Swelling After Facelift and SMAS Lip Augmention? (photo)

Twelve days ago, which I know realistically isn't very long, I had a face lift and SMAS lip augmentation. To date, I look horrible. My lips are so huge and my cheeks are still very swollen and my face is totally round. I am beginning to be sad and wonder if I have done the right thing. Am I being unrealistic? Will the size of my lips lessen as I sincerely hope?

Doctor Answers 17

Swelling after facelift

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The kind of swelling you are experiencing is completely normal after the surgery you had.  It is still very early after your facelift and you will not look normal at this stage.  Your lips will get smaller as the swelling subsides.



Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Post operative swelling

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It is very common to have sad feelings and "buyers remorse" during this early recovery period.  For only 12 days from your facelift surgery, you look to be healing well from your photos.  You still have significant swelling and some resolving bruising which appears appropriate for so soon after surgery. Your facial roundness and fullness in the lips will go down significantly in the next few weeks and you will start to feel more like yourself again.  The post operative swelling may take several months to resolve entirely after a facelift and can vary from one person to the next.  Try to relax and not second guess your decision, everything appears to be just as it should at this point.  

Jessica Kulak, MD
Fairfax Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Swelling and bruising after facelift and lip augmentation

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Thank you for your question for sharing your experience and photos with us. The degree of swelling and bruising shown in your pictures appear fairly normal at the stage of healing.  Swelling and firmness 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, but will still persist in milder forms.  It may take more than a month or two for your tissues to fully soften and any residual swelling to resolve. 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.

Swelling after Facelift

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Dear LHayes62,


as you indicated, it's far too early to judge your final result.  You should see significant improvements in your appearance over the next few weeks/months. 



Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)

Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Swelling as shown in your pictures at two weeks does occur.

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Swelling like you show can happen and can be improved by several things:

  • Sleep with your head elevated.
  • Exercise is helpful, but keep your head elevated.
  • You might have a mild diuretic prescibed by your plastic surgeon or medical doctor.

Fortunately this sort of swelling will pass and your result should be good.

Dr. Mayl

Fort Lauderdale

Nathan Mayl, MD (retired)
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon

Facelift and swelling

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Swelling is going to be the big issue for the next several weeks. Give it time to settle down before getting too upset.

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


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you do appear to have a significant amount of swelling and bruising. Be patient (hard), you are going to see a lot of change in the next 2 months.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Swelling After Facelift and SMAS Lip Augmention?

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Possible you are also having some type of allergic reaction. But in most cases you need 2 to 4 weeks of healing time. 

Patience And A Tincture of Time Are The Best Medicine

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You are still in the early period of early post-operative swelling and inflammation, so there is nothing out of the ordinary in the photographs you have posted. In my experience using SMAS grafts to the lips, one does need to over-correct the lips quite a bit to compensate for the loss of volume they will experience with the passage of time, since most of the SMAS graft does not take.


You do not say whether your surgeon performed concomitant fat grafting of the face at the time of your facelift. Again, in my experience, this can significantly increase the degree of swelling patients experience in the immediate post-operative period. The good news for you, is that, with time, the swelling of your face will abate, and your lips will assume mortal proportions once again.

Peter Lee, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Swelling after facelift and lip augmentation

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At 12 days post op, you are expected to have some swelling and bruising. The key is whether you are improving with time. Do you look a bit better today than 2-3 days ago? Sometimes it's hard to tell. Take serial photos every 3 days may help you tract your progress. Have regular followup with your surgeon also will provide reassurance that things are coming along just fine. It's too early to judge final result at this point.

Best Wishes,

Stewart Wang, MD FACS, Wang Plastic Surgery

Stewart Wang, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 28 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.