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MaxFac Clinic > Post Surgery > Swelling/Bruising


Swelling is the body’s normal reaction to any form of surgery and eventual healing. The swelling is normally proportional to the surgery provided and can take several days to become fully apparent. Usually, post-operative swelling reaches its maximum two or three days after surgery.

Post-operative swelling can be reduced by using ice packs. Applying an ice pack to the surgery site for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off continuously as much as possible for the first 36 hours will help reduce swelling. After this time, using ice will no longer improve swelling, and at this stage, it is better to switch to moist heat.

Using moist heat packs on the side of the face can help relieve swelling and jaw stiffness. However, it is important to make sure these packs are not too warm to burn the skin. The packs can then be used for 15 or 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off as frequently as possible. It’s perfectly normal for swelling to persist for several days, in addition to jaw stiffness. Patients who can move their jaw should do so gently, as this can help reduce any jaw stiffness and minimise swelling.

We may prescribe medication to help improve swelling, but otherwise, we can advise on over-the-counter medications that will be safe to use. It is important to contact us if the swelling worsens after the first three days or if any other concerns arise. Our clinic can provide further advice and instructions on coping with swelling.


Bruising is another normal reaction to surgery and is not a cause for alarm. The amount of bruising is generally proportional to the surgery provided. Bruising or skin discolouration generally occurs two or three days after surgery, as swelling reaches its peak and begins to subside. However, some forms of surgery can cause more extensive bruising, such as surgery on the lower jaw. In this case, the bruising may extend down into the neck and chest area. Other forms of oral maxillofacial surgery can cause facial bruising that appears as a black, green, blue or yellow discolouration. The application of moist heat can help bruising and discolouration heal more quickly.  Usually, bruising will disappear within 1 to 2 weeks.

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