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Common Facelift Side Effects

By Dr. Suzanne Yee on February 19, 2014


Little Rock Facelift Side EffectsThe prospect of a face lift, with its ability to erase jowls, crow’s feet, and wrinkles in your neck, is a heady vision. But the opportunity to turn back the clock should not cause you to turn a blind eye to the fact that facelifts are surgical procedures with side effects.

Fortunately, most of the side effects are temporary. However, understanding the normal process of recovery will help you better prepare for your facelift. Dr. Suzanne Yee is a board certified plastic surgeon in Little Rock who can explain facelift side effects and how they relate to you and your surgery. Dr. Yee believes a good rapport with her patients is essential to the success of any cosmetic procedure.

During Recovery

Common side effects after a facelift include:

  • Swelling. This is the most common side effect of a facelift and a normal response to surgery. How much your face swells is sometimes shocking to patients, but swelling will start to decrease within days of surgery and should disappear in a couple weeks. Staying in an upright position and not bending over can help reduce swelling.  
  • Bruising. This is most noticeable right after surgery, but should not last longer than two or three weeks. Bruising is usually most noticeable where the skin is thinner, such as around the eyes.
  • Discomfort. There will be some discomfort as you recover from surgery and your incisions heal. However, most patients report minimal problems. You will be prescribed medication for discomfort.
  • Scarring. Surgical incisions leave scars, but with a facelift, most are discreetly placed in the hairline or around the ears. They will be more noticeable at first, but most eventually fade to pink, then white. 
  • Numbness. This is a common occurrence around the incision sites and usually fades in a few days.

Potential Risks

Any surgery carries risk and facelifts are no different. In general, the more invasive your facelift is, the greater your risks. In addition, your own health and lifestyle choices, such as smoking, can influence outcomes.

Risks include those associated with surgery in general, such as a reaction to anesthesia, infection, or blood clots. There are also risks specific to facelifts, such as:

  • Nerve Injury. In general the risk is low, but nerves in your face can be injured during surgery. It may result in soreness, numbness, or limits on movement. For most patients, the injury is temporary.
  • Hematoma. This occurs when blood pools under the skin and, if left untreated, can cause additional complications. If you suspect you have a hematoma, you should contact your doctor at the earliest opportunity.
  • Hair or Skin Loss. These are rare complications. Hair loss is usually in the area of incisions and is usually temporary. The chances of skin death increases if you smoke.

Next Step

You should talk with your doctor for complete information about facelift side effects and risks. If you are considering a facelift, we recommend a personal consultation so you have a thorough understanding of the treatment and recovery. Please call today for an appointment.

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