How Long Until Swelling Is 100% Gone After Face Lift?

I am 54 yo lady. I have done my face lift, eyes & neck in October last year and already 3 months now. All going good. I am satisfied and happy with the results. Just I still have a bit swollen/puffy on my cheeks (bottom). My question is: For how long does swollen will be gone and normal again?... Thanks for answer. Mrs HO Australia.

Doctor Answers 54

End Date For Facelit Swelling. How long does it take to be 100% there?

I tell my patients the following.  Most look ok and can get back to work and play at 2 weeks but they will need to accept the fact that confidentiality is not possible at 2 weeks.   Dont plan for the annual photo for at least 3 or 4 months but then most look fine.   Swelling is quick to dissipate 60 % in the first 2 weeks but then the long wait begins.   Avoiding salt and sleeping with head elevated helps.  Occasionally I recommend diuretics for a boost in swelling reduction.   By 3 months most have 80% of swelling gone.  Buy 6 months 85 to 90 % is gone.  The last 10% can take most of a full year.  There are huge differences in people.  I have been amazed at how some swell so little and some so much.   A GREAT TRICK is to go on a very low salt diet starting 2 weeks prior to surgery.  Try to not go over 1500 mg per day.  Read all labels. It is not easy.  Once you have a load of Sodium abaord it takes 4 or 5 days to get rid of it.  Remember the cause of swelling.  Surgery disturbs your little lymphatics.  There are zillions of these little veessels.  Enough to stretch to the moon in one person.  Until they reconnect and function, the surgically damaged tissue will hold fluid because of poor lymphatic drainage.  When lymphs reconnect, swelling disapates.  You will be fine.  Sodium is your enemy in the interim.  My Best.

Swelling after a Facelift-Depends on What was done !

With most Facelift techniques including those which alter the  SMAS, most of the swelling is gone after 3 months , however, if you had a deeper layer or had a Mid-Facelift via the lower eyelid and cheek area, it may be prolonged for several more months.  In general, you will see more prolonged swelling if you manipulate the central face or cheek area .  The swelling will go away with over the next 3 months .

In my patients, I need to have them back to work in 10-14 days in most cases so I use an outer cheek area SMAS facelift and central facial fat compartment restoration using the patient's fat to replenish the deep facial areas which lose fat with facial aging

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

How Long Until Swelling Is 100% Gone After Face Lift?

The answer will be different for everyone, but it would not be uncommon for you to still have some swelling at 3 months after a Facelift. Swelling disappears gradually over time, and for many patients will not be totally resolved for 6 to 12 months. This is true for all surgeries, not just face lifts.

Mark Preston, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Swelling after facelift

Swelling, to a minor degree, is resolving for up to one year, in my experience, perhaps longer.  Delayed re-establishment of lymphatic drainage, in my opinion, is responsible for this.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Swelling after a Facelift

Great question and I think no one really knows the answer. In our practice for all intents and purposes we think in terms of three months before swelling is gone and we are able to either re-operate or call it a day and take postop photos. That does not mean however that if you looked under the microscope there would not be some swelling present in the tissues – there would be. This particularly true for areas like the nose or even secondary procedures where swelling takes longer to go away than it does in other places for primary procedures.

Robert K. Sigal, MD
Reston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

How long for swelling to disappear after facelift

There is no exact time frame to give you but what you are describing is not unusual: You look good but you know that not every is fully healed.

In the average patient, a small amount of swelling still remains - even after 3 months. BUT this is usually not noticable. The patient (and surgeon) often can tell because the facial tissues still feel firm.

But there are outliers from this generic rule. Some people just retain a little more fluid for a longer period of time. Also, if the facelift was combined with other facial procedures (such as eyelid lifts, fat grafting, skin resurfacing etc), there may be a cumulative effect with slightly more swelling at 3 months. And the type of facelift (deep-plane, short-flap, long-flap, mini etc.) can have an influence and represents an additional variable.

Frank P. Fechner, MD
Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Swelling after a facelift

At three months after a facelift, msot of the swelling should be resolving, but like you said there is still some residual swelling wh\ich may take 6 months to a year to improve.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Length of time for facelift swelling to resolve

There are two issues when it comes to swelling: one is edema (fluid in tissues) and the other is fibrosis (scar tissue deposition). Overall healing may take up to two years to resolve and/or stabilize but generally speaking we evaluate results at 6 months.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

How long before swelling disappears after a facelift

Every person is different, and that is why we like to individualize each case.  Usually between 3-6 months after the surgery, you get to see almost final results, but keep in mind that the normal healing process takes between 9-12 months.  This is for any surgical procedure.

Alberto Arguello, MD
Costa Rica Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Swelling after surgery

The amount of swelling that you get after surgery depends on how much disruption of lymphatic channels have occurred.  In operations where a "flap" of skin is elevated (such as a face lift, rhinoplasty, or abdominoplasty), the flap will remain swollen for some length of time after surgery.  Some operations actually created multiple flap layers (SMAS flap face lift), and each layer will have swelling issues.  While the swelling may last over a year, for most regions of the body this will not be clinically relevant.  For instance, most people do not notice 1mm of swelling on their abdomen 3 months after a tummy tuck, and the same holds true for the face.  1mm of swelling on the nose might be very noticeable (especially if the desired changes were on the order of 2-3mm), and swelling will be clinically relevant for a year or even two.  For most face lift techniques, 6m to 12m are sufficient to see resolution of swelling.


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.