Headache After Neck Lift and Blepharoplasty

I had Neck Lift and Blepharoplasty, and I've been on 3 different types of antibiotics for 30 days due to a swollen stich in my lower jaw area. It's still red, swollen, and bruised. It's not necessarily painful because I am numb. Also, I never get headaches, but since the procedure, I have experienced some very painful awakening headaches at night. Is the pulling of the neck causing the headaches and will they subside soon?

Doctor Answers 11

See Your doctor.

The suture situation may be only inflammation and in my experience of over 22 years immediate suture rejection necessitating removal is rare.  The most likely cause for your headaches would be muscle contraction and spasm so if this does not resolve as you heal other causes may need to be investigated.


Youngstown Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

You Need the Stitch Out

It is a painful decision for a surgeon to take a patient back to the OR to correct a complication. But unfortunately in your situation antibiotics aren't going to make the infection better. The stitch has been colonized with the bacteria and the only way to resolve it is to remove the stitch. This chronic infection/inflammation may be causing the headaches or it could be the medications. Get the stitch taken care of first then see how the headaches improve.

Christopher L. Hess, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

The stitch might need to be removed

Pains and aches after any procedure is a natural process and sometimes the cost of being beautiful. It is almost impossible to not have these after any procedure. The question is how painful it is and if it is causing you to be in a state where you can't function well on a daily basis. The stitch might need to be removed if it continues to cause you problems and can be done very easily.

The headaches are due to sutures pulling on your facial muscles and will get better. You might need some different medications to help you with your pain and transition. Sometimes the pain is due to nerves being caught and is rarely indicated to have a procedure to alleviate this nerve impingment. Muscle relaxants, anti inflammatories, Nerve relaxants can all help your situation and can be discussed with your doctor. Don't worry this will get better. Just be patient. Your doctor will hold your hand, so to speak, through this whole process.

Consulting a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon would be something that I would recommend. We specialize in the face and are highly qualified to help you with this.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Neck lift and headaches

The headaches can really be from all different sources.  A good exam may be the solution ot figure out the etiology. It could be from tightness and swelling, it could be from tension( stress) to name a few.  Really ahrd to say without an exam.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

The headaches are not related to the neck surgery

Headaches are not related to the previous surgery that you have had. The neck lift operation is tightening neck muscles, and there can be some tenderness and soreness in the neck for the first two weeks after the surgery.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Headaches at night

The first thing I think of when you get night symptoms is swelling. At night, you lie flat and your head swells. The tightness from the surgery doesn't help much. The swelling makes everything a little more sore or painful. Hence the headaches.

To help your issues:

1. sleep in a recliner or on several pillows that supports your head, neck and shoulders.

2. Avoid salty or spicy foods.

3. Talk to your doctor to see if anything else can be done about the infection that appears to be resolving too slowly.

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Treat the stitch and you will likely treat the pain/headache. If not seek further workup.

These answers are all excellent.

The stitch may need to be removed at this point.

Headaches have hundreds of causes and it is difficult to speculate as to the cause of yours. However, if I had to guess, I would attribute it to a tension headache due to pain induced positioning of your neck.

Although you can treat the headache, it would be best for you to treat the cause of the pain (the stitch) and then see if it resolves. If it does not, you may need ot seek a headache specialist.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

It may be

Sometimes headaches are due to muscle spasm, and so, your neck muscles may be the cause.  After 30 days, it may be time to surgically remove the foreign body to treat the infection.  It is not ideal to keep people on antibiotics for prolonged periods of time if it can be avoided.


Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Headache 30 days after Facelift should be investigated

By 30 days after a facelift and blepharoplasty, you should feel fine and not have pain.

You need to be examined by your doctor and he/she needs to give you an explanation.

Two issues concern me.

First, the "swollen stitch in your jaw." If you have a stitch abscess it should be drained. Other possible cause could be a hematoma, which if 30 days old could be hard and firm. If it is red and inflamed a stitch abscess is more likely. In either case it needs to be addressed.

If deep sutures were used to tighten the SMAS or platysma muscle, sometimes these sutures can compress nerves behind the ear and cause ear and neck pain and radiated pain to the back of your head. Sometimes a suture called a Giampappa suture is used which can have this effect.

See your doctor and ask him to address these issues.

If you do not get answers then see another experienced board certified plastic surgeon.

I would also ask your primary doctor to refer you to a neurologist to work up your headaches. There may be another different explanation that needs attention.

This doesn't sound normal

What you are describing is not within the normal bell curve of recovery.  You should contact your doctor and be re-examined to be sure everything is going along appropriately.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 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.