How long does it take for a (disappointing) facelift to heal before the surgeon can try to tighten it? (Photo)

I'm 67 years old. I had a facelift, a neck lift, a chin implant, and fat injections in early February. It's been three months. Only the neck looks better. The chin is too small. None of the fat injections worked. The facelift results are uneven and disappointing. I still have the same saggy jowls and wrinkles. I don't smoke or drink. The doctor said he would try to tighten the facelift after the tissue heals.

Doctor Answers 26

How long to wait for a revision facelift?

I'm sorry you seem to have had a poor experience. I'd wait at least 6 months post-op (preferably a full year) prior to having any further procedures performed. This is because it takes that long for things to mature and fully settle out. You may notice some subtle improvement over that time as well. I know it's hard, but try to be patient. Good luck!


New Orleans Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

May Be Able to Explore Fat Grafting/Resurfacing at 6 Months

In general, revisions should not be attempted sooner than 8 to 12 months after a facelift. Large chin implants have a much higher rate of complications, and that is something you need to discuss with your surgeon. For major chin advancements, a bony genioplasty is the best option, which most people are not interested in. Many of your un-corrected issues appear to be coming from the heavy wrinkling around your mouth, which is not addressed by a facelift. Additional fat grafting and a resurfacing procedure (fractionated laser is the best option, in my opinion) could be done as early as 6 months after your procedure, and it might even need to be done twice for an optimal result. Only about 40% of fat persists by volume, on average, so it is not surprising that you feel it did not last. I do think that you need both increased volume and resurfacing around the mouth. It sounds like your surgeon is committed to making things better, and so I would work with him/her.

Wait At Least 6 Months for Revisions

It's always difficult to read questions from patients who are dissatisfied with their results. I can only imagine how disappointed and frustrated you must feel. Your photos suggest that your condition can be remedied with revisionary surgery. In order to give the body time to fully heal, please wait a minimum of 6 months before undergoing a second procedure. Good luck to you.

Wait 6 Months, Minimum

I'm quite sorry to hear of your disappointing facelift results. I can imagine it must be very frustrating to not see the results you want. I recommend waiting a minimum of 6 months before pursuing any type of revisionary surgery. This gives your face ample time to fully heal and allows any potential results to develop. If you're still unhappy with your results after 6 months, seek a second opinion from a board-certified plastic surgeon who has extensive experience in facial rejuvenation. Best of luck to you.

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Post Facelift Procedure and Healing

#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
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

How long does it take for a (disappointing) facelift to heal before the surgeon can try to tighten it?

Thank you for your question.  I am sorry to hear of your experience.  I would sincerely recommend that she wait a year before revision surgery for your facelift.  It takes that long for the tissues to fully heal.  Attempting revision earlier would not be wise.

Unhappy with results

Hi Tonya4

Thanks for posting. It is such a shame when clients feel unhappy with their results as this should be a positive experience. Discussions in the consult should cover off all the expected results and what is achievable or not. 

There does not seem to be much improvement in your photo's, though not sure if they are just post op. Recommend going back to your surgeon who should be able to do revision surgery if you are not happy. We tend to do this within the 3 months mark, as most of the healing is done. Since we do our facelifts under local, there is minimal bruising and downtime.

All the best and hopefully you reach your desired outcome.

How long to wait before having a revision?

Thank you for your photos and question.  I am sorry that you are dissatisfied with your results.  Most surgeons would wait at least six months prior to any re-operations to see what the final stages of healing can improve.  Often times, there is residual swelling and with time as this resolves, it may tighten up a little more.  This may be enough to avoid another surgery.  I hope this helps and best wishes to you!

Natalie Attenello, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

How long does it take for a (disappointing) facelift to heal before the surgeon can try to tighten it?

Hello Tonya4,

As you can see in many of the other responses, you need to give things time to heal. If considering a revision or tuck up, you should wait at least 6 months and preferably a year.  The reason is that the area continues to heal over this time period.  It's also important to realize that a facelift only removes the slack in the skin and it creates little improvement for the chin area and above and below the lip.  These wrinkles are better treated with resurfacing such as with lasers, chemical peels, or dermabrasion. 

Continue to follow up with your surgeon during the healing phase.  If after this you wanted a second opinion, consider consulting with a facial plastic surgeon.

I hope this helps and good luck. 

William Marshall Guy, MD
The Woodlands Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Facelift revision

Committing to having a facelift is a big decision.  Having to have the procedure revised can be disappointing but even in the hands of the most experienced surgeons, this may be necessary.  I completely see the areas of your face that you expected to have corrected during your initial facelift.  I would agree with all of your concerns. Simply increasing the size of the chin implant will not address the jowling and melo labial folds that you have pointed out.  All of these issues can be corrected but I would wait a minimum of six months as your procedure is not simply a tuck up procedure but a full revision.  

Philip S. Schoenfeld, MD, FACS
Chevy Chase Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 25 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.