Bruising and Swelling After Facelift - Philadelphia, PA (2023)

Bruising and Swelling After Facelift - Philadelphia, PA (1)Bruising and swelling are common side effects after surgery, and your body’s natural response to injury. After undergoing a facelift, both bruising and swelling can drastically alter the appearance of your face. Thankfully, you’ll look much better once both of these side effects have passed.

Many of Dr. Christopher Hove’s facelift patients in the Philadelphia, PA area have questions about post-op side effects. Let’s go over bruising and swelling after a facelift and what you can do to minimize and manage these side effects.

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Why Bruising and Swelling Happens After Surgery

Bruising is caused by damaged blood vessels and capillaries. You’ll notice a lot of bruising around incision sites and other parts of the body that are adjusted during a surgical procedure.

Swelling is caused by fluid accumulation around the operated area, which is part of the body’s naturally inflammatory response. The fluid is an influx of cells to help facilitate the healing process.

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For facelifts, these side effects are usually most pronounced around the sides of the mid-face.

How Long Does Bruising Last After a Facelift?

The most noticeable bruising after a facelift will typically last for about two weeks. By the end of two weeks, the bruising will start to fade and change color. The bruising will continue to fade in the weeks to follow. By the end of a month, bruising should no longer be an issue for most facelift patients, though results can vary.

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How Long Does Swelling Last After a Facelift?

Swelling after a facelift can be a different story. In most cases, major swelling should be under control after about two weeks, with minor swelling afterward that persists for about another two weeks. Very minor residual swelling may persist for a few more weeks, though it should not be that noticeable.

Taking Time Off from Work to Recover

Given how long these side effects can last, we typically advise our Philadelphia facelift patients to take about two weeks off from work. This allows the major swelling and bruising to fade so it no longer has a major impact on your appearance. This is particularly important for people who have jobs that require a lot of public interaction.

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More time may be recommended off from work if you have a physically demanding job, though this can be discussed in more detail during the consultation process.

Tips for Managing Your Bruising and Swelling

To manage bruising and swelling, we recommend the following tips:

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  • Get ample rest while recovering from your facelift
  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure as you’re recovering
  • Eat a healthy diet as you’re healing
  • Walk around a few minutes a couple times a day to promote circulation
  • Use cold compresses as directed to manage excessive swelling and discomfort

Attend Follow-Up Visits as Scheduled

In addition to the above, it’s crucial that you attend all follow-up visits with your plastic surgeon as scheduled. These will help monitor your healing progress and ensure you’re in good health after surgery. We can offer additional advice and recommendations for your side effects based on these follow-up visits.

What If My Bruising and Swelling Does Not Improve?

If your brushing and swelling does not improve or gets worse, be sure to contact our practice right away. It might be the sign of a complication or medical issue that requires immediate medical attention.

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Contact a Skilled Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

If you live in the Philadelphia area and would like more information about facelift surgery and what to expect, be sure to contact a skilled cosmetic plastic surgeon. You can schedule a consultation at our practice by calling (610) 647-3727.

Related to This


How long does bruising and swelling last after a facelift? ›

Your face likely will be bruised and swollen. The swelling may get worse before it gets better, but it will probably go away in 1 to 2 weeks. After a few days you may get some bruises on your neck and chest. This is caused by gravity, which pulls the excess blood and bruising downward.

How do you reduce swelling and bruising after a facelift? ›

Five Tips to Reduce Swelling After Facelift Surgery
  1. Follow our post-operative instructions. Post-operative instructions are designed to make sure patients heal properly from surgery. ...
  2. Keep your head elevated. ...
  3. Use cool compresses. ...
  4. Avoid heat sources. ...
  5. Stay hydrated and eat right.

How long will my face be swollen after a facelift? ›

With proper aftercare, the majority of facelift swelling should resolve after about 2 – 3 weeks, with the remainder of the swelling continuing to subside over the next several weeks and months.

How do you get rid of bruising after a facelift? ›

One of the best and fastest ways that you can get rid of swelling and bruising is to ice your face about once every hour or two for the first few days after your procedure. When icing, take a handful of crushed ice and wrap it in a towel or use a bag of frozen corn.

Can you ice too much after facelift? ›

It is normal to have swelling after facelift for 3-6 weeks. I'm not a big fan of ice over the skin because ice can decrease blood flow to the skin--which is not good. Ice can help somewhat with swelling and pain, but you need to be very careful with using too much ice.

What is the fastest way to recover from a facelift? ›

“It's important to stay still your first two weeks because these actions put extra strain on your new incisions and may affect how your skin scars. Staying elevated at about a 30-degree angle is also essential during this time, so any fluid buildup from swelling can effectively drain and encourage faster healing.”

How long does it take for facelift bruising to go away? ›

How Long Does Bruising Last After a Facelift? The most noticeable bruising after a facelift will typically last for about two weeks. By the end of two weeks, the bruising will start to fade and change color. The bruising will continue to fade in the weeks to follow.

What happens if you don't wear compression garment after facelift? ›

Without compression, post-op swelling lasts considerably longer, meaning you won't be able to see final results as quickly. Improve overall results.

Does walking reduce swelling after surgery? ›

Walking is important. It helps to prevent blood clots, it will help reduce swelling, and it is good for the lungs after surgery.

How long do I need to sleep upright after facelift? ›

You should rest with your head elevated in a recliner or with at least 2 pillows for at least the first week after surgery. Try not to sleep on the side of your face but rather sleep with the back of your head on the pillow for about two weeks.

How long is neck tight after facelift? ›

Once the swelling wanes, that tightness feeling should dissipate in time. Your skin will also start to slightly stretch as it adapts to the new shape. You can expect the face to feel tight for a few months following the facelift surgery. The tightness can last for about 2 – 3 months.

Does ibuprofen reduce swelling after facelift? ›

After you get a facelift, you want to enjoy the results right away, but the swelling can often get in the way. Luckily, by icing it, taking ibuprofen, and applying cucumbers, you can get rid of the post-op swelling faster.

Why does pineapple help with bruising? ›

Believe it or not, pineapple can help reduce the duration and severity of bruising. It contains an enzyme called Bromelain, which is found in the juice and stem of the fruit. The anti-inflammatory properties of Bromelain help reduce bruising and swelling.

How long does it take to look normal after a facelift? ›

Facelift recovery time

You should look and feel normal after 2 – 4 weeks. Keep in mind that facelift surgery cannot stop natural aging, so we encourage patients to continue to take care of their skin and make healthy lifestyle choices.

How long does it take for a facelift to fully heal? ›

In general, you can expect to make a full recovery from your procedure in about two to three weeks. A traditional face and neck lift addresses a larger area and a greater degree of skin laxity than other procedures, so recovery will take longer than more minimally invasive procedures.

Is walking good after a facelift? ›

Walking is hands down the best form of exercise to do post any kind of surgery including a facelift. Walking in the initial phases of recovery will promote blood circulation, prevent blood clots and promote healing.

How long do ears hurt after facelift? ›

Answer: Numbness of ear after facelift

This can cause feelings of numbness of the ear and can sometimes be associated with some sensations of pain due to neuropathy. These symptoms will typically resolve in 6 - 12 months, but may last up to 2 years, and can rarely be permanent.

How long do I wear chin strap after facelift? ›

You must wear the chin strap continuously for the first two weeks after surgery except while eating and showering/cleaning incisions. The strap helps fight the forces of gravity immediately after surgery and helps improve any swelling.

How much rest is needed after a facelift? ›

Recovery time after a facelift depends on a patient's age, health status, and specific procedure desired. Patients are usually able to return to their normal activities and work within 1-2 weeks but should wait approximately 2-4 weeks before engaging in any strenuous exercise.

What can you not do after a facelift? ›

AVOID HITTING OR BUMPING YOUR FACE, HEAD AND NECK. It is wise not to pick up small children and you should sleep alone for one week after your operation. 4. SLEEP WITH THE HEAD OF THE BED ELEVATED for 1-2 weeks after your operation.

When can I lay down after facelift? ›

While the recovery timeline can vary from patient to patient, most people are generally able to resume front or side-sleeping after 2 – 4 weeks.

What is best for bruising and swelling after surgery? ›

Ice therapy—applying ice and some pressure to your skin immediately after a surgery or injury is a tried and true method for reducing bruising and swelling. The cold from the ice restricts the blood vessels in the area and reduces the amount of blood the swells to the surface of the skin.

How much swelling is normal after facelift? ›

Swelling after a facelift will be different for everyone, but typically: Most of your swelling, up to 60 percent, will disappear in the first couple of weeks after surgery, but then the wait begins for the remainder to subside. After three months, 80 percent of the swelling will be gone.

What happens after a 3 week facelift? ›

At weeks 3 and 4, you still may have some residual swelling and tightness, but for the most part, will start looking and feeling much better. Here is where patients often begin to see real improvements in their facial contour.

When can I wash hair after facelift? ›

In general, you may shower and wash your hair 48 hours after facelift surgery. Use a mild shampoo and be particularly careful around the surgical area. You can also blow dry your hair on a cool setting. Be gentle when brushing or combing your hair so that you do not catch your comb in the suture lines.

Why do some facelifts fail? ›

Facelifts usually fail because of a surgeon's lack of expertise. 90% of facial plastic surgeons perform superficial facelifts, which tighten the skin and do not treat supportive musculature. Surgeons may also pull facial tissue too tight, which makes patients look startled and unnatural.

Can you sleep with compression skins on? ›

But it's not necessarily harmful to wear compression garments while you're sleeping, especially for short periods. It's no problem to leave them on for a nap, for example, if you don't want to wiggle out of them before you doze and pull them on again after.

Does drinking water help reduce swelling after surgery? ›

First and foremost, drink plenty of water! Water serves a lot of functions in the body and will be particularly good to reduce swelling after surgery.

How can I speed up post op swelling? ›

Ice, elevation and avoiding strenuous movement are the first modes of treatment for excessive swelling after surgery. The ice causes blood vessels to contract, but limit ice packs to 15-minute intervals to avoid damaging the tissues with the cold temperature.

How can I speed up the swelling of recovery? ›

Applying cold immediately after an injury helps reduce swelling by restricting blood flow to the area and slowing down cellular metabolism. You can use ice packs, cold therapy systems, ice baths, or cryotherapy chambers to deliver cold to the affected area.

How often should you shower after facelift? ›

Post-Plastic Surgery Showing Tips

While recovery is unique for each individual, it is generally recommended that showering be avoided for 48 hours after plastic surgery. This allows your incisions time to begin the healing process and helps prevent premature scab removal.

Why is it hard to smile after a facelift? ›

The corner of the mouth/lower lip is pulled down by the depressor anguli oris muscle, which is innervated by the marginal mandibular nerve. This nerve is one of the branches most commonly weakened after a facelift. Usually movement will recover in 6 to 12 weeks, although complete recovery may take longer.

Can you wear your hair up after a facelift? ›

Traditionally, the incisions for a facelift are hidden in your hairline so that your hair grows up through the scar which makes them invisible. Depending on the technique, this may change your hairline. You might not ever be able to wear your hair in a ponytail.

Why do my ears hurt after facelift? ›

Patients do complain of a feeling of fullness in the ears or pain in the ears for the first few days after surgery. This is caused by swelling, and improves fairly quickly. Most of my patients take prescription pain medication for the first couple of days before transitioning to Motrin or Tylenol.

Should you massage your face after a facelift? ›

The primary benefit of massaging the face after a facelift is to expedite the healing process. Massage improves blood circulation, which carries nutrients to the skin and prevents the buildup of toxins. It also reduces scarring by lessening tissue buildup and softening the skin around the scar tissue.

Why do I still have jowls after facelift? ›

Why? When the facelift is performed, the skin is tightened and it can flatten out the jowls because the skin is tighter. However, over time as the skin relaxes, the full fatty jowls will restretch out the skin and the jowls will reappear. Weight loss prior to face lift surgery is very important for these people.

How tight should compression garment be after facelift? ›

Your compression garment should be snug and comfortable, but excessive pressure can be detrimental to your healing process. You should feel some gentle pressure, but never so much that it is painful or causes a loss of circulation.

Should you use heat after facelift? ›

Use a warm compress after 48 hours have passed.

Applying a warm compress or heating pad (on a low setting) to the swollen area of your head or face can help. The warmth will aid to stimulate blood flow to the area. Doing so can reduce swelling and speed up the healing process.

What will I look like one week after facelift? ›

1 Week Post-Op

During the first week after your facelift, you can expect swelling and bruising around your lower face, ears and neck. Swelling may be uneven, so don't be alarmed if your results don't look perfectly symmetrical at this stage.

How do I cover a purple bruise on my face? ›

A neutralizing concealer can cover up any bruise.

This will cover the bruise completely. First make sure your bruise is free of cuts, nicks, and stitches. Then choose a hypoallergenic concealer with a yellow base; the hue offsets blue discoloration. But if your bruise is red, you'll want to use a green concealer.

What drinks help bruises? ›

Bromelain can help to reduce the severity of the bruise and reduce inflammation . You can eat pineapple or take bromelain supplements. You can also apply it topically as a cream.

Do bananas help bruises go away? ›

Heal bruises on the skin

Banana peels contain tons of antioxidants and potassium, both of which help heal dark spots or hyperpigmentation, leaving your skin looking healthier and more even,” Phoebe says. Just apply a small piece of the banana peel to a bruise, cover with a bandaid and let it sit overnight.

How long until swelling goes down facelift? ›

Swelling and inflammation are normal during facelift recovery. Swelling may occur around the mouth, chin, or jawline, depending on the extent of your facelift procedure and where it was performed. Most patients can expect the majority of their swelling to dissipate after 3 – 4 weeks.

Do facelifts ever look natural? ›

When performed correctly by the hands of a skilled surgeon, facelift results can be some of the most natural looking of any cosmetic procedure and can leave you with a rejuvenated and more youthful facial appearance.

How long after facelift will I look normal? ›

Facelift recovery time

You should look and feel normal after 2 – 4 weeks. Keep in mind that facelift surgery cannot stop natural aging, so we encourage patients to continue to take care of their skin and make healthy lifestyle choices.

What helps with facelift swelling? ›

During this phase of the healing process, ice, anti-inflammatories and gentle massage can help the discomfort. If you have concerns about the facelift procedure and the healing process, discuss them with your surgeon, no matter where you are in the surgical process.

How long do you wear head wrap after facelift? ›

A: Your surgeon will place you in a “head wrap” that will be worn continuously for the first 1-3 days. He will then remove this and give you a removable compressive garment that should be worn as much as possible for the first 2-3 weeks.

When can I turn my neck after a facelift? ›

(b) Don't TURN THE HEAD without turning the neck and shoulders as one unit, when you must turn, do so as if you had a “crick” in the neck, for 4-6 weeks.

Does walking reduce swelling after facelift? ›

Short, easy walks is the only form of exercise that should be undertaken. Many patients start to feel less discomfort over the first few weeks as bruising and swelling subsides.

How can I reduce swelling after 2 weeks of facelift? ›

How do you reduce swelling after facelift?
  1. Use ice packs: Apply cold compresses to your face for about 20 minutes at a time to help reduce inflammation. ...
  2. Stay upright: It's important to keep your head elevated, even when you sleep, as this position helps improve blood flow.
1 Apr 2021


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