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Common Facelift Side Effects

By Brian Kobienia, MD, FACS on February 04, 2014


Edina Facelift Side EffectsAs you age, you may be considering a facelift procedure to refresh your look - and because facelifts have become increasingly common, it can be easy to dismiss any risks. But Dr. Brian Kobienia of Kobienia Plastic Surgery knows that there is a true benefit to explaining potential facelift side effects to patients at his Edina office. By understanding the potential side effects of a facelift procedure, you can be better prepared for your own surgery and stay alert for more serious complications.

What Are the Normal Side Effects of a Facelift?

Patients can expect to experience several side effects immediately following a facelift procedure. Most of these side effects, however, are minor and subside within days or weeks following surgery. These side effects include:

  • Pain - Some amount of pain following any sort of plastic surgery is normal, and your plastic surgeon will likely prescribe you a painkiller to help you manage discomfort during the first week or so after the procedure.
  • Swelling - The skin around your surgery site will probably become swollen as it heals, but this is normal. It can take weeks before you have a better idea of your true post-surgery look.
  • Bruising and Redness - Bruising and redness are extremely common following a facelift, and can affect areas like the eyes as well as the incision site. This should subside within a few days.

While pain, redness, and swelling are all normal parts of the healing process, stay aware. If the pain increases dramatically, or the surgery site becomes especially tender or swollen or hot to the touch, this may be a sign of an infection.

Are There More Serious Facelift Side Effects?

With that said, some potential facelift side effects can be more severe and long lasting. Examples of these more serious side effects include:

  • Scarring - A patient can expect some scarring from practically any surgery where an incision is made. Because the modern facelift procedure involves making incisions above and around the hairline, most patients are able to hide their scarring. If a patient has short hair or experiences baldness, however, these scars may appear more prominent.
  • Hair Loss - Due to the nature of the scarring process, some patients experience hair loss around the surgery site after a facelift. While this is normally very slight, in some cases it can be a more dramatic and permanent loss.
  • Numbness - Depending on the type of facelift procedure performed, some patients experience some form of numbness around the surgery site during recovery. In most instances, this numbness is quite temporary. In a few rare cases, however, this numbness can be related to more serious nerve damage and can persist for much longer than normal.
  • Facial Nerve Damage - In very rare cases, injury or severing of the facial nerves can occur during a facelift. In the event of facial nerve damage, a patient may experience pain or numbness that can be permanent. In addition to this pain or numbness, such an injury may impair a patient’s ability to move the muscles in his or her face, leading to difficulty chewing, talking, or performing other daily tasks.

These side effects are comparatively rare, but care from an unqualified and inexperienced plastic surgeon can put you at a much greater risk for complications.

Contact Your Plastic Surgeon Today

All surgery comes with the risk for side effects, and that includes plastic surgery. But with a skilled plastic surgeon, your risks for side effects are greatly minimized. With years of experience, board-certified plastic surgeon Brian Kobienia and his capable staff at Kobienia Plastic Surgery aim to put patients at ease and deliver the best results. Contact our plastic surgery offices today to discuss your options, learn more about the facelift procedure, and take the first steps toward a more rejuvenated you.

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