Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Blog

Possible Problems and Complications From a Facelift

Posted on April 16, 2019 by

No surgical procedure is without risk. Most complications associated with facelift surgery, however, are minor. Here are some possible problems:

  • Collection of blood under the skin (hematoma). This can be removed.
  • Small areas of numbness around the ears. This may be temporary or may persist.
  • Soreness and itching around the incisions. When these sensations occur, they will usually disappear.
  • With aesthetic surgery, as with other surgical procedures, depression sometimes occurs postoperatively. This is generally attributed to the normal response of the body to surgery and anesthesia; be patient as it will soon go away.
  • Widening or thickening of a scar (keloid formation). If this happens, it may be revised at a later date in a simple office procedure. Sometimes cortisone injections help reduce these scars. Incisions can never be guaranteed to “heal” in a certain way.
  • Hair loss around the incisions. If this occurs, the hair generally grows back in a few months, or it can be revised.
  • Asymmetry. No patient is identical from side to side. Small differences exist in all patients. In the occasional patient with a major difference, this can usually be improved with a secondary procedure.

Rare but more severe complications:


Poor healing or loss of skin (necrosis) can occur, especially in smokers, caffeine addicts, and diabetics.

Injury to a branch of the facial nerve which may cause temporary or permanent paralysis.

Deep venous thrombosis (blood clots) affects mainly the veins in the lower leg and the thigh. This clot may interfere with circulation of the area, and it may break off and travel through the blood stream. This clot can then lodge in the brain, lungs, heart, or other area, causing severe damage to that organ or even death. This is the reasons we have you stop hormones, wear TED hose, and walk every 3 hours the night of surgery.

Complications of a severe nature which could be life threatening.

Infection Alert

There is evidence of an increased incidence of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and other antibiotic resistant bacteria in our community. In the past, these resistant bacteria were typically found only in hospitals, but they are now found everywhere. Frequently people can be a carrier of the bacteria without their knowledge. An infection with this bacteria can cause severe damage to the skin and even death. We are diligent in cleaning and sterilizing our facility and try to limit the exposure of outside bacteria from patients into our surgery center. We therefore have implemented the following hygiene steps to help prevent the contamination of our facility and therefore decrease your post-operative infection risk.

Bathe your entire body with CLn body wash the 2 nights prior to surgery and again the morning of surgery. CLn body wash is an anti-bacterial, antiseptic liquid soap. Sleep on clean sheets the night before surgery and wear clean clothes to your surgery.



What You Will See in the Mirror

It will be difficult to evaluate your Dallas facelift during the first several days after surgery. Discoloration and swelling will be most noticeable on the second or third day, but will gradually diminish. As the swelling goes down, a number of fine wrinkles which were not evident with postoperative swelling, may reappear. This is because your surgery was so planned to give you a rested, more youthful, natural appearance, and not to tighten the skin so much that your face seems mask-like. Surgical scars will be permanent, but will fade in time. Every effort is made to conceal and make them inconspicuous. For most of our patients, the results of facelift surgery are so favorable that the scars become a minimal consideration.

The instructions above are general and some portions may not apply to all patients. Changes in the instructions depend on your medical history, number and type of procedures and type of anesthesia.

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