Swelling after a facelift is normal and expected. On average, patients can be presentable (with makeup) in 14 days. I don't recommend video appearances for 21 days and flash photography for 3 months. These are averages and so there are patients on either sides of these numbers.
In general, if you have a fuller face, you have more soft tissue than most so you'll hold on to fluid longer and have swelling after facelift longer. If you tend to bruise easily, your body has to clear the bruising so that will increase swelling in the area of the bruise more than average. Patients who have a robust immune system and heal well sometimes will swell even more because it's trying to do it too quickly and it will then take the fluid, from the increase in resources over a short period of time, time to dissipate and increase swelling after facelift. Thicker skin individuals, such as african-americans, asians, hispanics, and oily caucasians, will sometimes take longer to return to normal as well since thicker skin is like having a thicker sponge so swelling takes longer to resolve. Each person is different, but, on average, most people can plan on 14 days for noticeable swelling after facelift and to be presentable, with makeup.
In the end, the lymphatics, or drainage system, of your face has been interrupted by the surgery and recreating all these small vessels takes time and, in general, most people feel they look they're best around 3 months. Having said that, you are presentable at 14 days as almost 60% of the swelling is improved by then and 70% will improve by 6 weeks and then 80% around 3 months, on average Healing tissue takes a full year to mature in any part of the body so the last 20% will take 6-12 months depending on the person.
You can improve swelling after facelift by keeping your head elevated the first 2 weeks, applying cool compresses religiously the first week, minimizing activity after surgery, minimizing salt intake 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery, using a steroid pack from your doctor, using a prescription version of arnica montana, and minimizing medications that can make you bruise 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery such as aspirin, ibuprofen, herbal supplements especially green tea, gingko biloba, flax seed, fish oil, and multivitamins, especially those containing Vit E. Participating in lymphatic massages 10 days after the facelift can also help mobilize the fluid and minimize swelling; have a lymphatic massage once a week until the swelling has resolved.
Each patient is different and swelling may resolve at a different rate depending on the patient’s individual healing rate
While for most patients the majority of the
swelling after a facelift resolves after two weeks, with further minor swelling
lasting for another few months, each patient is different and swelling may
resolve at a different rate depending on the patient’s individual healing rate,
the type of surgery done, after care, and more. I would encourage your mother
to visit her surgeon for a follow-up visit to make sure that everything is
healing properly. I hope this helps.
It can be. Facelifts can remain stiff and swollen for up to a year although this is rare. Lymphatic massage is offered through our practice aesthetician which helps in most cases.
Results Vary Between Patients
I'm sorry to hear that your mom is still experiencing
discomfort after her facelift. Although it's uncommon for these symptoms to
persist for 4 months after surgery, it does happen. It doesn't sound like your
mom is at risk of any dangerous complications, but the symptoms you're
describing are probably worth a call or visit to her surgeon's office. The
staff there is more familiar with her case and can recommend different
therapeutic options to help ease her symptoms. Best of luck!
How long does swelling last?
The resolution of swelling occurs in stages and is different in different patients, depending on the technique performed and the tissue quality of the patient. A 'simple' subcutaneous facelift probably has the least swelling, while a deep plane or subperiosteal facelift probably has the most. Similarly, patients with thick skin and 'heavy' faces tend to hold on to swelling for longer than patients with relatively thin skin. On average, most people are presentable, with makeup, around 3wks after surgery. Notable swelling will still be present for 6-8wks, and by 3mo the vast majority is gone. However, there is still probably 10-20% of swelling present at 3mo that can take the rest of the year to resolve. Swelling is dynamic with activity and increases with activity (normally .. even without surgery) .. so if you are very active you will swell, and given the surgical area is still healing, that swelling tends to stick around longer than it normally would. I hope this is helpful
Swelling after face and neck lift
Thank you for your question for sharing your concerns with us. Swelling and numbness 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 she continues to follow up with her plastic surgeon during this period of time, especially if she is finding that her neck range of motion is limited.
Swelling after Face Lift and Neck Lift
Some swelling and bruising is to be expected. Bruising is treated with Arnica, an herb that will be
provided by our office. Swelling and bruising is maximal at 48 hours post-surgery and gradually subsides
over the following 10-14 days.Your final results will occur between 6-12 months. Do not compare your progress with that of other patients. Remember that everyone’s healing process
is unique. Also, if you have any questions or concerns, call your physician.
Swelling and some stiffness is normal
The rate of swelling really depends on the extent of surgery and your recovery rate. Once the majority of swelling goes away, residual swelling subsides very gradually and most patients don't notice when it's totally gone because it's so gradual. This generally takes about a year. However, I recommend your mother sees her surgeon if she is in serious discomfort. Best of luck.
It is generally the rule that the majority of facial swelling is gone by 4 months. In certain cases, especially with advanced deep neck techniques, the occasional patient can take longer - up to a year. Continue with your aftercare visits.
How long does the swelling last after a face and neck lift?
In our practice with the techniques that we employ, most of the swelling is completely resolved at 3-4 months. Depending upon the skin type, techniques used and postoperative course, there are several issues that could be going on such as seroma/ hematoma formation and lymphatic edema. It also depends on what type of suture techniques were used in the neck. Best to check with her original plastic surgeon.
For many examples, please see the link below to our facelift Photo Gallery