Five weeks post-op and ripply neck. (photos)

I am five weeks post op face and necklift with lipo underneath my chin. My neck is still swollen and ripply. I have had three medical lymphatic drainage massages but not seeing a lot of improvement. I was never given a compression strap. My PS just said I need to be patient. I am very concerned with the ripples. The upper portion of my facelift has healed very well and looks great. My neck looks awful. What do you all suggest?

Doctor Answers 11

Neck Irregularity after Facelift

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The changes in your neck are not unusual for this stage in the healing process. As others have stated, the neck is the most gravity dependent area of the face and edema can be slow to resolve.  The neck skin is also very thin and a small amount of resolving blood or fluid can adversely affect the early outcome. Remember, your bodies first response to injury is to heal quickly. It takes time for the body to "reorganize" early scar tissue making the neck appear softer, smoother and more mobile. That remodeling process can easily take 3 months and I don't think compression would hasten the process.  Best of luck.

Saint Louis Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Post op healing in the neck

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I know it's frustrating but the neck is often the last place to heal. This is partly due to gravity. The fact that your face looks great is a good indication that, in time, so will your neck, but for now, you just need to be patient and let your body heal. It may take anywhere from 6 months to a year for your final results. 


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Ripply neck

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Thank you for your question.  Patients may experience swelling and some asymmetry following face lift surgery for up to six months.  It is important to discuss your findings with your surgeon and to make sure your healing is progressing as expected. Best of luck. 

Michael Sullivan, MD
Columbus Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 112 reviews

Five weeks post-op and ripply neck.

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You are still early after your face and neck lift and I do think it is likely that the ripple will improve with time.Continued massage and lymphatic drainage is most important and improvement can take up to 3 months.

Ripply neck 5 weeks post facelift.

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Swelling is normal after a facelift and due to effects of gravity to swelling can settle most into the neck area.  Under your skin there is a scar forming and these scars can make the skin look rippled, creased or stuck in place.  As the scar matures and softens and the swelling decreases this usually resolves.  This may take another month or so.  Gentle massage may help but time and your patience will be most important.  Follow up with your surgeon regularly so your progress can be followed.


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The neck skin looks very edematous.  I would recommend daily massage you can do yourself several times a day.  A strap may be counterproductive at this point as it may impede lymphatic flow down your neck.  Some warm compresses may also help but be careful not to use anything too hot as your sensation may be blunted and you do not want to burn your skin.  Best wishes, Dr. T.

Swelling after facelift

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Considering you are only 5 weeks out from surgery, I would recommend patience. The last area where swelling resolves is low in the neck (due to gravity). You could try wearing a compression sling at night, but it should resolve on it's own.
Andrew Campbell, M.D. Facial Plastic Specialist Quintessa Aesthetic Centers

Andrew Campbell, MD
Milwaukee Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Post-op swelling

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As frustrating as it is, try to remain patient during this time. You are still quite swollen and should see further improvement over the coming weeks to months. The ripples will also likely improve over this time. Good luck!

Mark Been, MD
Barrington Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Face and neck lift - the neck is still and swollen at 5 weeks

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Thank you for asking about your face and neck lift.
  • Frustrating as it is, the neck swells a lot after a face and neck lift -
  • It varies a lot from one person to another and it varies with what was done.
  • A compression garment rarely makes a different and massage usually doesn't either.
  • This healing is a biologic process and hard to speed up -
  • The ripple looks as though it is from a drain - it will respond to a very weak injection of steroid.
  • I have had patients say that the little hand-held massagers bought on the internet are effective for overall neck swelling after a face lift..
  • However, your surgeon is right - swelling takes time and it will be at least 6 months to see your final result.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Neck ripple following face/neck lift

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This is common although somewhat longer lasting than I usually see.  It is likely to be cause by the drain placed after surgery and will therefore probably eventually go down.  As suggested, massage and steroid injection (conservative) can help.  We are using Photobiomodulation  PBM (low power laser) to promote healing.

Richard O. Gregory, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 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.