Swelling in Front of Left Ear/earlobe 9 Weeks After SMAS Facelift

My swelling was much worse on left side after surgery to begin with and then I developed an infection in left ear incisions and had to take course of Cipro. The skin in front of my left ear is still more swollen and numb and numb than the right but not enough for anyone else to notice. What is visible is how swollen my left earlobe is. My right earlobe looks completely normal. Could the facelift also have made my left earlobe swell and will it resolve in time?

Doctor Answers 13

Ear lobe swelling after facelift surgery

Hi Columbus4384-

Swelling is often different between the two sides after a face lift, especially if you had an infection on one side. The ear lobe swelling will go down with time, but may take several months. Be sure to check with your surgeon if you have any questions.


Tom Kaniff

Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Earlobe swelling will resolve

It appears that due to the facelift and resulting infection, your earlobe swelled. This swelling is most likely due to disruption of the lymphatic drainage from the earlobe. Over the next month or so, the swelling should resolve spontaneously. As long as you don't have any more signs of infection, just let the healing process take over. I would typically tell my patients to gently massage the earlobe in an attempt to get rid of the swelling faster.
Andrew C. Campbell, M.D.
Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

Andrew Campbell, MD
Milwaukee Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Earlobe swelling after facelift

Earlobes in general will swell after a facelift but your infection on one side probably created more swelling for a prolonged period of time.  The earlobe also takes longer to reduce in size because its the most dependent part of the ear and fluid will drain to the bottom of the ear and hang out in the earlobe and then have to travel up to the earlobe / face attachment for it to drain so takes a while even without an infection.

Mike Majmundar, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Asymmetric swelling after facelift

Thank you for your question for sharing your experience with us. Swelling and firmness in the tissues will return to normal as time passes by.  Asymmetric swelling in your case is very likely due to the infection and may take much more time to resolve.  It may take more than a couple months 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.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Earlobe Swelling Common following facelifts

The skin in front of your  left ear is still more swollen and numb and numb than the right most likely because of your infection. Although the facelift  may have contributed to your  left earlobe swelling it is a moot point as invariably it will resolve with  time.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Swelling in Front of Ear after SMAS Facelift

The numbness that you are experiencing is normal since the skin was lifted up in front of the ear to perform the facelift.  The swelling of the left earlobe is much more likely due to the infection rather than performing the facelift.  This swelling should definitely resolve with time.

Michael Sundine, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews


It sounds like the infection you had caused the swelling of your earlobe.  It should resolve with time assuming the infection has been taken care of.  I would recommend close follow up with your surgeon.

Kimberly Lee, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Swelling after a facelift is normal

Yes, the swelling should resolve after your facelift.  However, it may take 6-8 months for all of the swelling to completely resolve.

Jeffrey E. Schreiber, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 202 reviews

Be a "patient" patient

Your signs and symptoms are not at all unusual even 2 months post op facelift.  Swellingo of the ear can take a few months to resolove fully  (remember, there is an incision around almost the entire ear!),   especially if one side was particularly swollen early post op.  Also an infection or suture irritation can result in prolonged or recurrent swelling.  Be sure to follow up with your surgeon.  Ultimately it will all resolve and if there remains an earlobe asymmetry that is bothersome,  it is usually an easy procedure to correct.


David J. Levens, MD
Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Earlobe swelling

After facelift surgery it is fairly common to have facial swelling.  If you had an infection, it can persist on one side of the face more than the other.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 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.