How long until the results of my face and neck lift are obvious? I am 3 weeks out and no one has noticed. Is that normal?

I would like to know if the results of a face and neck lift improve over a certain period of time? When are the best results start to become noticeable?

Doctor Answers 27

Results of facelift

Thank you for a great question and for sharing your experience.  Results of a face and neck lift can continue to improve over time, and at this stage you will still have some swelling.  Ideally, you want a natural result where you don't look surgical but refreshed...perhaps that is why you have not heard many comments yet.  So give it some time and communicate your concerns to your surgeon.   I hope you find this helpful.

Consult with a Board Certified Fellowship Trained Facial Plastic Surgery Specialist.

"This answer has been solicited without seeing this patient and cannot be held as true medical advice, but only opinion. Seek in-person treatment with a trained medical professional for appropriate care."

Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Give it time . . .

I suppose the only way to guarantee that someone (anyone) notices a difference is if they were forewarned and looking for them (in which case they should definitely see a difference, especially at the jowl/neck areas). Otherwise, people may think you look better and/or refreshed, and not be sure why . . . . That being said, you definitely will still have swelling (generally up to 3 months, and which can mask the intended recontouring) - which may be what they do notice (if not bruising or other more telltale signs) - with more long-term/desired results not appreciable until later.

Paul M. Steinwald, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Facelift results

Generally speaking, most of my patients have results that are visible immediately.  As swelling peaks during the first 3 days, those  changes may be masked until it subsides. That can take another week to one month. Subtle swelling within the skin  can take even longer. Visible changes are almost always evident in our one month post op photos. The degree of change is variable depending on the degree of preop laxity. The degree to which people notice or vocalize it, is also variable. My goal is that by the time swelling has resolved, people notice that you look better and different but can't figure out why. They may or may not say anything. I do not want people to conclude that you look like you had a facelift, but I also don't want them to think you need one. 

Stephen Fink, DO FAOCO
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Noticeable results after facelift

Many thanks for submitting your question.

You are still in the very early stages of recovery post facelift procedure and whilst it should be possible to see some improvement at this stage, you will need to wait for any post operative swelling and inflammation to subside. It is after this time that you should see your final result.

People may say that you look refreshed or ask if you've been on holiday rather than it being obviously noticeable that you've had a facelift.

An early facelift before any significant sagging may not be noticeable to other people.

Hi Reneegail,

Swelling is most obvious during the first few weeks, but the results of the face and necklift should be visible already, unless there were postoperative complications.

Loose sagging jawline or neck should be tighter and smoother, unless this sagging was only noticeable to you and your surgeon.  Some sagging which is obvious to the patient is not obvious to their friends and family, because when you see people eye to eye, they can see under your chin, unless they are shorter than you and looking up under your chin.  

Most people are more self-absorbed with their own issues than to notice things on other people, unless they are nosy and curious.  Another possibility is that they did notice, but did not want to say anything, which might make you feel self conscious.

I would say that if no has noticed so far, at least you don't have any tell-tale signs of having had a face and necklift.  

I posted a web reference of a more dramatic example, but if your jawline and neck sagging was minimal, this may explain the lack of people noticing. 

I will you a continued speedy recovery.


Dr. Yang

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George Yang, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Results of face and neck lift

You should start to see results immediately.  As the swelling goes down you should notice even more improvement in the neck as the angle of the jawline will become more pronounced.  It is not uncommon that no one notices or says anything about your surgery.  That could be because it is a great, natural result.  It is also that many people are just not very observant.  The important thing is that you notice a difference.  The surgery was done for you!

John J. Martin, Jr., MD
Coral Gables Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews


Results from a face and neck lift should be visible immediately, and more refinement will occur in the first few weeks to 2 months out from surgery.  There are some factors such as voice box position and skin thickness that can affect how "dramatic" the result is.  It is most important that you are satisfied.  Sometimes it is better to have a subtle result that other people don't immediately notice, but that allows you to feel refreshed, younger, and more confident.  Make sure to continue to follow with your surgeon who can counsel you about results.
Best wishes

Daniel J. Givens, MD
Dubuque Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Facelift results

Typically, it can take several months for all of the swelling to resolve before making any final facelift assessments.

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

Impatient to see results of face and neck lift

  • It is discouraging to not get comments after a face and neck lift but one can't explain what you are experiencing without seeing the before and after results.
  • You may have needed only subtle changes, you may have friends who are unobservant among other explanations.
  • Usually at 3 weeks, bruising is largely gone but there is still swelling.
  • You may want to review your photos with your surgeon to see the changes.
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Facelift results are immediate

You should immediately see the improvement in the neck laxity and jowls after a facelift. You may have some swelling, but the lift is apparent right away. The results will not improve over time. If you are concerned that you didn't get an improvement, I'd recommend discussing this with your surgeon.

Others may not "notice" that the jowls and neck are better since they don't remember exactly how you looked before surgery. Essentially, we only notice things that are not expected, like jowls and neck laxity. When we leave behind a normal neck and no jowls, they don't notice anything because there is nothing there to notice. Others may realize that you look refreshed, but they shouldn't "notice" that you had a facelift.

Andrew Campbell, M.D.
Facial Plastic Specialist
Quintessa Aesthetic Centers

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