Swelling After Mini Facelift with Fat Transfer

i am 7 weeks post op mini facelift with fat transfer to the cheeks. my incisions, though healed, throb all day. the pulling and pressure in front of my ears is relentless. feels like i have barbed wire sticking in them.

though the external swelling continues to improve, the internal swelling continues to rise and fall all day, with my cheeks feeling hot. it is so uncomfortable and unnerving. does this sound reasonable? i know the healing process can be a long one, but i'm wondering if there is something wrong.

Doctor Answers 10

Incisional healing after minilift

I agree it all sounds within normal expectations. The sensory nerve supply to the skin is temporarily separated with a minifacelift or facelift. The surgeon needs to lift a skin flap to get to the deeper structures of the face that serve as the primary focus of a lift. That is why the skin may be numb in front of, below, or behind the ear, as well as the ear itself. It takes time for those nerves to heal, regenerate,and find their way back to the skin.

During that healing phase, the nerves can be dysfunctional, causing the patients to feel pressure, shooting pains, electrical qualities, itching, or even pain. As the nerves continue to heal, this will go away. It will continue to improve for months, so be patient.

Madison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Throb and discomfort after a mini facelift

Dear Mini Facelift Patient from New Jersey,
Healing process varies person to person. As swelling subsides after any facelift surgery, sensory nerves begin to function. The throb you are describing is most likely reinervation of your sensory nerves. See your Surgeon; make sure there is no infection or fat necrosis. Good luck and good healing …..Dr. Sadati

Kevin Sadati, DO
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 186 reviews

Swelling after facelift and fat transfer

Thank you for your question for sharing your concerns with us. 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. It may take more than a month or two for your tissues to fully soften and any residual swelling to resolve, and possibly longer due to the fat grafting. 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 as it is not normal to have discomfort at seven weeks and could be nerve related.  Specific medications to help hypersensitive nerves during the healing process may be helpful.

Swelling after mini facelift

I would recommend seeing your plastic surgeon to make sure there is no evidence of infection. Otherwise it typically takes 12 weeks to completely resolve swelling.

Babak Azizzadeh, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Pain and redness and swelling

After a facelift you should not be experiencing alot of warmth or tenderness.  If you are also expereincing swelling and redness, you may have an infection with the fat transfer.  You should probably follow-up with your doctor.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Heat, redness and pain can indicate infection

I am concerned that the cheeks feel hot. Heat and redness are signs of infection, as is pain, you should have this checked out by your doctor as it is possible you have an infection around the transfer, that or possibly some deep sutures. This may be just part of your normal healing or you may need to have antibiotics. In all cases of heat, redness and pain, notify your doctor.

Andrew Kaczynski, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Swelling after facelift

Swelling after a mini-facelift with cheek fat transfer may last anywhere form 6 weeks to several months. You should keep your head elevated at nights to minimize the swelling. However, you may want to make sure that you do not have an infection brewing within the transferred fat. Although unusual, it can happen rarely. If so, you will have symptoms of reddness, warmth and pain in the area.

Miniface lift, fat transfer

The feeling of tightness in the face is normal with mini and full face lift.

you also had a fat transfer and that will cause tightness, swelling.

See your Board Certified PLastic Surgeon, make sure there is no other problem and the swelling will diappear if there is no infection.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Swelling after mini facelift and fat injections


Assuming you don't have an infections brewing, it sounds like normal wound healing. The sensations you are having can go on for several weeks to months but will all resolve with time.



Oleh Slupchynskyj, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 265 reviews

Unusual pain and swelling following a face lift

The proliferative phase (collagen building) of wound healing occurs for 6 weeks after surgery. This tends to be the maximal amount of tightness you will experience. Swelling in the morning is the most common part of the day for swelling due to laying your head down at night which can slow venous drainage. Over the next several weeks, you should experience general improvement in the sensations of tightness. Your description of a "hot" feeling in the cheeks is unusual. This could be due to increased circulation in the area, resolving neuropraxia ( nerve "bruise") or inflammation,. You should discuss this with your surgeon.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 72 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.