What is Facelift Recovery Like?
Facelifts were the 3rd most popular cosmetic surgery in 2020. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ most recently released statistics 234,374 facelifts were performed in this country alone in 2020 – even though we were in the middle of the pandemic! The popularity of facelift surgery comes as no surprise, as almost everyone wants to longer … especially in selfies, on social media and during those up-close-and-personal Zoom meetings and video conferences.
But while we all want to look younger, one consideration surrounding facelift surgery is how long the recovery takes. After all we all have busy lives – and have to get back to work, parenting and other daily activities as soon as possible! And, like any type of surgery, a facelift does require so time to rest and heal. Knowing what to expect and how long it will take can help you plan and prepare – to make your facelift recovery easier, speedier and more comfortable.
Facelift Recovery: Immediately After Surgery
Your sedation will wear off gradually after your surgery is complete. Some patients may feel cold and/or somewhat nauseated upon waking up in the recovery room, after face lift surgery. This is normal and nothing to cause concern. The patient’s face may also feel tight and tender as they awaken after the facelift surgery, as the anesthesia wears off.
Most patients spend a few hours in observation as they wake up. Typically facelift patients will be able to go home the same day. But they will need someone there to drive you home. In cases of more extensive surgery a patient may stay overnight for observation at the hospital or surgical center.
In either case, patients usually have a bandage around the face to help minimize swelling and bruising – and may also have small drainage tubes. Before going home, Dr. Ali’s staff will give the patient specific instructions for facelift surgery recovery, including how to care for your incision site(s) and drains. You will also be given a prescription for medication to control pain, that you only need to take if necessary.
Facelift Recovery: Dressings, Drains and Pain
After some facelift procedures the plastic surgeons may apply a large, fluffy dressing to reduce swelling. If used, the dressing will typically be replaced with an elastic wrap within a day or two.
Again, depending on the extensiveness of the facelift procedure, a patient may also have one to three drainage tubes. These reduce swelling by removing any excess blood and fluids. These drainage tubes may be left in place for one to several days. Patients will be instructed on care and removal of any drainage tubes.
There may be mild to moderate discomfort in the hours and days following your facelift. Dr. Ali will prescribe painkillers that are very effective at relieving any discomfort. As long as you take your medication as directed, the pain is very manageable and will subside in the next week or two at most. Dr. Ali will also typically prescribed antibiotics to prevent the risk of an infection after your facelift.
Patients must sleep with their head elevated for about two weeks following a facelift to help prevent swelling. They may sleep on two pillows, use a wedge-shaped foam pillow, or even sleep upright in a recliner – whatever is most comfortable for them, as long as the head is elevated above the heart.
Facelift Recovery: Resuming Activities
As a general rule, most patients are up and about pretty much “as normal” doing mild activities within a few days after a facelift. Generally patients can wash their hair after two days.
However, because bruising and swelling are normal parts of the healing process, patients won’t be able to see what their face will look like for a few weeks. The swelling may gradually increase over the first three days, but then the swelling will start to dissipate. As a result of the bruising and swelling, be prepared to look worse before you look better! But be patient. Soon you will look younger and better than ever.
Patients will usually be advised to walk around three or four times a day after their facelift, in order to boost circulation as well as help prevent the development of blood clots in the legs.
Do not bend over, and do not lift heavy objects until your plastic surgeon tells you that you can!
Facelift Recovery: Things to Avoid
Patients are advised to avoid steam rooms, saunas, steam face masks, or anything that causes facial flushing. Patients must also avoid supplements containing niacin, niacinamide, or niacinamate.
Do not consume alcohol, aspirin, fish oil, or any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) until your plastic surgeon tells you that it is OK.
If your facelift was the kind that involved mouth incisions, your diet may also be restricted. Dr. Ali will advise you what you can eat, and when, if you have mouth incisions.
Facelift Recovery: Returning to Work
Most people can go back to work within two weeks of their facelift. This will depend on the extensiveness of the procedure as well as how strenuous their job is. Dr. Ali will advise you during your consultation when you should be able to go back to work.
Many people choose to cover the residual bruising with makeup when they are ready to venture out into the world again.
Within one to four months after your facelift it should be completely healed, and the final results will be fully visible. So if you are getting a facelift for an occasion such as a wedding or reunion, make sure to schedule it at least 4 months (or more) in advance.
Facelifts are a very common plastic surgery with very high satisfaction rates. But, it is important that patients are in good general physical and mental health in order to heal rapidly. Everybody heals differently and the patients age, overall health, and the extensiveness of the surgery will all effect healing and recovery time. Smoking can delay or prevent proper healing and increase the risk of complications – so facelift patients should try to quit or abstain from smoking both leading up to, and after, facelift surgery.
Top Facelift Plastic Surgeon – Birmingham, MI
If you are considering a facelift Dr. Ali will offer you a discreet, no pressure consultation in his Birmingham surgical office to explain your options, answer all of your questions, and help you select the facelift procedure that is right for you.
Dr. Ali is a board certified plastic surgeon, and one of the Birmingham Michigan area’s top facelift surgeons. He has helped hundreds of women and men in Birmingham, the greater Detroit area, and Southeast Michigan look younger and more attractive with facelift surgery! And, financing options are also available.