Bruising is very common with cosmetic surgery and is not considered a complication with plastic surgery. I advise my facelift surgery patients to expect some degree of bruising and swelling after surgery. Skin bruising may even occur with nonsurgical cosmetic treatments such as lip enhancement or BOTOX® wrinkle treatment.
What Is a Hematoma?
A hematoma is a collection of blood under the skin which should normally be drained. Small blood collections can be observed and will be absorbed by the body. A hematoma is the most common complication with facelift surgery, with an overall estimated incidence of less than 5%. Most hematomas occur within 24 hours after facelift surgery but may occur several days afterward too. To help prevent bruising or hematoma, plastic surgeons advise their patients to limit strenuous activity for the early recovery period.
What Are the Risks for Bruising or Hematoma After a Facelift?
The most significant risk factors for bleeding with face and neck lift surgery are varied. You may be more at risk if you:
- Combine your facelift with a platsymaplasty, or neck surgery
- Have hypertension or high blood pressure
- Are male (Men have more blood vessels in the face than women.)
- Take blood thinners, including herbal medication, ibuprofen, aspirin, and similar medications
While a surgeon’s facial plastic surgery experience plays a role, it is not as important a risk factor as those outlined above. The best facelift surgeons in the world still get hematomas despite meticulous surgery. Fortunately, most hematomas are easily managed by your facelift surgeon and generally don’t develop into long-term problems.
How To Reduce Your Risk for Bruising After a Facelift?
The following may help reduce the chance of developing bruising or a hematoma:
- Wear your gentle compressive dressing and elastic strap
- Take arnica montana tablets before and after your procedure
- Minimize pain and nausea after surgery
- Stop smoking before and after surgery
- Avoid blood thinners, including herbal medications or teas (If your doctor has prescribed blood thinners, speak with them before ceasing.)
Lastly, by strictly following your plastic surgeon’s post-facelift recovery instructions, you can help reduce the chance you will develop a hematoma after your cosmetic surgery. You can learn more about healing more quickly after surgery in our related blog post.
If you’re considering a facelift or other facial plastic surgery, we’re happy to talk with you about your options. Use our online form to request a consultation or call us at (202) 800-2085 to schedule an appointment directly.