Is The Tight Feeling in my Neck and Sides of Face from Scar Tissue Following my Face and Neck Lift?

It's been 12 months since my initial lift, but my board certified plastic surgeon revised the poor jowl and neck result by doing a corset platysmaplasty 8 months ago. My neck, jaw line, and sides of face are still extremely tight feeling; but, the skin does not look stretched and the incision sites have healed well. If the tightness (it is very uncomfortable) is from scar tissue formation, what can I do to step up the healing process? or is scar tissue permanent? My doc is too busy to see me.

Doctor Answers 13

Doctor too busy to see you

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There is no reason why your plastic surgeon is too busy to see you.  Followup care is just as important as the procedure itself and, regardless of whether you would feel comfortable with him as an operating surgeon going forward, he performed the operation and is in the best position to explain the reason for the tightness.  Certainly, the discomfort could improve with time but you should be seen in consultation to rule out other possible etiologies for your symptoms.  I am sorry that you have had this experience.  I agree with other posters that it would be wise to request a copy of your medical records so you can provide another surgeon with the most detailed information possible about the procedure.  You are legally entitled to these records expeditiously upon a request.   On behalf of board certified plastic surgeons who see patients even years after surgery to alleviate their concerns, I apologize for this member of our profession.

It is inappropriate that your surgeon is too busy to see you.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I don't think I would accept that.  Sometime office staff say stupid things.  Perhaps you are not being forceful enough with them.  Try the following approaches: "I am very concerned and I demand to have a follow-up appointment with my surgeon."  Perhaps the more threatening approach will work:  "If you do not give me an appointment with my surgeon I will be transferring my care and good will to someone who can see me."  Perhaps the office has labeled you as a problem individual.  What you are reporting is uncommon.  Even if they can't directly help you, listening to your concerns, offering something benign such as ultrasound treatment, facial message, or even hyperbaric oxygen therapy would reinforce the feeling that the office and the surgeon care about your concerns.  Do these treatments actually help?  Perhaps but it might also be placebo and with time this sensation of tightness might resolve even if nothing is done.  One thing is for sure, a tight facelift is unpleasant and even if they regard you as a bad news bear, you still need to be embraced.  Try again, if you are still getting stonewalled by the office, consider getting a second opinion.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Tight Feeling after Face and Neck Lift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Given that you had two face and neck surgeries over the course of 1 year, it is certainly possible (and within the greater range of normal) to sense changes due to the surgeries. Neck pulling or tightness are absolutely normal after corset platysmaplasty - especially if done correctly. I would give it the remaining 4 months of further healing before accepting things as permanent.

But you should definitely follow up with your board certified plastic surgeon. We are all busy but we should not be too busy to see our patients with valid concerns after surgery.

Frank P. Fechner, MD
Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

It is not unusual to have a tight feeling in the neck and cheeks following a

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

facelift, and both should resolve with time.  Since you had two procedures performed within a six month period, it may take longer for the feelings to resolve.  Treatment options could include external ultrasound and massage, physical therapy, and a course of  anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuproffen.  Most important, however, is to re-establish a connection with your surgeon.  Anyone who had the time to operate on you should have the time to see you after surgery, and you should call and insist on an appointment.  Your treating surgeon knows your situation best and should be able to give you the answers you need. 

Michael H. Rosenberg, MD
Mount Kisco Plastic Surgeon

Tightness after facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The tight feeling you have is pretty normal. I recommend massage which will help loosen things up. This far after surgery you could have a massage therapist help if you wanted.

Tight after facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It sounds as if you had two procedures within 4 months, with the second one adding additional tightening to the first. In that context if your skin is not stretched or tight I would say it is just going to take time. It's better t be tighter longer in the deep tissues over the long term even if it is a little uncomfortable now.

I would recommend asking to speak to the office manager about scheduling an appointment just to be certain your requests are getting through to the doctor. If there is an e mail or website to him you might try direct communication that way.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Tight neck feeling

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

some degree of tightness is normal and in most case, time will help. Having said that , doing some range of motion exercises on the neck, and possibly some ultrasound therapy, like the one done in a physical therapy clinic should help. There are anecdotal reports of topical DMSO helping, it is an off label use, and can give you a garlic taste in your mouth.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Doctor too busy to see you after facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
You say that your doctor has a good reputation and is board certified, yet too busy to see you after your facelift revision. There is a big red flag here and others should beware. No surgeon should be too busy to care for patients who placed their trust in him or her. You may have to look for help in another office, and your records will help the next doctor pick up where he left off.
Best of luck,

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Facelift, SMAS lift, postoperative tighness following facelift.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It would appear that your skin and incisions are well healing as you have observed.  One area to consider might be the internal sutures that may have been placed in the SMAS layer and the platysma muscles below the skin.  These may be either dissolving or permanent sutures, and it is a shame that you don't feel comfortable calling the surgeon of record about this..Given some more time I would believe the facelift will feel softer and less tight for you.  Antiinflammatory medications and occasional ice packs may help periodically with this.  Good luck.

Is The Tight Feeling in my Neck and Sides of Face from Scar Tissue Following my Face and Neck Lift?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

From your description I can not tell if you are happy with the appearance but do not like the tight feeling or is the result poor also. If you look great than this tight feeling will resolve over the next few months. You can obtain external ultrasound therapies to help. Regards 

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.