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Facial swelling

  • Definition

    Facial swelling is the build-up of fluid in the tissues of the face. Swelling may also affect the neck and upper arms.

    Alternative Names

    Puffy face; Swelling of the face; Moon face; Facial edema


    If the facial swelling is mild, it may be hard to detect. To assist the health care provider in diagnosing the cause, it is important to note the following:

    • Pain, and where it hurts
    • How long the swelling has lasted
    • What makes it better or worse
    • If you have other symptoms

    Common Causes
    • Allergic reaction (such as allergic rhinitis, hay fever, or a bee sting)
    • Angioedema
    • Blood transfusion reaction
    • Cellulitis
    • Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye)
    • Drug reactions, including those due to aspirin, penicillin, sulfa, glucocorticoids, and others
    • Head, nose, or jaw surgery
    • Injury or trauma to the face (such as a burn)
    • Malnutrition (when severe)
    • Obesity
    • Salivary gland disorders
    • Sinusitis
    • Stye with swelling around the infected eye
    • Tooth abscess