Swelling and Bruising After Facelift

It has been 3 weeks since I had facelift as part of removing the cyst on my face. I experienced severe hematoma after the surgery, but it seems that everything is healing as expected. I'm concerned about the bruises, since they still look very dark in some areas. The swelling on my cheek and jaw still a bit noticeable and feel so tense. Should I be alarmed? what can I do to better the situation? Thank you for your answer.

Doctor Answers 54

Swelling And Bruising Expected 3 Weeks After Facelift Hematoma

Thank you for your question. A photograph would help.

Bruising and swelling is certainly expected and can last 3-4 weeks after evacuation of a hematoma following a facelift.

However you mention a feeling of tension which could indicate a recurrent hematoma.

Please see your surgeon to make certain that your hematoma has not recurred

Swelling, pain, and bruising normal after Facelift


Thanks for your question.

Pain, bruising, and swelling are typically experienced two to three weeks after surgery. The symptoms should subside after that in most cases. However, every individual heals differently. Since you had a hematoma, this adds more time to the healing process and usually results in a firmer feel to the skin flap. So give it a little more time to heal. If you are still concerned after that, it is always a good idea to pay a visit to your plastic surgeon.

We believe that each patient needs to be treated as an individual and we focus on listening. Obviously, I would need to examine you and help you to decide which surgical or non-surgical options are available in your particular case.

Sam Speron, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Hematoma delays healing after any surgery.

Dear Cindy

Three weeks is very early from your surgery. Generally it is true that a this point in time if you did not have a hematoma, you would be looking pretty good. However, the hematoma takes time to resolve. The extra swelling and bruising is going to clear eventually. However, it is likely that this process may take a full additional 2 months to completely dissipate. It is hard to believe but you will heal. Please check back with Realself.com and let us know how you've done.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

This sounds normal given your complication

After a hematoma, there will be more time needed for the resolution of bruising and there can be swelling on that side that persists beyond the time for healing of the normal side.  Time and gentle massage will help. 


A picture would be of great help.
But if your skin is still dark, you should visit your plastic surgeon to make sure there is no hematoma.  The swelling can last several weeks to months.

Alberto Arguello, MD
Costa Rica Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Bruising from a facelift

Hard to address your situation without photos.  You are still early in the healing process.  Moreover, if you had a hematoma, the process will be longer for you.  It will take a while for things to settle in.  Please make sure you go to your appointments with your surgeon.  They may be able to guide you as far as additional treatments that they have found helpful.  

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Bruising after Face Lift can last a while

Bruising can last a while after a Facelift. Sometimes the breakdown products from the bruise (blood) can take a while to be absorbed.

Some patients don't absorb the swelling as quickly as others. Plus, the swelling may be worse on one side of the face, than the other. This may have little to do with the surgery; and more to do with the physiology of the individual.

The total healing process can last a long time. Even though the initial issues of healing may lessen in a few weeks, things like numbness can last many months. Firmness and lumps and bumps under the skin can take a while to soften, and the pinkness of the incision lines can take up to a year to lighten up again.

Phillip Langsdon, MD
Germantown Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Asymmetric Bruising and Swelling after Facelift

Given that you had a hematoma after your facelift, having remaining bruising and noticable swelling on the side of your hematoma 3 weeks after your facelift should be expected. Firmness may represent healing tissues and could easily last for 6 to 8 weeks. The most important aspect in your recovery was the removal of your hematoma which, according to your description, has been accomplished.

Frank P. Fechner, MD
Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

It is all normal

 The swelling and firmness are normal and can be helped using ultrasound treatments to reduce the swelling. Even for minor bruising it seems to work very well.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

How Much Swelling and Bruising do I have after my Facelift?

Facelifts are an incredible procedure as it can turn back the hands of time.  One of the most common questions I get is how long the recovery is for a facelift. 

The easiest way to answer this question is to go through the process, as there are different levels of recovery and what a person can do after the surgery.  First, I typically do my facelifts under general anesthesia so patients will need to go home with someone that can care for them the first night.  All of the patients come back to the office the day after their surgery so that I can remove the face wrap that they left the surgery center with after their facelift. 

After the first day patient will have a simple band placed that will help support the neck and minimize the swelling.  This band can be removed for showering.  All patients can shower the day after their surgery after I have seen them in the office. 

The first week after surgery patients will need to relax and avoid any strenuous activity.  I want patients to walk several times per day, but they need to avoid heaving lifting and strenuous activity, as these activities will increase their risk of issue after their surgery.  The first week patients tend to be swollen and bruised through out the face and neck area. 

After the first week patients can use cover-up makeup if they still have some residual bruising.  They will also still have some sutures hidden the hair and behind the ear.  The sutures on the face itself are typically removed prior to the one-week mark. 

Typically by two weeks all of the bruising has resolved and the majority of the swelling has subsided.  Patients are still healing but are doing very well at this point. 

Patients need to be about six weeks out from surgery before they return to their normal work out routines or any strenuous activity.  However they still need to be careful with sun exposure.

I hope this give you a little outline about the typical recovery course for face and neck lift with fat transfer.  Please consult your board certified plastic surgeon to help guide you through the process.  

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.