If you’re considering a facelift you may be well on your way to a more youthful, vibrant appearance! So what can you expect from your recovery? Will there be swelling or pain? How long will it take? Post-op care is incredibly important in order to get the full benefits of your procedure. In this post we’ll be discussing the proper care after your facelift in order to heal properly and keep your face young and natural looking.
Immediately following surgery
After surgery you should have a family member or friend drive you home and ideally stay with you for at least 24 hours. Rest is absolutely necessary during this time. You should rest with your head elevated, on several pillows if possible. Obviously when you’re sleeping, you don’t know what you’re doing, but try not to sleep on the side of your face for at least 2 weeks.
Also, after the procedure, your face will be wrapped in bandages and they should be left undisturbed. Your doctor will remove or change them at your first follow-up appointment, usually 24 hours post-op. Day one is typically the day with the most pain. It’s important to take any prescribed pain medication to stay comfortable.
Week following surgery
Patients that undergo facelift surgery will experience some swelling and bruising, let’s get that out of the way. This may happen immediately and likely peak during the first week, but could also continue for a few more. Bruising will begin as purple and will fade to yellow before disappearing. The extent of any swelling will vary by individual and the type of surgery performed. During the first week after your facelift your face and neck may feel very tight, to the point where it could be difficult to open your mouth. It’s important to avoid any extreme movements of the face, neck and mouth. Numbness is also very common after most facelift procedures and usually resolves itself in the coming weeks. You may feel some discomfort for up to a week after surgery, but after a week or so you may no longer need pain medication and you should start to see some of the swelling go down. If you are feeling comfortable you may be able to start doing some movements such as light housework by this time, however it’s important not to overdo it.
Up to a month following surgery
By the end of your second week after surgery many patients are starting to feel like themselves again. At this point you may be able to return to work as long as you don’t have a labor-intensive job. Any strenuous activity or lifting of objects heavier than 10 pounds should still be avoided at this time. You may still have some bruising and swelling but it should be minimal and you’ll likely feel up to going out in public again. You will have any sutures removed in the first few weeks after surgery.
One month following surgery
By the one month mark you should be back to doing normal activities and exercise! It’s still important to pay attention to your body though. Isolated swelling is still a possibility, but usually only something that is only noticeable to you. You may also still feel some tingling or tightness of the skin, but still, by one month you are well on your way to recovery.
Remember that these are very general time frames and everyone recovers differently. It’s important to communicate with, and follow the instructions from, your doctor in order to have the easiest recovery with the best outcome possible. If at any time you’re concerned with your recovery make sure to ask your doctor!