How come some Facelifts don't require a compression bandage or compression band for several days? What is best for healing?

I read that some patients have a compression bandage for several days and some do not. is there a difference in treatments? Like a deep plane lift does not require the compression band or is it just the surgeons choice? I have yet not had my facelift but is planning one in december.

Doctor Answers 21

Facelift Compression Garment

Thank you for your question. 
Facelift surgery does not necessarily require use of bandages. Many surgeons do, however, used bandage aiming to reduce bruising. I personally do not use bandages for my facelift patients. Instead, I take a little extra time during the operation to ensure small areas of bleeding have been carefully cauterised. Bandages do not always necessarily prevent possible swelling. I do not use bandage or drains and have pioneered The Concept Facelift, having a 0% incident rate of hematoma.  It is important to focus more on the results of your surgeon as illustrated in their pre & post operative facelift patients. Do you like their results, will the surgeon meet your expectations, is the facility where you are going to have your surgery performed accredited? These might be much more important. I do not think the use of drains /bandages or not drains/bandages would reflect the surgeons ability. 
All The Best

London Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Bandages after #facelift

The postoperative management including choice of bandages and dressings will be based on each surgeon's preference. In general, there are usually bandages for the first 24-48 hours to absorb any fluid from the early incisions. 

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

How come some Facelifts don't require a compression bandage or compression band for several days? What is best for healing?

It is surgeon preference.

Compression bandages around the face and neck do not prevent swelling and bruising and in my opinion are unnecessary.

I place a dressing over facelift incisions to absorb drainage from incisions and the dressing is removed the day after surgery so the patient can shower and wash the hair. For more information please see below:

Compression Bandage after Facelift

The aftercare is extremely important in facelift surgery. The experienced facelift surgeon will have a regimen in place for you that we recommend to follow closely. It is based on experience and provides the environment for speedy and safe recovery. 

Frank P. Fechner, MD
Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Bandages after facelift

Thank you for your question. A lot of the decisions regarding dressing and compression comes down to surgeon preference and how they were trained.  It also depends on what type of surgery was performed.  Some surgeons believe it compresses the tissues and helps prevent fluid collections and improves contour.  Others believe that there should be no compression on the face because it might have negative effects on the skin as it tries to heal.  I would recommend talking to several board certified plastic surgeons about what they do and why.  As long as the compression is not too tight it probably doesn't really matter that much in the end.  Good luck!


The bandage choice after facelift is mainly dictated by surgeon preference.  Some surgeons put suction drains in the face during surgery, that cause closure of the space where the skin has been elevated.  As a rule, not much compression is required with that.  Some surgeons don't drain their facelift and use the compression bandages as a way of closing that space where fluid could collect after surgery in the absence of a drainage system.

Semira Bayati, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Compression wraps

After elevation on the tissues in a facelift, the space should be closed to permit healing without shifting or collection of blood or fluid in the potential space. This can be accomplished by either a suction drain or some supportive compression. Facelift procedures vary in the  extent of the skin elevation, which can  affect  the possibility of fluid collections. Compression, elevation, ice and reduced activity are also generally  believed to reduce bruising and swelling after injuries or surgery. I prefer recommend all of these and anything else that may help reduce overall recovery time. I hope this helps.

Stephen Fink, DO FAOCO
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Aftercare for a facelift

 In our practice, we have not used bandages or compression wraps after a facelift for the last 15 years. Compression wraps are painful, uncomfortable and claustrophobic. They also mask  any potential bleeding underneath the skin until there is  a large hematoma present.
 Instead of compression wraps, we  place small suction drains underneath the skin of the neck to drain fluid and blood out from underneath the skin. The drains are left in place for 1 to 2 days after the surgery, depending upon how much fluid is been removed.
 Either drains or compression wraps are required after a facelift

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

How come some Facelifts don't require a compression bandage or compression band for several days? What is best for healing?

  Hi, I have performed many Facelifts over the past 30 years and IMHO all traditional facelifts, mid-face lifts and deep plane facelifts would require drains and a pressure dressing to avoid blood accumulation under the skin.  These are all very invasive facelifts with large amounts of tissue undermining.  This is what dictates the extended recovery and healing time with these types of facelifts.  

 If you have "jowls" this is sagging facial tissues and an indication for some form of a facelift.  The underlying SMAS layer, of the face, must be dissected, lifted, trimmed and re-sutured. The excess skin is then removed and the facelift incisions closed.

My most popular facelift is the minimally invasive, short incision facelift that has all the benefits of more invasive facelifts (traditional, mid-face and subperiosteal facelifts) but with these added benefits:

•very small incisions
•minimal tissue dissection = less bruising and swelling = rapid recovery
•can be performed in 90 minutes or less, with or without general anesthesia
•no incisions within the hair = no hair loss
•excess fat can be removed
•excess skin removed
•cheeks, chin and jaw line can be augmented with dermal fillers (I prefer Perlane) or facial implants
•most patients fly back home to parts all over the world in as little as 3 days post-op
Hope this helps.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Compression vs non-compression

Thanks for your question Bridget,

Compression or no compression boils down to surgeon preference. I only use a compressive garment after a corset platysmaplasty (neck lift).

All the best,


James Southwell-Keely, MD, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 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.