I have had some surgery (face lift and hair transplants) and my face gets swollen from time to time. When it was swollen last, I went to my plastic surgeon who said that he did not see any swelling, but I know it is swollen because my hat is too tight when the swelling is there. Can you help me?
I suspect that you may be seeing a very subtle type of swelling. This is a condition more often seen in the legs or arms, called lymphedema. If it is very subtle and does not produce symptoms, leave it alone. If it is in the legs, then compression stockings may help. For leg swelling, you must worry about heart disease and dependent edema from right sided heart failure. This is not the case with lymphedema of the face or scalp.
Massage works and it feels good. Compression at night with a compression bandage will reduce the scalp component of it. Lymphedema can be a result of surgical or cancer therapy, and irradiation. It can also reflect tumors and metastases of tumors. I have seen patients present with lymphedema of the face and scalp as the first sign of tumors that invade the lymphatics of the neck, where head and neck tumors tend to migrate or even in Hodgkin’s disease (which are a type of lymphoma/cancer). If there are no cancers in consideration (you are not a smoker and have never been one, do not chew tobacco and never done that, have any other symptoms around the face, nose or neck, and no swelling in the nect and it is not bothering you) you might just wait it out. I am slightly concerned because you said you had a face lift and that would imply that you may be over 50, when these types of cancers are more common. Certainly, get yourself cleared by a good doctor because cancers of the head, neck and problems in the lymphatics of the abdomen sometimes present the way you are telling this to me.