Neck Swelling After Exercise - Will This Ruin my Facelift Results?

I am 59 years old and am 11 weeks post-op after having a lower facelift, forehead lift, and upper & lower eyelid surgery. Around 8 weeks post-op, I began vigorous exercise again with my doctor's approval. However, my neck swells under my chin after exercise, and the swelling lasts a long time(often until the next day). Is this normal? Also, will having my neck swell and decrease in size repeatedly compromise the results of my lower facelift? Should I slow down my exercise?

Doctor Answers 22

Exercise aft er a face lift. When? How much? How Rigorous?

   I am very liberal regardina facelift and exercise.  I ask patients to walk but don't run for the first two weeks.  No gym for two weeks.  No straining for two weeks.  Just gentle progressive normal walking.   At two weeks I have allowed patients to go for it.  I tell them it may hurt to do it but THEY CANNOT AND WILL NOT HURT THEMSELVES WITH RIGOROUS EXERCISE.  I tell patients to let comfort be their guide after two weeks.  I feel strongly that after two weeks there is virtually zero rrisk of bleeding which is the main concern for the first two weeks.   At two weeks you may sky dive, bungie cord jump, or whatever.  If you swell a little or more so what? That will go away.  Sweating helps get rid of Sodium and will soon aid in swelling reduction.  I know I am quite liberal on this and other surgeries;  all are told to go for it after two full weeks post op.  Now understand that if some problem comes up during the first two weeks,  (infection, wound problems, etc), my advice will take this into account and a more conservative approach will be applied.  I have follow this course for over 25 years and over 1700 + facelifts of all types and I have NEVER regreted getting patients exercising at two weeks.  People haveing cosmetic surgery are not invalids.  They are dynamic active people and they WANT TO GET ON WITH IT.  ONWARD I say.  My Best,  G Commons

Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Swelling after surgery

Swelling is very normal after any type of surgery that elevates a skin flap.  The swelling is due to division of the lymphatic drainage channels, and these take quite a bit of time to heal / recover.  Swelling is more notable after anything that increases your cardiac output (ie: increased heart rate with exercise).  Two months after a surgery is a very reasonable time to resume vigorous exercise.  Don't be concerned about the swelling - it will not ruin the results!  You can wear some compression garment at night while you sleep to help "push away" the swelling, so that it does not appear as visible.  (Most of the time it will resolve by itself overnight, but the garments speed up the process.)



Michael A. Bogdan, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Facelift Swelling

Transient swelling at 11-12 weeks with vigorous exercise in not uncommon. We incorporate low power ultrasonic massage in the post operative period to help minimize and speed up the resolution of the swelling. I do not feel it will compromise your results. If swelling persists however, call your surgeon. Good Luck!

Douglas L. Gervais, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Excercise Afte A Facelift

hi Ready123-

After face lift surgery vigorous activity can resume after about 6 weeks. There will be some additional swelling as the activity level increases, but this should have not long term consequences. You should listen to your body. If your swelling is lasting into the the next day, perhaps you should back off a bit and check with your surgeon.


Tom Kaniff

Thomas E. Kaniff, MD, FACS
Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Swelling After Exercise 8 Weeks After Facelift

At 8 weeks postop, there are aspects of healing that a patient is aware of, but that others do not.  Some degree of swelling after exercise is not unusual and probably relates to lymphatic swelling.  This will resolve itself in the next few weeks to months; the swelling will not compromise your result.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Swelling in the face

Swelling even a few months after a facelift can happen especially after exercise. This usually gets better with time and may occur with exercise for several more months.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Swelling affects the final result

My belief is that repetitive swelling of the neck skin coupled with the constant pull of gravity will lead to premature "skin stretching" over time. To my knowledge, there is no study that validates this belief, only my own experience and understanding of the aging process.

Whenever surgery is performed in any part of the body, the normal "plumbing" that takes away excess fluid is disrupted and persistent swelling results. On average, it takes 6 weeks to 3 months for the plumbing to re-establish, however, this may vary.

My advice, is to hold off on any exercise that creates fluctuating swelling. You know your body best and will feel and see the swelling. I usually have patient do 50% of their normal exercise and either dial it forward or back depending upon how their body responds. Just remember: it will eventually go away!

Anand D. Patel, MD
Brookfield Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Facelift swelling after exercise

Swelling to different areas of a facelift after exercise is normal for the first 8 weeks.  No, it does not effect the end result of the lift.  In the end, listen to your body.  If it feels uncomfortable, back off for a day or two and then try again.  Good luck. 

Mike Majmundar, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Swelling with exercise after facelift/necklift

Thank you for your question for sharing your concerns with us. Swelling and firmness 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. You may find that intermittent swelling will occur with vigorous exercise and this may persist for months.  However, with each passing month, the degree of intermittent swelling should be less.  

Lymphatic massage maybe an option to help clear the swelling and firmness at a faster pace. I would make sure that you continue to follow up with your plastic surgeon during this period of time.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Neck swelling 11 weeks after a facelift

The swelling that occurs with exercise at 11 weeks after the facelift will not harm the results. The swelling is  simply a result of the physiology of exercise and working out and  should dissipate over the next few months after the procedure when you work out. In our practice, patients have no restrictions on exercise 3 weeks after their  face lift procedure

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 146 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.