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 48

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

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 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

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. 

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 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
4.5 out of 5 stars 41 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
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Swelling and Bruising After Facelift

Swelling and bruising can last up to 2 weeks after a facelift in the best of circumstances. A hematoma or collection of blood is a relatively rare complication that can occur in 5% or fewer of cases. Symptoms and signs of hematoma include significantly worse pain, swelling or bruising on one side of the face compared to the other. As long as it is identified and treated appropriately, the long term result will not be affected by this however. This could prolong the recovery causing prolonged bruising and swelling. Some doctors recommend various supplements such as Arnica to help eliminate bruising. Patients should ask their surgeon first before starting on any supplements. Specific concerns after surgery should be directed to your surgeon.

Vito C. Quatela, MD
Rochester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Hematoma and bruising after facelift

Thank you for your question for sharing your concerns with us. Swelling and numbness 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. It will usually take much longer if there was a hematoma after the procedure as much more of the tissue is stained with blood and will take longer to resolve.  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.

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.