Cheekbone Reconstruction

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had cheek and orbital reconstruction on the left side of my face three weeks ago for an old cheekbone fracture. The left area of my face that you worked on is still about 40-50% swollen. I also am still numb in my left lip area and on occasion I feel tingling in my face.

My questions are is the numbness and tingling a normal part of the healing process and if so, how long can I expect that to continue? How long until the swelling goes down completely? Can I take anti inflammatory medicine and use ice packs on my face to help the swelling go down? Will the ice affect the fat injections? Lastly, will the asymmetry of the left side of my face eventually match the right side of my face because as of now, the left side of my face is making it appear that the right side of my face is the side that is flattened? 

A: You are recovering exactly as how I would have expected after cheekbone reconstruction (with cheek implant and fat injections). At three weeks after surgery only about 50% of the swelling will be gone. It will take a full three months to see the final result for all swelling to go away. Also I would expect some lip numbness to be present at this point but that will eventually go away with more time. Anti-inflammatory medication and ice packs will not make it go away any faster. This is a process of time for complete healing. I do not judge the result until three to four months after surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana