recently had a lower facelift, necklift, fat injections in nasafolds. 6 weeks postop still swollen and numb. Is this normal, and if so how, long before i am completely healed?
How Long Should Swelling and Numbness Last After a Facelift?
Doctor Answers 128
Face Lift Numbness and Swelling
It is normal to have numbness around your ears after a face lift. Normal sensation typically will return within 3 months, but can take up to a year if not longer in a select few. As things return to normal, you may experience some sharp shooting pain, tingling, or even the urge to itch the skin. Return to normal will not be that far off if you start to experience these symptoms.
Swelling may also take a while to resolve, but typically residual swelling may be confined to certain areas, not the whole face. Many patient will actually feel more swollen than they physically manifest. This is like when you walk out of the dentist's office, the lips are numb and feel like they are huge, but they are not. The same applies to the face; when it is numb, those areas will feel more swollen than they actually are. But even in the presence of identifiable swelling, it may take months to resolve.
Swelling and numbness after a face lift
I usually tell people that most of the healing including swelling, numbness will be 60% complete at 6 weeks and 90% around 6 months. The nerves grow at a maximal rate of 1 mm per day. but is usually slower than that in my experience. Taping, pressure dressings, steroids orally or injections could work.
Recovering from a Facelift
Swelling and numbness are both to be expected, of course, after a Facelift. Of the two, it is the swelling (and bruising) that keeps people out of work/circulation. Most of my patients are able to go back to work in about 7-10 days as 70-80% of the swelling will have resolved. The remaining swelling can take 6-8 weeks more to fully resolve. The numbness takes longer to totally resolve (even up to a year in some case), but in the majority of cases, the numbness is a non-issue after about 3-4 months.
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Healing after a facelift
I usually tell patients to expect about 10 days to two weeks for bruising to resolve after a facelift. Many times it can be earlier, but I have heard so many patients say that "I am a good healer and will be less", and then it is still 10-14 days, that I want to be realistic and conservative. I have also experimented with different aspects of the lift, including bigger, bulky dressings, tissue glue, and/or drains and none of them have appreciably improved healing time over other means.
The swelling is typical, and begins to create a horizontal fullness to the face through the first week. The second week the face looks more like patients expect, but can still be heavy or masculine along the jawline. By about a month, the face takes on a more natural, heart shape that showcases the strengths of a rejuvenating facelift. But there is clearly swelling to the incisions, jawline, and neck to three months. As swelling resolves, gravity draws it lower in the face. So the jawline and neck take longer to resolve than the cheeks.
Swelling after a facelift
The swelling and numbness following a face lift typically are most notable for the first 3 months but may take up to 6 months prior to achieving a stable appearance. The numbness may continue to resolve over a period of 2 years.
Swelling and Numbness after Facelift
Numbness is a normal part of the recovery after Facelift and most will resolve in 6 - 8 months after surgery. Some areas of numbness, like the cheeks, fade more quickly. Others like the stitch lines themselves take longer, maybe 18 months or longer.
Swelling will mostly dissipate within a few days to a couple of weeks, but some spots, like around the internal stitches in the cheeks and under the chin will take longer. Some of these areas of swelling are subtle in appearance, not so much noticeable by others, but may be felt as firmer spots under the skin.
Swelling and Numbness in Facelift
It really depends on the patient. The majority of the swelling resolves by around 6 weeks. But the ultimate result may take 4-6 months.
As far as the numbness goes, it may take 6-12 months for complete return.
Recovering from a Facelift (Swelling & Numbness)
In my experience, a proper lower facelift will have mild swelling at best which is resolved within two weeks.
Numbness from a facelift can be broken down into two different parts of the face. The first is region of where the skin flap was elevated. When the skin is elevated off the underlying soft tissue structures, all the millions of nerve fibers for sensation underneath are detached from the overlying skin. Every one of these nerve fibers will re-attach over the following several months back to normal.
The second area is the ear itself. The nerve (the greater auricular nerve) that provides sensation for the ear starts in the mid-neck over the large muscle called the sternocleidomastoid muscle. In elevating the skin over the area of this nerve, it can be “bruised” so to speak. Nerves are extremely delicate and even the lightest brushing against them can cause them to “go to sleep”, even though it has not been cut. In this case, it can result in temporary numbness of the ear itself, but will recover if truly not cut. This type of nerve can take up to 18 months to recover, but in most instances is much quicker than that.
Hope you found this answer helpful. All the best!
Swelling and Numbness following Facelift
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.