Ropey Firmness from Ear to Adam's Apple 10 Days Following Necklift and Lower Face Lift. Is This Normal? (photo)

I had a lower face and neck lift 10 days ago. My bruising and swelling are resolving fairly well. I am still quite numb, especially around the ears. My main concern are 3 areas of swelling: 2 ropey firm cords from ear to throat, and a swelling at my Adam's apple region. I have been doing some massage but it isn't helping. Should I be worried about fluid collections or fibrosis? My JP drains were removed around 36 hours post op. I see my PS in 2 days for my 2-week post op appt.

Doctor Answers 10

Thick areas after facelift

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Swelling and firmness after facelift can represent bleeding under the skin, fluid collections, sutures, or inflammation. Most of these changes will resolve on their own after surgery, but it can take months for this to happen.  From the pictures, it looks like the areas you are concerned about might be related to bruising, but it's hard to say for sure. Some doctors use ultrasound to help speed healing, but do not start this without discussing it with your surgeon. Best of luck!

Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Facial swelling after a facelift

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You appear to have a predictable postsurgery facial swelling.  The overall effect seems to be in good shape.  Just give it more time.  Certainly you can consider ultrasonic external treatmen, or even use simple massaing manually over this area, carefully applied certainly.


Good luck to you.


Frank Rieger M.D.

Swelling and Firmness after Facelift/ Necklift

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After studying your photograph, I think you are healing within expected limits of normal. What you are describing (firmness, numbness, localized areas of swelling etc.) are expected and should improve with time. Your face lift surgeon will most likely confirm your appropriate progress.

Frank P. Fechner, MD
Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Ropey Firmness from Ear to Adam's Apple 10 Days Following Necklift and Lower Face Lift. Is This Normal?

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Appears as a good early result. But you might benefit from external ultrasound therapy. Discuss with your surgeon. 

Firmness around Drain Areas

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    The firmness should improve with time.  Are the areas of concern consistent with the placement of the drains?  Any residual fluid should be drained, although your areas appear of little concern for significant fluid collection.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Lumps after lift surgery.

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It looks like some blood accumulated around the drains. Perhaps the drains lost suction . These lumpy areas should resolve with time.

Sheldon S. Kabaker, MD FACS
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon

Firmness after Necklift or Lower Face Lift

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A certain degree of skin or tissue firmness is expected after cosmetic facial surgery. The firmness gradually softens with time, as does the swelling and bruising. At some point after facelift surgery, some plastic surgeons will recommend massage, warm or cold compress, or gentle neck exercises. Only your facelift surgeon can best answer your question. Speak with him/her any concerns you have.


Dr. Chaboki


Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Ropey firmness in neck after facelift

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Some swelling and firmness in the neck is normal post-op especillay as your activity level increases.  it will get better with time but definitely discuss this with your surgeon.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Ropey fullness in the neck after a facelift is probably fluid collection.

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From the photograph it appears that the strip occupied by the Jackson Pratt drain became filled with fluid after its removal. This can be aspirated which will resolve the problem. Even untreated it will eventually dissipate.

Ropey Firmess in Neck after Facelift or Neck Lift

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The good news is that this is probably normal and will resolve with time. The linear ridge of swelling can be caused by the drain, serum (seroma), blood (hematoma) or an edema ridge as fluids run downhill especially if your chin was in a down position during the early healing process which traps edema in a roll of skin. Often lymphatic massage, ultrasound, low salt diet among other recommendations may be helpful for many. Regular follow up with your plastic surgeon is indicated. Should it not resolve in the next several weeks, use of dilute steroid mixed with 5FU is often very helpful in my experience to speed the resolution, but this will take some time to completely resolve which is the case most often in my experience. 

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.