9 weeks post face/neck lift bulge on the right. Is this normal? Is it going to resolve? I am very distressed (Photo)

Doctor Answers 7

Healing Concerns 9 weeks Post Facelift

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. #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). When the skin is separated from the underlying tissues during surgery, small sensory #nerves are cut. Varying degrees of numbness will be present after surgery and will improve gradually as the nerves reconnect to the skin. This process can take from 2-6 months for face, neck and cheeks, and to 9-12 months for the forehead and scalp. Muscle weakness may also be present around the mouth especially if liposuction is used. This typically recovers fully in the months after surgery. 

As the nerves regenerate, the itching, burning, tingling and shooting #sensations will occur. Ice, moisturizers and gentle #massaging are helpful during this phase of the #healing process. Frequently there is a tight feeling in the neck, jawline and cheek after a facelift. During surgery, not only the skin but the underlying muscles are tightened to create a better and longer lasting result. Additionally, the #swelling will move downward in the first week and the neck will feel even tighter. Do not be alarmed: the sensation will decrease during the first month. 

Some degree of firmness or lumpiness under the skin is normal after surgery and will resolve with time. Local #massage of the areas may accelerate the resolution of this problem, which normally takes 2-4 months to disappear completely.
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.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews


It appears that the way the skin was sutured in front and behind the ear allowed for some skin to remain under no tension on your cheek, resulting in this bulge.  A consideration may be given to raise the skin flap again and redrape it so this fullness is eliminated.  If it persists you could present this option to your surgeon.  Best wishes, Dr. T. 

John Michael Thomassen, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Small buldge after facelift

Thank you for the question and the photo. Without feeling the area or seeing the only side, I can only give you an educated guess... but I can think of two possibilities: 1) this is the area of a deep suture and you have a little inflammation or puckering in the area; 2) you have a small fluid collection or deep hematoma. In the first case, massage, warm compresses, and time will take care of it. In the second, a needle aspiration would be performed in the office. Please stay in touch with your surgeon. It is still relatively early in the recovery process. Take care!

Evan Ransom, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Ridge after facelift

From your photograph, and without seeing the opposite side, there seem to be two possibilities. One, is that the most tension along the skin is sutured to an area just in front of your ear making the area below it slightly more lax. A small fluid collection is also possible and can readily be discerned with an in office ultrasound. Your plastic surgeon, who knows what surgery was done, is your best resource for reassurance that this will dissipate over a few months. Hope this is helpful.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Face lift - will the bulges improve

Thank you for asking about your face lift.
  • I understand your distress -
  • But after 9 weeks, you are really still swollen from your surgery.
  • Irregularities are distressing but tend to improve dramatically with time.
  • Give yourself another 4 months to heal.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews


Regardless of the etiology, time is on your side. Many of these contour issues resolve or significantly decrease if you give it enough time. Continue to follow with your doctor and it may take several more months for these issues to subside.

Brian K. Machida, MD, FACS
Ontario Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 22 reviews


It appears that your facelift procedure was based entirely on skin tightening, rather than that of tightening structures under the skin and allowing the skin to drape nicely over the new structural enhancement.  The "pucker" at the temple is very tight and has caused  "trough" defect that extends down your cheek towards your mouth.  This in turn, has created a "bulge" or ridge in the adjacent area that looks like swelling, but I believe is related to the over pull, not swelling.The good news is that these should resolve in time.  But very, very slowly.  Gentle massage of these areas should help speed the process, but you will have to be very patient. 

R. Scott Yarish, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 39 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.