Can a Too Tight Face Lift Improve with Time?

I have significantly noticeable bulges beginning slightly below either side of my mouth and radiating towards my ears where my skin has been pulled. I am three weeks post surgery and still have swelling on the sides of my face.

Doctor Answers 50

Early Facelift Swelling will go. Patience is a must!

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YES.   You will favorably improve with time.  At 3 weeks you should look okay but you still have a lot of healing to do.  Swelling takes time. Firmness takes time.  Remember the healing process is defined as 1 year. Every day you will look a little better.  When you get up in th morning think....its a great day and I look better than yesterday.  You will.  Good Luck.

Can a Too Tight Face Lift Improve with Time?

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Some feeling of tightness is normal in the early days after a face lift. You will still have significant swelling and as this improves the feeling of tightness will improve with it. If you are concerned discuss it with your surgeon.

Mark Preston, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon

Tightness early after a Face Lift

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Hi sukietawdry in Asheville,

Face lift surgery has evolved over the years, but still involves tissue repositioning and tightening. The tight sensation will resolve as the tissue relaxes. One month is still early after the face lift, and many patients report this sensation.

Yes, to a degree skin is pulled, but more importantly the tissue and muscle beneath the skin is tightened. This deeper layer is the secret to face lift surgery. The covering skin displays what is happening underneath the face. The majority of the pull is generally not on the skin layer itself.

Speak to your face lift plastic surgeon regarding any concerns you may have. Best of luck.

Dr. Chaboki

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Facelift swelling and tightness will go away!

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Yes, your swelling and tightness will subside in time. It is not abnormal to feel tightness three weeks after surgery and each day should bring along some changes for the better. As far as the visible bulges it is difficult to comment on without knowing the exact procedure and technique used. I would suggest going in to see your surgeon as soon as possible and he/she should be able to answer your concerns and hopefully give you some peace of mind. Best regards and remember time is on your side.

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 218 reviews

Early post facelift swelling and skin tightness

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That early from a will have some swelling, so that should get better and it may be normal.  Too much skin tightness after facelift, while less than ideal, will most likely "relax" with time.  Sometimes, regular moisturizing of tight skin can help it feel better and adapt (strech) better.  

A. John Vartanian, MD
Glendale Facial Plastic Surgeon

Lines in Cheeks after Facelift

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What you describe is a problem that is usually present before surgery if you search for it, but is accentuated by most facelift techniques. Fortunately, if due to skin pull, it will relax some with time. If this does change, it will take some time. I would not consider doing anything to modify this for at least 6-9 months if this does not resolve.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Resolution of tightness following a Facelift

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Three weeks is still prettly early, and you can still anticipate some degree of tightness following a facelift. Most facelifts look a little tight right after the surgery, and this generally goes away as swelling resolves and your skin relaxes somewhat. This can take up to several months. 

There are many different techniques used to do facelifts. Some techniques emphasize just the tightening of the skin which can result in the overly tight or overdone look following a facelift. Other techniques emphasize tightening of the deeper tissues or SMAS layer, which generally do not produce the overtightened appearance, but usually take longer, but also tend to last longer. Good results can be achieved with either when done by experienced and thoughtful plastic surgeons.


Facelift swelling and results

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  • There are some early changes after facelifts that do go away- bruising, swellings, some tightness, numbness. Be optimistic about improving over time!
  • However, there can be some changes that can last-  and occasionally a group of long folds from the area near the corner of the mouth to the outer cheek can be one of these stubborn problems. 
  • In patients with very loose skin, if the "pull" direction is not balanced ideally between upward and outward,  surgery can  accentuate or not significantly improve such an appearance.   While it may improve over time--hopefully it will-- it sometimes requires a different approach. It is both a common finding and a tough one to fully correct. 
  • One hopes the overall result of your surgery has made nice changes that you can be happy with. Otherwise, you may need to wait 9-12 months then reevaluate your options. Best wishes.

Michael Suzman, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Swelling after facelift

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3 weeks after facelift surgery, one would expect to have some residual swelling.  Rest assured, this will continue to decrease over the next 2 months.  Many of these lines that you are seeing will improve as a result.   Make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Samer W. Cabbabe, M.D.

Board - Certified Plastic Surgeon

St. Louis Plastic Surgery Consultants

Samer W. Cabbabe, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon

After a facelift, the face and neck can feel tight

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Feelings of tightness after a facelift is not terribly uncommon. Your swelling can certainly improve over time so that you look and feel more natural.

Jen Yuan Chow, MD
Pasadena Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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.