Had a Facelift 18 months ago and still very tight! When will the tightness subside?

I still feel muscle tighness on the sides of my face and under my jaw, its very uncomfortable even now. My P.S. Has nothing to say to me about this other than it should go away and to be happy its tight. It is muscle tightness the skin isn't tight. Is there anything I can to to rid myself of this, everthing I've read most people have it for 6 months to a year max and mine is going way beyond, any suggestions would be helpful.

Doctor Answers 4

Tightness after facelift

Dear Vickierae1967,

Thank you for your clinical post and although unusual, I have had several patients with this myself. I have been performing face and neck lift surgery for over 20 years and having been trained in both plastic surgery and ear, nose, throat otolaryngology, head and neck surgery procedures performed in the neck that are designed to deliver long-term correction will often involve tightening of the underlying neck muscles removing some of the under the muscle fat. These complicated procedures can result in a very tight feeling after surgery.

I tell most of my patients that it will feel like they’re being “strangled” in the early post-operative phase. In general, this tightness lasts 3-6 months and can be improved with topical ultrasound, frequent treatments with radio frequency soft tissue warming techniques and for specific areas of tightness even dilute intramuscular Botox combined with very dilute anti-inflammatories can be of some assistance. These active measures combined with home massage can often result in resolution of the “tight neck syndrome.”
If you still have confidence in your operating physician it might be wise to seek their advice. Otherwise seek the advice of other certified plastic surgeons and facial plastic surgeons who have plenty of neck lift experience.

Be reassured that over time necks generally do soften and I’m sure in your case this will also resolve. Active ongoing massage and dynamic treatments as mentioned above can be of some assistance.

I hope this information has been of some assistance and best of luck.

For more information, please review the link below.

R. Stephen Mulholland, M.D.
Certified Plastic Surgeon
Yorkville, Toronto


Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Facelift and tightness

It is a bit unusual to feel tightness  this late in the game after a facelift.  Best to see your surgeon to be properly evaluated.

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

Still feeling tight 18 months after facelift.

To still feel tight after 18 months is extremely unusual. Information on exactly what procedure was performed and some photos would be very helpful in this matter.

Curtis Perry, MD
Downey Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

The perception of tightness in a facelift should the long since resolved by 18 months after the procedure.

Which are describing is common in the short-term but usually has abated within a few weeks of the operation. It would be useful to know what type the facelift was done and whether any foreign material was used as part of the procedure.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 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.