Swelling 2 Weeks and 2 Days After Facelift, When Can I Expect this to go Down?

It has been 2 weeks and 2 days after my facelift. Only my neck has a little bruising. The swelling in face has gone down a lot but there still some. My neck is more swollen and a bit lumpy. When can I expect my neck to be more normal? I hate turtleneck sweaters and I have to go back to work in a few days and I don't want to tell anyone. I want the "refreshed" and not the "surgical" look. Thanks.

Doctor Answers 31

Swelling 2 weeks after facelift

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Swelling after a facelift is normal and expected. On average, patients can be presentable (with makeup) in 14 days. I don't recommend video appearances for 21 days and flash photography for 3 months. These are averages and so there are patients on either sides of these numbers.

In general, if you have a fuller face, you have more soft tissue than most so you'll hold on to fluid longer and have swelling after facelift longer. If you tend to bruise easily, your body has to clear the bruising so that will increase swelling in the area of the bruise more than average. Patients who have a robust immune system and heal well sometimes will swell even more because it's trying to do it too quickly and it will then take the fluid, from the increase in resources over a short period of time, time to dissipate and increase swelling after facelift. Thicker skin individuals, such as african-americans, asians, hispanics, and oily caucasians, will sometimes take longer to return to normal as well since thicker skin is like having a thicker sponge so swelling takes longer to resolve. Each person is different, but, on average, most people can plan on 14 days for noticeable swelling after facelift and to be presentable, with makeup.

You can improve swelling after facelift by keeping your head elevated the first 2 weeks, applying cool compresses religiously the first week, minimizing activity after surgery, minimizing salt intake 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery, using a steroid pack from your doctor, using a prescription version of arnica montana, and minimizing medications that can make you bruise 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery such as aspirin, ibuprofen, herbal supplements especially green tea, gingko biloba, flax seed, fish oil, and multivitamins, especially those containing Vit E. Participating in lymphatic massages 10 days after the facelift can also help mobilize the fluid and minimize swelling; have a lymphatic massage once a week until the swelling has resolved.

Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Swelling in Normal 4 weeks to 3 months after surgery

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Most of my patients experience bruising and swelling for at least 4-8 weeks that is noticeable enough that they feel the need to camouflage and cover up. Between 8-12 weeks the signs are less noticeable, but some swelling still remains. To lesson your swelling AVOID any strenuous activity and bending over...and be patient, it will resolve soon enough.

Best of Luck, Dr. Clevens


Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Swelling takes time from a face and neck lift

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Generally I tell my clients that the healing from most facial plastic surgery procedures is 60% complete at 6 weeks, and 90% at 6 months. I tell them that swelling, healing, recovery and the amount of exertion you should do should be based on these numbers. For your swelling to speed it up, your physician can prescribe your oral steroids, inject steroids, and also you might want to try to wrap your neck and put extra gauze on the areas that are particularly swollen.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Swelling can take time to resolve following a neck and facelift

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Swelling can commonly last for 6-8 weeks following a facelift and it can take up to 6 months for the final outcome to show itself. Most people can get back to work 10-14 days after a facelift but it is very important not to over exert yourself. The more strenuous your activity level is following surgery the longer it will take to heal. I would be patient, continue to ice, and wear a compression garment at least at night as this can help. 

Todd C. Miller, MD
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon

Swelling 2 Weeks and 2 Days After Facelift, When Can I Expect this to go Down?

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If you are only two weeks following a full facelift, it will take much longer for all of the swelling to subside. There is some swelling even at 6 months. However, practically speaking, you should be able to go out into the public with minimal evidence of having the surgery at 3-4 weeks, providing all of the bruising is gone. Still at this time there will be evidence for the observant friend. Generally, if a more advanced procedure is done, you can expect a longer recovery. The lumpiness should subside with time also.

Using some type of cover-up make up can be of great benefit at this time in your recovery. Be patient and I expect you will be elated. Facelift patients are among my happiest patients.

Bruising After Facelift Surgery

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Bruising and healing can be quite variable from person to person.  We all heal along a bell curve. What this means is that you have some people that never get bruising and some people that can take a month or more for bruising to resolve.  The vast majority of our patients have most of their bruising resolved withing 2-3 weeks after surgery.  It sounds as if you are right within that 2-3 week stage and that the little bit of neck bruising will resolve within the next week.

Jacob D. Steiger, MD
Boca Raton Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 71 reviews

Post Facelift Recovery and Healing

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#Recovery time from a #facelift varies from person to person, but patients can generally expect to be presentable within three weeks from surgery. Patients should expect swelling, bruising, and discoloration of the skin during this phase of recovery (swelling normally goes down after 48 hours; most bruising will go away within two weeks). The marks from a facelift can easily hidden with “camouflage” make-up which you can learn how to apply.
The scars from a facelift mature within six to twelve months from the surgery date. It is during this time that the rejuvenating effects of the facelift will become apparent and the real result will be seen.
If you have certain concerns about the procedures and #healing process, it is recommended to call your board-certified surgeon or their medical staff and discuss those #concerns.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

The majority of swelling in most of my patients resolves after 14 to 28 days.

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The majority of swelling in most of my patients resolves after 14 to 28 days, although it can take up to six months for swelling to resolve 100 percent. In the meantime, there are steps you can take to help minimize swelling, such as sleeping with your head elevated and sitting upright as much as possible. Good luck!

Swelling and lumps after facelift/necklift

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Thank you for your question for sharing your concerns with us. Swelling and lumpiness 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. 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.

Each Patient Is Different: Swelling Varies Depending Upon Technique

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Swelling following facelift surgery varies from patient to patient and depends on the surgical technique and wound healing characteristics of the patient. The majority of swelling usually resolves in about two weeks following facelift surgery. At this point, most patients can return to work and resume normal activities. In most cases, total resolution takes about three months. In rare cases, swelling may persist for up to a year following surgery.
It’s important to realize that more aggressive facelift procedures cause more swelling, which can last for longer periods of time. Elevation of the head and decreased salt intake may help decrease swelling after surgery. Swelling is normal following surgery, but persistent or extreme swelling should be evaluated by your surgeon, especially if it’s accompanied by bruising.

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.