeping with your head elevated at least 30 degrees can help with the swelling, especially in the first few weeks.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Ice after Facelift

Swelling and numbness after a SMAS lift can last for several weeks. Using ice will often help minimize swelling. Many surgeons will do facial fat injections at the same time, so the swelling can be even more dramatic and take longer to resolve. By 3-4 weeks, you should expect most of the swelling to resolve. Being just 4 days post-op, swelling and numbness are common. Numbness can last for several months.  More swelling on one side is common, but usually resolves with time. Good luck.

Steven L. Ringler, MD, FACS
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Ice After Facelift

These are issues you need to speak to your facelift surgeon about as everyone has different protocols; generally I like warm compresses starting 3-4 days after surgery.

Babak Azizzadeh, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Recovery after facelift

It is normal to have some degree of swelling and bruising after a facelift and upper eyelid surgery. Your photos look pretty normal for being 4 days out from surgery. The bruising typically lasts 7-10 days, and the swelling is the worst the first few days after surgery and then gets better with time. Icing is helpful for the first few days after surgery, but be careful NOT to place ice or icepacks directly on your skin. Your skin will not have the same protective sensation after surgery, so place a towel between the ice and your skin, and ice for short periods at a time. Also, you can take supplements like Arnica Montana and Bromelain to help with swelling and bruising. Elevating your head at night also helps prevent further swelling.

Anita Patel, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Facelift Recovery Protocol

Thank you for your question.

Here is a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” in my opinion I would advise my patients to help recovery:

  • Do use a cool pack on the incisions as this will help reduce any residual fullness.
  • Do continue with painkillers if required, as around 5% of patients will have some ear pain which will settle within a week or two.
  • Do shower and hair wash daily.
  • Do resume normal activities however avoid vigorous exercise or heavy lifting for 2 weeks post procedure.
  • Don’t apply any make up, moisturiser or oils to the incision line until advised by us.
  • Don’t allow pets of any variety to share a bed with you and avoid allowing pets near your face for the first four weeks after your procedure. Allowing pets near your face has the potential to result in an infection. However being vigilant will help reduce this risk.
  • Do be vigilant with hand hygiene.
  • Do notify us immediately if you have any concerns or notice any increased redness, heat around the incision or if you have any discharge from around the ear.
Once you have seen your plastic surgeon for your follow up, they may advise on when you can start massaging the incision areas and the best technique to use. They may recommend the use of scar improvement oils such as Bio-oil.

All the Best with your recovery!

Amir Nakhdjevani, MBBS, MRCS, FRCS (Plast)
London Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Ice After Facelift

Throughout the #facelift #healing process you should be seen frequently by your doctor and one of their registered nurses to ensure you are following instructions properly and your recovery is going well. The healing process in general can take up to one month for the majority of swelling to subside, incisions to close, sutures to come out, and for bruising to completely go away. Ice can certainly help reduce the swelling.
#Recovery time from a #facelift varies from person to person, but patients can generally expect to be presentable within three weeks from surgery. Patients should expect swelling, bruising, and discoloration of the skin during this phase of recovery (swelling normally goes down after 48 hours; most bruising will go away within two weeks). The marks from a facelift can easily hidden with “camouflage” make-up which you can learn how to apply.
The scars from a facelift mature within six to twelve months from the surgery date. It is during this time that the rejuvenating effects of the facelift will become apparent and the real result will be seen.
If you have certain concerns about the procedures and #healing process, it is recommended to call your board-certified surgeon or their medical staff and discuss those #concerns.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Swelling and Ice after Facelift

Swelling after a facelift increases for the first 3-4 days, then plateaus for a day or two, and by the time you return to have your stitches out, you will notice the swelling is improving.  Swelling and bruising usually takes 12-14 days to resolve, though there are people who take longer or shorter to recover.  Every patient bruises differently and bruising can be asymmetric as can swelling.

Mike Majmundar, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Swelling after facelift

Thank you for your question for sharing your experience and photos with us. Your swelling appears very normal at this point after surgery.  Your swelling and firmness in the tissues will return to normal as time passes by. Between the first and second week, much of your swelling and bruising will dissipate. It may take more than a month or two for your tissues to fully soften and any residual swelling to resolve. Lymphatic massage maybe an option to help clear the swelling and firmness at a faster pace. I would make sure that you continue to follow up with your plastic surgeon during this period of time.

To ICE or not to ICE after facelift?

Dear patient :    We always caution our facelift patients to be very careful with ice after facelift.
The face is numb, post op and ice can be a problem since the feeling does not l00% returned for several months.

You may burn your skin.   We suggest gel packs provided in our hospital (not a clinic). You are there for 3 nights in a private room. We suggest you use the gel packs for one more week while you recuperate at our private retreat.

We had a patient staying the normal 10 days at our retreat last week;she used ice after being told not to and almost had a problem but our staff saw what she was doing and stopped her immediately.

Ice after a face lift

It is best to check with your surgeon to make sure it's okay to apply ice after facelift. In our practice, we do not have patients apply ice, since the cheek area is  numb, and you cannot get feedback to make sure you're not frost biting yourself.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 126 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.