Swelling getting worse 2 weeks after facelift. Is this normal?

I had a facelift and neck lift 2 weeks ago. The swelling is getting worse now. Feeling like ice on my face, worse on left side, numb, dull pain and uncomfortable tightness. What concerns me is that it's getting worse not better. Surgeon says it's all fine but I was out of town patient and he hasn't examined me. Right ear red and inflamed. I'm very very worried.

Doctor Answers 25

Send Photos to Your Surgeon

A photograph would be very helpful. For patients who live at a distance, I've found that examining transmitted cell phone pictures by text or email will help your surgeon tell you how much swelling is normal and whether there is anything worrisome. Generally, swelling should be gradually improving rather than getting worse, and the red ear at 2 weeks is not normal. I would definitely send photographs for evaluation — and if necessary, visit your surgeon in person.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

See a Local Surgeon in Person

Although a substantial amount of swelling is to be expected after a facelift, it doesn't usually suddenly get worse 2 weeks after surgery. I recommend that you see you a board-certified plastic surgeon who practices nearby or even your general practitioner for an in-person examination. He or she can determine whether you're experiencing any complications and get you on the path to treatment. I'm sorry that you're feeling worried and uncomfortable, but the good news is that your symptoms should be treatable.

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

There are certain cases where swelling may get worse, but it’s not the norm.

While swelling can last longer than two weeks, generally patients do begin to see some improvement rather than worsening at that point. There are certain cases where swelling may get worse, but it’s not the norm. If your surgeon can’t examine you, I would recommend visiting a local surgeon to be examined and see what’s going on. Make sure you visit a board-certified facial plastic surgeon for an expert opinion.

Jonathan Kulbersh, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Swelling worse 2 weeks after face lift. Is this normal?

Thank you for your question.

If the swelling is getting worse and you are reporting inflammation and redness, I recommend that you be examined by your physician. I wish you the best of luck.

Swelling Is Normal, But There May Be Cause For Concern

Swelling should be improving at this time, not getting worse. Photos would help to determine if there is an issue. You should contact the operating surgeon and send him photos of your current situation so he can better judge whether or not an issue is present. The “red right ear” might be the sign of a developing infection. If you start to develop fever and drainage from the wounds, you should seek immediate attention. Even a visit to an emergency room or urgent care might be helpful in that case. All the best to you as you continue your recovery.

Louis C. Cutolo, Jr., MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Increased swelling 2 weeks after facelift--normal?

Dear Nbruce1979-
Thank you for your question.  Hard to tell from your description what is going on.  You should get examined by your surgeon or someone he/she knows in your area that can evaluate you properly.
Dr. Most

Sam Most, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Pain at 2 weeks

This could be normal healing, or it could be a problem. It is hard to tell from a verbal description and a picture of the ear redness could be helpful.
Hopefully, this pain is just the nerves waking up which will settle down and you will be fine. I would send a picture to your doctor to confirm.

Michael E. Kelly, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Faceift Concerns at 2 Weeks

One of the historical disadvantages of having a facelift out of town is lacking immediate access to your Surgeon.  However, with modern messaging tools such as Skype, Facetime, and the ability to text photos to your Surgeon, these concerns should largely be obviated. People heal at varying rates after a Facelift and it is not unusual to still have swelling at 2 weeks; this is not unusual after a deep plane or composite style lift. However, I would caution you to a) keep in close contact with your Surgeon, and b) moderate your activity especially in the setting of increasing swelling.

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

Swollen ear after facelift

I would visit with a local plastic surgeon so that he can examine you. Again, this may all be normal..except for the swollen and red ear. This should be examined by a doctor.

Andres Bustillo, MD, FACS
Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Increasing swelling and pain after a FL

It is normal to have swelling after a facelift, and this swelling may worsen for a few days after the lift.  However with the symptoms of increasing pain, increasing swelling and a red ear I am concerned that you may have a post operative infection.

Please contact your surgeon.

Raghu Athre, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 90 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.