Can a facelift procedure be corrected?

I just had a facelift, fat removed from chin and jowls. My main concern was the "wind blown" look or the skin being pulled too tight. Day 1, I look totally wind blown & my lips are stretched out to my ears, tight. I can't stop crying. Doctor insists that at day 5 I will start to see myself again and people will only notice a slight change in my appearance. I can't see how this is just swelling and that I'll look normal. I'm in a panic!! Can this be reversed if the outcome doesn't improve much?

Doctor Answers 29

Facelift too tight

You are far to early in the recovery period to asses the final result of your facelift. Be patient,as the swelling decreases the face will look less tight. Good Luck. 


Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Post facelift

You are way too early in your postoperative period to critique your result.  It takes 4-6 weeks for swelling to resolve.  Most cases improve significantly during the 1st month.  Discuss with your surgeon.  Good luck.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Facelift Day 1

Thank you for your question.  It is normal to be swollen and look too tight the day after a facelift.  It takes well over a week to even begin to assess the results from a facelift. It is also not uncommon to have some anxiety after a facelift and even question the results.  My advice would be to try to be patient and not even begin to assess how you look.  As the swelling subsides, your skin will become more lax, and your appearance will look more natural.  The time for the swelling to subside is different for each person, and can take several days to occur depending on the extent of the facelift.  Try to be patient throughout this process and follow your surgeons instructions.  I realize that it is hard, but time will help you look more like yourself.
Hang in there.
Jeff Rockmore

What to do if pulled too tight

Hello Monkeyface408,

I would agree with your surgeon that you cannot assess the results in the first week.  Depending on the amount of work done and how long it took to do it, there can be a significant amount of swelling that develops in the first 24 hours.  This swelling will create a very unnatural look (I tell my patients don't be surprised if your head looks a little like a pumpkin).  The swelling will increase for the first 2-3 days, stay there for 2-3 days and it isn't until day 4 or 5 that your swelling begins to decrease.  After 2 weeks 80% of your swelling will be gone.  At this time you will have a much better appreciation for how you will look.  Things can be considered down the road if needed but right now focus on your healing and follow your surgeon's instructions.

I hope this helps and good luck. 

William Marshall Guy, MD
The Woodlands Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Super early

to worry about how you look now. You are 2 days out from facial surgery - you will look very strange / swollen and not your self. A week is a long time in the post facelift period and the following 8-12 weeks even longer. everything normalises as swelling settles and healing takes hold. Now is the time to have faith in your choice of surgeon and ask for their help if you are feeling down. Having regrets and worries is almost ubiquitous in facelift patients at day 2-4. Hang in there.

Dominic Bray, MBBS, FRCS
London Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

Facelift Recovery

It gets better! It is not uncommon to look tight and swollen initially. Patients often don't recognize themselves and have a tough time emotionally for the first few days.  Surround yourself with positive people and get some rest.  You will feel better soon.

Larry Pollack, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Too early to worry

Hello.  I'm very sorry to hear how you are feeling.  Try not to panic.  It is very normal for there to be selling and tightness in the first few days following a facelift that can cause a distorted appearance.  The swelling may actually worsen during the first 3-4 days and then it will generally start to resolve fairly quickly.  Usually by 2 weeks, most of the visible swelling should be resolved, but things will still feel tight.  There is always some natural relaxation of the tissues of the face and neck that occurs as things heal, and most experienced facelift surgeons will make things tight at the time of the surgery in anticipation of relaxation over time.  That is necessary to achieve a good long term result.  Most people within 2 - 3 weeks are looking good enough that they can get out in public and others can't tell that they have had a procedure done.  However, your body will be going through a healing process that actually takes several months before things are back to normal.  Although you may notice subtle changes throughout the healing process, you should look good and feel good long before the healing process is complete.  Try to be patient with the process and don't allow yourself to get too upset.  It is fairly common for people to feel depressed in the immediate postoperative period following facelift, because things don't immediately look that way they expected.  However, you will be surprised by how things change over the next few weeks.  Hang in there, stay positive, and communicate with your surgeon.  Good luck.

Michael Boggess, MD
Nashville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Patience

Be patient!  If only our bodies could heal as quickly as we want… way too soon to judge and the worry and stress are not helping you heal.  You will lose about 80% of the swelling at 2 weeks.  Crying will worsen the swelling.  It is not uncommon for people to feel sad after any surgery, give yourself some time and find a friend to watch movies with.  

Melanie L. Petro, MD
Birmingham Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Swelling Normal After Facelift

Recovery time from a facelift varies from person to person, but patients can generally expect to be presentable within three weeks from surgery. Patients should expect swelling, bruising, and discoloration of the skin during this phase of recovery (swelling normally goes down after 48 hours; most bruising will go away within two weeks). The marks from a facelift are noticeable at first, but are easily hidden with a bit of “camouflage” make-up which our experts can teach you to do.
The scars from a facelift mature within six to twelve months from the surgery date. It is during this time that the rejuvenating effects of the facelift will become apparent and the real result will be seen.

Is a facelift revision possible?

Hi monkeyface408, from reading your question it sounds like you are in the very early stages of healing. Swelling can create a lot of distortion in the face that, for some, can be very alarming. Fortunately, as the swelling resolves, you should start to see your natural facial features. Everybody heals at his or her own unique pace however in my experience, the stretched or windblown look typically resolves within 7 days. Make sure to follow up with your surgeon and be compliant with his or her recommendations.

Todd C. Miller, MD
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 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.