My face has changed so much after facelift, I can't recognize myself

Hello, I am a 43 yo female and I had a full facelift including forehead lift, fat graft and a rhinoplasty. I am about 4 weeks post op but my old face is completely gone and I find my own face odd and strange. I don't recognize myself. I still do have a lot of numbness and swelling especially around the lower face and cheek area. Am I stuck with my strange new face or will my old face soon return? I am depressed because I liked my old face except the sagging jaw line. Thank you!

Doctor Answers 21

Recovery Post-op Rhinoplasty, Facelift, Fat Transfer, Browlift

Although most of the healing after all of the procedures you had takes a few weeks, there is still some amount of swelling and healing that will take a few more months. I tend not to critique my work until after 3 months. If you have concerns about your healing process, your surgeon should be able to reassure you. Your facelift, brow lift, and fat transfer will restore a youthful appearance. The rhinoplasty, depending on the goals of treatment that you discussed with your surgeon, will most often change your appearance. Give it time... you still have some healing to go.

Bridgewater Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

4 weeks after surgery

At this point there is still is some swelling that'll go down with time.However, there is a possibility that fat grafting will make changes in the face which can be permanent.The best option is to wait for at least 1 year for all the swelling and the changes that will happen from scar formation and healing process to finish before you embark upon any kind of revision surgery.  If you continue to feel depressed make sure you get some professional help at this time.


Dr. J

Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 105 reviews


With all that went on, it is common for patients to feel  a bit down after surgery.  You should give yourself a few months to adjust.  You should talk to your surgeon as well. Best of luck.

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

Face change after facelift

You have a lot of things done which are going to affect your appearance.   The facelift is going to help with the jowls and tighten up the jawline.  The rhinoplasty is going to change your overall look more if you had a major change in the shape of your nose.  And the fat may still be causing some prolonged edema which can make you look quite different.  You are still very early in the healing process so give things time to settle.  As the swelling goes down you should start to look more like your old self, but younger.   

John J. Martin, Jr., MD
Coral Gables Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Be patient

The healing and recovery process after facial surgery can have many ups and downs, and the downs can be tough.  You had a fair amount of surgery that will certainly change the appearance of your face, combined with post-operative swelling, the change can appear even more drastic.  For now, I encourage you to exercise patience, follow all post-operative instructions, and maintain close follow-up with your surgeon.  You should communicate these feelings with your surgeon so that he/she can give you the appropriate reassurance and guidance.  

All the best!  

Babar Sultan, MD
Towson Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Facelift changed my appearance, I cannot recognize myself.

At 43 years old you are very young to have had so many procedure, including a full facelift, forehead lift, fat grafts and rhinoplasty.  After this I would expect that would look different too.

Regardless at 4 weeks post op you are experiencing swelling, healing and surgical changes.

With time your face will become more you.  Be patient, occasionally looking at the before pictures so you may understand  where you were at.

I don't understand why you continued with these surgeries if you say " I liked my old face except the sagging jaw line".

Ernest Robinson, MD
Aliso Viejo Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Dissatisfaction with Facelift Results

Dear meaganmeagan, it’s not unheard of for patients to feel slightly depressed or dissatisfied with the results of their facelift, especially so soon after having the procedure done. As you have noted, you do have some numbness and swelling, and this is likely impairing how you view your new face. It is also important to keep in mind that since you only had the procedure a few weeks ago, your mind still needs some time to adjust to the new face associated with it. Additionally, I typically recommend that patients wait for at least six months (ideally a year) before considering any additional surgeries on the face, as it takes several months for the face to fully heal and for patients to become accustomed to new changes. If your depression lasts for several months or becomes worse, please seek consultation from a clinical therapist.

Brian Vassar Heil, MD
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Post op swelling lasts for months

It sounds like you did have an extensive operation, and there will be a significant change, but it is too early in the post-operative period to make a judgement. The swelling lasts for many weeks and even months.  You should discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon.  She knows you best and what type of facelift you had-- and can answer your questions.
Good luck

Anne Taylor, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

My face has changed so much after facelift, I can't recognize myself

You are only 4 weeks after major facial surgery.and it is quite normal for it to take more time to become accustomed to your new look. Wait another 2 months before making a judgment on your appearance.  Of course please seek out your plastic surgeon for reassurance and advice.

My face has changed so much after facelift, I can't recognize myself

Thank you for your inquiry.

You have recently had a significant amount of surgery at one time.   Even though you are 4 weeks post-op it can take some patients 6-8 weeks for swelling to settle down.    Fat grafting may take even longer.  

I recommend you sit with your plastic surgeon and discuss your concerns so that they are going through this with you.   And, as much as you can, try to be patient.  I believe most of your concerns will improve with further healing.

I hope this helps.

Jeffrey Antimarino, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 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.