What Can Be Done to Reduce Swelling and Lumps After Lower Facelift and Platysmaplasty?

I had a lower facelift and platysmaplasy 9 weeks ago and still have swelling,numbness and lumps. Can I use ice and heat alternately? Can is use Bromelain and Arnica again to help? Is there something else I can do or take? Thank you for any advice that will help.

Doctor Answers 24

Swelling and numbness associated with lower facelift surgery

Dear Lower Facelift Patient from New Jersey,
Healing process varies person to person. As swelling subsides after any facelift surgery, sensory nerves begin to function, therefore numbness will subside. Nine weeks post op majority of swelling associated with facelift surgery should subsided, and the remaining will resolve over next few months. Massage and external ultrasonic treatments are good options. Good luck and good healing.

Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Treatment of lumps and swelling in face

At nine weeks having some swelling and some lumpiness is not that unusual. This usually gets better with time, but massage may help.

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

Be patient.

The numbness, firmness and irregularity usually resolve in about six months. Gentle message is what I recommend to my patients. If the scar under the chin is thick, I have my patients use Scar Recovery Gel by Skinmedica. It is messaged into the scar twice a day and I've seen nice results with that.

Stephan Finical, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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What can be done to reduce swelling and lumps after lower facelift and platysmaplasty?

Hello! Thank you for your question! Numbness after any surgical procedure is expected for several weeks to months following. As the nerves to the area are traumatized and will then experience a temporary neuropraxia, a transient loss of nerve conduction. This usually resolves over the next 6-12 weeks, but depending on the procedure performed, sometimes much longer. Typically this should resolve by 1 year. As it goes past this date, the likelihood of the sensation returning is small. However, it can take up to 2 years. If no return from there, it is unlikely to return. It should be discussed that persistent sensory changes may develop following any surgical procedure. Warm compresses and massage often help.  Ultrasound to the areas are also helpful - discuss treatments with your sugreon.

The usual signs of the nerves regenerating and neuropraxia resolving is itching, followed by a burning sensation and then occasional sharp, shock-like pains. These will be normal to experience, and actually a promising sign. Usually, normal sensation returns, but is is also possible to have decreased sensation or even increased sensation to the areas affected. Re-educating nerves postoperatively is often helpful and will allow proper instruction for the affected sensory nerves - methods include using different textures to the affected areas when showering, bathing, applying lotion, etc. If bothersome, there are some medications that may be helpful, including Neurontin for pain for hypersensitivity. You can try various textures such as washcloths, loofahs, cotton sheets, etc. Massaging the areas is also beneficial for the incision to make the finest scar possible. The last place to regain the sensation will be directly adjacent to the incision/scar as the nerves will make its way from the periphery to this location. If continual pain arises, evaluation is warranted. After ruling out other causes, one rare explanation may be that a neuroma has developed and may require surgical excision. This is very unlikely unless a large sensory nerve has been transected inadvertently during the procedure. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
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Numbness and lumps after facelift

Everyone gets some amount of numbness and that is considered normal.  The numbness dissipates over 6 weeks at the earliest though I've seen it take as long as 12 months to completely subside.  Very rarely is this ever a permanent concern.

Lumps and bumps after facelift are normal.  They start 2-3 weeks after the surgery and are usually located in front of the ear or just below the angle of the jaw or under the chin.  They can get bigger for 6-8 weeks but they start to dissipate around the time and usually by 12 weeks are much better.  The lumps can usually be felt but rarely are seen.  

Mike Majmundar, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Swelling and lumps after facelift

Thank you for your question for sharing your concerns with us. Swelling and lumps 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, but in some cases it may take longer. 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.

Smoothing lower facelift results 9 weeks after surgery

About 2 months out from surgery. Ice and heat would not be effective. Bromelain and Arnica are also outside the window of effectiveness 2 months out. I do believe massage and moisturizers are effective in positively impacting results. If the lumps are sutures, these should disappear within a month and will respond to moisture and massage. If it is 4 months and you still have lumps and irregularities, you should discuss with your surgeon what he/she thinks is going on and what can be done. If you are not satisfied with the response and you are concerned, seek a second opinion. Best of luck!

Michele A. Shermak, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
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Swelling and lumps after lower facelift and platysma plasty

Swelling and lumps after a lower facelift and a platysma plasty are usually with in normal limits and are part of the course of  healing. Best to check with your original surgeon to see how they handle these issues. Bromelain and Arnica will probably not help 9 weeks after the surgery. Ultrasound,  steroid shots and a low-salt diet will all help with these issues. Most of these irregularities should resolve over time in the next few months. For many examples, please see the link below to our facelift  photo gallery

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Face lift swelling after lower facelift and platysmaplasty

This is not uncommon after 9 weeks. At this point you likely have around 65% of your healing. We usually tell people that they will have 60% of their healing / recovery complete by 6 weeks, 80-90% by 6 months. 100% can take as long as 2 years. This is based on wound healing studies and tensile breaking strength of a heal wound. For the lumps, I would suggest steroid injections, tape and pressure dressings. Bromelain and Arnica will not help at this point in my opinion.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Face lift

Exxternal ultrasound, and massage can help the lumpiness and swelling after face lift.

External ultrasound is the most effective treatment

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 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.